April 20, 2024

Dolphus in search of first stakes win in Cornhusker

The New York-based Dolphus is looking to earn his first stakes win in the American heartland (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens ran one-two in the May 19 Pimlico Special (G3) with Shaman Ghost and Dolphus, a duo that will be out to give Jerkens a one-one in Saturday’s major graded events for older horses.

While Shaman Ghost will be seek to give Jerkens a third consecutive win in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park, Dolphus will face eight rivals in the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3) over 1 1/8 miles.

A Lookin at Lucky half-brother to classic-winning filly and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, Dolphus has begun to blossom under Jerkens’ care. Although fourth in the $125,000 Stymie on March 12 in his debut for Jerkens, Dolphus impressively captured one-mile Aqueduct allowance next out and then stretched his stablemate to the limit in the Special over 1 3/16 miles, missing by a neck after leading nearly the whole way.

Dolphus’ early foot could be put to the test by Shotgun Kowboy, who missed by a neck in this race a year ago. Despite that positive history and an inside draw, the five-year-old has been outrun by multiple Grade 3 winner Texas Chrome and Iron Fist in his last couple of starts. The latter, who also has some early foot, has won the Maxxam Gold Cup and Evangeline Mile already this year with placings in the New Orleans H. (G2) and Steve Sexton Mile (G3). Others that could add a bit of fuel to the pace include dual allowance winner December Seven and longshot American Dubai.

Conquest Windycity, who has won or placed in all three starts since joining the Brendan Walsh barn, will look to close the gap against Dolphus, who he ran more than seven lengths behind in the Pimlico Special. Stakes veteran Hawaakom also has merit having run second to Gun Runner in the Razorback H. (G3) in February and fourth to that rival in the Stephen Foster H. (G1) last time.

The field is completed by Code West, a two-time winner over the Prairie strip but only fifth in last year’s relatively softer renewal of the Cornhusker.