The $47,000 Sheikh Zayaed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Arabian Cup will draw a field of 10 horses Sunday for the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton.
Defending champion Sammy V who won the race by 13 lengths last year has been sold and is not in the field, but second place finisher Ayers is back.
The horse to beat may be Paddys Day, out of the Scott Powell barn. The last start came in the Grade 3 Cobra Sprint Handicap at Apaphoe Park in Colorado where, under the guidance of Kelsi Purcell, the jockey that has the call Sunday, he set the pace and rolled to the three-length win. Earlier this year in March, Paddys Day was second from off the pace in the Grade I Al Nahyan Cup at Sam Houston Cup.
Our Princess appears to be a major player as well. Her fourth place finish in the Al Nahyan Cup is her only defeat in her last seven starts. In her last start she cruised to a 3-length win in an Allowance race at Delaware Park. Kirsten Swan, who has been up for all of Our Princess' wins, makes the trip across the country for the race.
Ayers is always tough over the Pleasanton track, winning twice and running second twice in five career starts. Last year Ayers closed well, clearing the rest of the field by six lengths, but was still 13 lengths behind Sammy V. Jesus Velazquez takes the call on Ayers for the second straight race.
In the first race on the card, the H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race takes place. The opening race is set for 1:30 p.m.
More picks for Sunday, July 5:
1. Ms Dixie…Been winning some very good races RB Cantata…Can't argue with what he's been doing My Vaz Is Hot…Seen some tough races.
2. Paddys Day…Been really good in big races Our Princess…Won 6-of-last-7 starts Es Mi Cielo…Needed last start.
3. Annie's Pleasures…Tough if handles rail Monsajem Accrete…Not a bad run over track Monsajem Heigh…Ran second vs. less here.
4. Guyfromtheskyfive…Will sit right off the pace Mahorney…Been very solid this year Archie Graham…Figures to be tough in here.
5. Arigato…Barn on fire with placings Broke the Mold…Should really like this spot Nae'ole…Hung on for a piece twice.
6. Marqula…Have to believe he's right there Known Defense…Stunning debut performance Quorum of Joy…Huge connections warrant respect.
7. Onemoreatwilsons…A special comeback effort Call Collect…Real solid effort on return Absolute Honour…Barn always solid off the claim.
8. Saint Prado…Big win over track in comeback Seeking the Sherif…Tons of past class here Streamside…Has not been beat over the track.
9. Dr. Williams…The latest in the bar Foolhardy…Seems to always battle Outdoorsman Gene…Will be much better here.
10. Celestial Image…Just missed here week one Mira Este…Barn solid first off the claim High Alert…Good works for return.