Favorite Scratches Out of Thanksgiving H.

Category : News - Wed 27/11/2013 - 15:48 EST

With the scratch of morning line favorite, Delaunay, that status will now fall to Gantry in Thursday’s $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, to be run at six furlongs over the Fair Grounds dirt course. It was announced on Wednesday that Delaunay, winner of the Grade II Churchill Downs Handicap this past spring, was suffering from a fever and would miss the race on Thanksgiving Day afternoon.  Gantry, listed at 5-2 in the ML before the scratch was announced, will now be the one to beat in the five-horse field of three-year-old and upward runners.

New favorite was runner up last year

Gantry was second in this race last year, and proceeded to run second three more times after coming back to the track for 2013, including in the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland back in April. After nearly five months off, he came back to take the Temperence Hill Stakes at Louisiana Downs by 4 1/2 lengths. This will be his first start since mid-September. The loss of the favorite also opens the door for Mico Margarita (3-1). After throwing his rider in an allowance race at Churchill he won two straight, and was second last time in the Grade III Amsterdam at Saratoga in July.

Central Banker has a chance against older

Looking for the upset will be Central Banker (8-1) who, after racing five times last year, didn’t come back to the races until July, when he promptly won his season debut in the Smirnoff Sorbet Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga. He followed that up with a solid third in the Grade I Foxwood King’s Bishop Stakes at 22-1. But he could do no better than fourth in a $62,000 allowance run in his latest, a race that was run on the synthetic at Keeneland. Looking hopelessly overmatched in with this group at 30-1 is Strong and Tough, winner of only one of his last 13 starts, only one of which was a stakes event.

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