By Dick Downey
The field for the final race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Woodford Reserve Cardinal Conditions Stakes set for Thursday at Chelmsford City, is final with nine entries.
Two of them are nominated to the Triple Crown: Shir Kkan (GB) and U S S Michigan.
U S S Michigan comes from the yard of Aiden O'Brien and will be ridden by Ryan Moore for the familiar trio of owners Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, along with J Allen LLC. Joseph Allen is a newcomer to the group; he bred U S S Michigan in Kentucky.
The son of War Front is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Photograph. He's a late foal, brought into the world on May 22, 2016.
U S S Michigan has only two career starts. Last June, he finished second in his debut on grass at Curragh and was off the remainder of the year. He returned to the races on March 1 at Dundalk and won a maiden race over 12 others going six furlongs in 1:11.77 on synthetic track. The winning margin was 2 1/2 lengths.
Shir Kkan, a son of Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) out of Sterling Sound, by Street Cry (IRE), is trained by Paul Cole. Oisin Murphy is named to ride, and the owners are listed as Arbib, Robinson and Cole.
Shir Khan also has only two races on his resume, and they came 10 days apart in November at Nottingham and Wolverhampton. He finished eighth in his debut at 1 1/16 mile on giving ground. Second time out, he won by five lengths in a field of nine at about 1 3/16 mile timed in 1:59.54. It was a front-running effort on Tapeta.
So far, the 2019 European Road to the Derby has produced little fanfare, with only three horses scoring points that were nominated to the Triple Crown.
Royal Marine (IRE) scored 10 points on Oct. 7 but flopped in a race in Dubai early this year. Numerian (IRE) got two points and Van Beethoven (ON) one in the Patton Stakes in March. However, Van Beethoven ran next in the UAE Derby and failed to make any impact; and Numerian, who has two wins from six races, has earned only £24,315.
The Cardinal Conditions Stakes carries Euro-Road points on a 30-12-6-3 scale to the top four finishers.
Thursday's race is the 3:35, so post time here in the U. S. is set for 10:35 a.m. ET.