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Much Obliged Strong Choice in Saturday's Furl Sail

Pin Oak Stable’s Much Obliged, odds-on winner of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap on opening day Nov. 6, looms as a strong 8-5 morning line choice once again when she heads a field of 11 grass-favoring fillies and mares – including an entry – in Saturday’s 37th renewal of the $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course

The daughter of Kingmambo will shoulder the top impost of 123 pounds Saturday, most of which will be made up by jockey Francisco Torres. She finished a close third, beaten only a head for the win, in Woodbine’s Grade II Canadian Stakes at previous asking Sept. 20.  

Trained by Malcolm Pierce, Much Obliged won the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas at Arlington Park in May of 2008 by a half-length and then ran second a month later in the Grade III Boiling Springs at Monmouth when racing over the grass course on the Jersey Shore.

Capable of providing strong competition for Much Obliged is Team Block’s Never Retreat, who was second by a half-length to that rival in the Blushing K. D. In her previous trip to the post, the daughter of Smart Strike had finished third in the Virginia Tarra Illinois Owners Stakes on Sept. 27. Jockey James Graham will ride Never Retreat, who is trained by Richie Scherer this winter and has been assigned 117 pounds on Saturday.

Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust’s Distinctive Dixie, fifth in Churchill’s Grade II Fleur de Lis two starts back but a winner of two of her last three at the Twin Spires oval, has been installed as the 5-1 third choice in the morning line but gets 119 pounds, including Fair Grounds defending jockey champion Robby Albarado.

Complete field
From the rail out the Furl Sail field, with weights and jockeys consists of Never Retreat, 117, James Graham; Sheltered, 119, Corey Lanerie; Much Obliged, 123, Francisco Torres; Sweetsouthern Doll, 113, Richard Eramia; Bubbler, 113, Eddie Martin Jr.; Love to Tell, 117, Pat Valenzuela; Category Seven, 118, Eramia with a second call; Dancin Perfect,  115, Shane Sellers; Final Refrain, 118, Jamie Theriot; My Magic Moment, 115, Shaun Bridgmohan; and Distinctive Dixie, 119 with Robby Albarado.