April Run and Galaxy Libra, the probable favorites in today's prestigious Washington, D.C. International, have demonstrated that they are about equal in ability. The choice here, however, is Open Call.
April Run whipped Galaxy Libra by three-quarters of a length at Aqueduct and has a two-pound weight shift in her favor. The daughter of Run the Gantlet also has the benefit, however slight, of breaking from the rail position.
Galaxy Libra has veteran Willie Shoemaker in the saddle and he says his mount was bothered in the Aqueduct race against April Run. He also has an improving stablemate named Providential II as reinforcement.
Open Call, a son of Stage Door Johnny, has won five of six career starts on the turf, being blocked in his lone defeat. Open Call will be ridden by Jorge Velasquez, and Velasquez could prove the difference. The jockey's riding in the International has been superior to that of April Run's jockey, Phillipe Paquet, who has been less than inspiring in the Laurel race.
Open Call should win today because he is versatile enough to run from far back or close to the pace. And he is beginning to win his races by daylight, a positive sign.
Of the lesser knowns, Carin Rouge and Beldale Flutter appear to have solid upset chances. Cairn Rouge will be ridden by Lester Piggott, who has an uncanny knack for winning big races. Beldale Flutter has shown fine form in England.
Completing the field, Rainbow Connection is a promising filly, with the gifted Sandy Hawley in the irons; Match The Hatch is usually around the money at the end; Johnny Dance has a few strong reaces to recommend him as well as Angel Cordero in the saddle, and Siapa Rajah III, the New Zealand entry ridden by Jeff Fell, looks like a willing performer.