Grade 3 Sham Stakes winner Alphie's Bet, briefly considered for the Belmont Stakes after winning the Snow Chief for California-bred 3-year-olds April 24 at Hollywood, will not need to ship that far for a race equally ambitious.
Trainer Alexis Barba nominated Alphie's Bet for the Grade 2 Jim Murray Handicap, a 1 1/2-mile turf race May 15 in which the 3-year-old would be facing older horses.
"That distance is right up his alley," Barba said. "I'd like to keep him in California. He's a 3-year-old against older, but does he know that?"
No 3-year-old has won the Murray.
Barba will consult with owners Peter Johnson and Teresa McWilliams before making the call. Alphie's Bet has won 3 of 7 races and $261,320.
Meanwhile, Barba-trained Make Music for Me stayed in Lexington, Ky., after a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Barba said he will ship to New York on June 17, and run next in the Belmont.