“He is quite an experienced horse for a two-year-old, having had six runs, and he is coming back off what for him has been a long break. ” William Buick has partnered the Godolphin-owned Buratino on his last three starts and expects the son of Exceed And Excel to continue to progress. He said: “Buratino has done nothing wrong and if the ground is quick he has got a great chance as he is one of the best juveniles around. “He was impressive at Epsom and he was impressive at Ascot. He has improved every time he has run. “He has had a break now so it will be interesting to see how he comes out of that. “He is an exciting horse and, touch-wood, he has improved again. “The track will be no problem for him.” He is one of a strong triumvirate for Aidan O’Brien, alongside Painted Cliffs and Washington DC. Jockey Joseph O’Brien said of the War Front colt: “He’s a lovely, big horse and he’s improving all the time – w hatever he does this year is going to be a bonus. Press Association “I think he’s the classiest horse (of the O’Brien three) and there’s no doubt in a year’s time he’s going to be the best horse. “My only worry is if the race is coming a bit early in his career, he’s a bit of progression to come yet. “He had a good run at Ascot and I’m hoping he can at least a lot closer to Mr Johnston’s horse (Buratino). Of the other Ballydoyle runners, Joseph O’Brien added: “It looks a really hot race. Painted Cliffs and Washington DC are both very well and are also entitled to take their chance.” Mark Johnston feels he could not have Buratino in better shape for the Group One contest. “It is the best two-year-old race of the season so far,” said Johnston. “Buratino won the Coventry, which is arguably the best two-year-old race before August. “He has been exceptionally well and this has been his target since Ascot. Air Force Blue, second Behind Buratino in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, bids for revenge over the British raider in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.
The Colts selected former Trojan receiver Michael Pittman Jr. in the second round of the NFL Draft Friday. (Sarah Ko / Daily Trojan) Pittman was the eighth wide receiver selected in this year’s draft. He doesn’t profile as one of the faster receivers in his draft class — he ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine — but he has been lauded by scouts and draft analysts for his hands, size and ability to make contested catches downfield. Scouts also view Pittman as a potential special teams contributor, a role which he occasionally played during his college career. Pittman is the 511th Trojan of all time to be drafted into the NFL, the most of any school in the nation. Pittman will be the newest target for potential Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers, who signed with the Colts this offseason after a lengthy career with the Los Angeles (formerly San Diego) Chargers. “I just couldn’t be more happy that I get to start with a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Pittman said of Rivers. The Colts finished with a 7-9 record last season, third place in the AFC South, following the surprising retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck just a couple weeks before the season’s start. Pittman will look to help add to an Indianapolis offense that finished with the eighth-fewest total yards per game and the third-fewest passing yards per game last season. However, the Colts finished with 22.6 points per game last year, 16th in the NFL. Michael Pittman Jr. became the latest Trojan to join the NFL fraternity when the Indianapolis Colts selected the wide receiver with the 34th overall pick in the NFL Draft Friday. In 2019, Pittman proved himself to be one of the best receivers in the nation, finishing fourth in receptions and 10th in receiving yards en route to a nomination as a Biletnikoff Award finalist. He started all 13 games for the Trojans and was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and AP All-American Second Team. “I am super excited to be a Colt,” Pittman said in a video posted to the Colts’ Twitter. “Let’s bring the juice.” “I was almost certain that I was gonna be a Colt today,” Pittman said. “You see the blue shirt? … Just based on the conversations that we had. I felt like we had a good connection and I just felt like it was the right fit … I think that they brought me in to impact right now.” Pittman also won the 2019 Pop Warner College Award, given to a senior who made an impact on the field, in the classroom and in the community. A team captain for USC, Pittman won USC’s MVP, Community Service Award and Lifters Award. “I feel like I try to be diverse in what I can do,” Pittman said. “I feel like I use my hands well. Being a bigger guy, people expect me to be physical and strong. So I have that, but I can also do all of the stuff that all of the smaller guys can.”