This is the second in a series of six preview articles for the six graded stakes that will take place this coming Saturday at Belmont Park.
Check back later for previews of the Beldame Invitational (G1), the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), the Kelso Stakes (G2), and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1). And check the Fast Times at Belmont Park archives for a preview of the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1)
Though it has been carded very early on Super Saturday, there is a legitimate argument to be made for the Vosburgh Inviational (G1) as the race of the day. In fact, although it lacks a superstar like Uncle Mo or Havre De Grace, some might even go a step further and say that there’s no argument whatsoever. The Vosburgh is the race of the day.
The last time Trappe Shot raced at Belmont Park, he put on a show, capturing the True North (G2) by a whopping 8½ lengths. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trainee came back to finish a game second to Sean Avery in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga. With Sean Avery now sidelined for the rest of the 2011 season, Trappe Shot could well be the current leader of the pack in the sprint division.
In order to maintain that standing, however, he’ll have to contend with some accomplished challengers, most notably, the champion sprinter of a year ago – Big Drama. Trained by David Fawkes (who will also send out Apriority), Big Drama is one of only two horses entered on Super Saturday to have already won a Breeders’ Cup race (Uncle Mo is the other). Due to the long respite Big Drama took this year, Fawkes has had to deviate from the winning blueprint of 2010. Big Drama bypassed the Vosburgh last year, training up to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint after running in the Forego (G1) at Saratoga. But with only two 2011 races to his name so far, Fawkes believes he needs to get another race into Big Drama prior to the Sprint. Four weeks removed from an easy win in an ungraded stake at Calder, Fawkes believes his charge is ready.
“I’m very confident,” Fawkes told the NYRA notes team. “He’s doing super good. I thought [his race at Calder] was a perfect race.”
He’ll probably need another perfect race to win a Vosburgh that Fawkes described as a “Breeders’ Cup pre-Breeders’ Cup.”
The new face in here, at least as far as east-coasters are concerned, is Euroears. This 7-year-old Langfuhr colt, trained by Bob Baffert, has turned back the clock during the 2011 season. He is 2-for-2 in the US this year, and finished a strong second in the Golden Shaheen (G1) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Perhaps wanting to keep Euroears away from his superstar 3-year-old The Factor, Baffert opted to ship Euroears east for this spot, instead of keeping him home for a start in the Ancient Title (G1) next week. Despite The Factor’s sterling resume, Baffert did the well-traveled Euroears no favors by sending him east.
It seems like it isn’t a big stakes race in New York anymore without representation from Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher. They’ll send out the entry of Calibrachoa and Caixa Eletronica. The former has had success at six furlongs already on this circuit this season, having captured the Tom Fool (G3) and Toboggan (G3) at Aqueduct this winter. The fields he met in those races, however, pale in comparison to this salty bunch.
As for Caixa Eletronica, Pletcher candidly admits that the winner of the Westchester (G3) back in April at Belmont is best suited for a mile, but he’s unwilling to run the horse at that distance against the star of his stable, Uncle Mo.
“Caixa Eletronica is ideally suited for a mile, but he’s not going to run against Uncle Mo,” said Pletcher. “This race looks like it could come up with a really hot pace and he’s the kind of horse who, if ridden properly, can sit back and make one run, and he’s game enough to do about anything.”
The Vosburgh has been carded as the seventh race on Super Saturday. Post Time is 3:57 ET, meaning that the race will not be televised live on ESPN Classic.
Frankly, that’s too bad. Because, despite the fact that it lacks an A-Lister, the quantity and quality of the Vosburgh’s ensemble cast ensures a top-notch race.Pick a winner in at least one Breeders' Cup prep race, and you can qualify for TVG's $500,000 Champions' Challenge contest.