The Belmont Stakes Day undercard on June 5 will also feature
three other Grade 1 races in the $300,000 Betfair TVG Acorn for 3-year-old
fillies, the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap, a turf race for
horses 3 and up, and the $400,000 Just a Game, also on turf for fillies and
mares. A pair of Grade 2 sprint contests, the $250,000 Woody Stephens presented
by Emirates Airline and the $250,000 True North, will also be run Saturday.
Nine fillies are probable for the Betfair TVG Acorn
according to The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s, stakes coordinator,
Andrew Byrnes, including Amen Hallelujah, Buckleupbuttercup, Champagne
d’Oro, Dances With Ashley, Indian Burn, Much Rejoicing,
Quiet Temper, Seeking the Title and Streaker.
Four-time Grade 1 winner Gio Ponti will try for a
repeat in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan, which is also expected to draw Expansion,
Grand Couturier, Interpatation, Jet Propulsion, Just as
Well, Pinckney Hill, Strike a Deal and Take the Points.
Proviso, fresh off a victory over males in the Grade
1 Kilroe Mile, will only face females in the Just a Game. Also probable for the
one-mile turf affair is Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile winner Phola, Grade 3
Beaugay heroine Dynaslew, Carribean Sunset, and Speak Easy Gal.
My Princess Jess and Czechers are also under consideration.
In the Woody Stephens presented by Emirates Airline, the
speedy Eightyfiveinafifty will make a return to sprinting following a
fourth-place finish in the Grade 3, one-mile Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on
April 24. Also expected for the race are D’ Funnybone, Discreetly Mine,
and Thank U Phillipe, with Quiet Invader and Conveyance under
consideration as well.
The six-furlong True North is expected to draw last year’s
Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Bribon, along with Checklist,
Custom for Carlos, Fantasy Free, and Gato Go Win. El
Brujo, Elusive Warning and Formidable are possible.
Friday, June 4, features two stakes, the Grade 2 Brooklyn
Handicap and the Grade 3 Hill Prince presented by Ram.
Last year’s Grade 2 Brooklyn winner Eldaafer leads
the cast in this year’s renewal, which will carry a purse of $200,000 and be
contested over 1 ½ miles on the main track. The regally-bred son of A.P. Indy
and Habibti tuned up for this effort with a 4 ½-length victory in a May 20
starter allowance. Also probable for the race are the 2009 Greenwood Cup winner
Alcomo, who has returned to the United States following three starts in
Dubai; Tiger’s Rock, a two-time stakes winner over the Aqueduct inner
track this winter; American Dance; Gabriel’s Hill; Stones
River; and Tranquil Manner. Gangbuster is questionable.
Interactif, winner of the Grade 3 With Anticipation
and Grade 3 Bourbon on the grass as a juvenile, will return to the turf in the
Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince presented by Ram after finishing second in the
Grade 2 San Felipe and fourth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass. The Hill Prince is
also expected to include Grade 3 Transylvania winner Nordic Truce, Krypton,
and the maiden Avenging Spirit.