One year after winning the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War at
Park with Point of Entry, Hall of Fame
trainer Shug McGaughey and owner Phipps Stable will send out Boisterous
in the 2013 edition of the 1 3/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.
The 2012 Man o’ War was the first Grade 1 win for Point of
Entry, who subsequently added Grade 1 scores in the Sword Dancer
Invitational, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational,
Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, and Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap.
On Saturday, Boisterous will attempt to emulate his stablemate and pick
up his first Grade 1 victory in this year’s Man o’ War, the final
graded stakes of the
Belmont spring summer/meet before racing moves to Saratoga Race Course on July 19.
Point of Entry originally was scheduled to defend his title in
the Man o’ War but emerged from the Woodford Reserve Manhattan on
Belmont Stakes day with a non-displaced
condylar fracture. Boisterous, who in his last Grade 1 appearance was
ninth in the 2012 Arlington Million, will take his place.
In eight starts at Belmont, Boisterous has won five races,
including the 2011 and 2012 renewals of the Grade 3 Knickerbocker and
the 2012 Grade 3 Fort Marcy. He has
competed in two Grade 1 races at Belmont, finishing third both the 2011 Man o’ War and 2012 Woodford Reserve Manhattan.
“We’ve always thought he was a Grade 1 kind of horse,” said McGaughey.
Boisterous, a 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor, enters the 2013
Man o’ War in top form, having finished first or second in his last
five starts. This year he has finished
second to Successful Dan in the Grade 3 Ben Ali in April at Keeneland
and won the Grade 2 Monmouth by 1 ¼ lengths on June 9 at Monmouth Park.
“His race in
on the Polytrack was great,” said McGaughey. “There was no pace, and we
were four or five lengths back turning for home and got beat a length.
Then, he came back and ran really well down
at Monmouth and has done real well since then.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez, aboard Boisterous in the Monmouth,
will ride again in the Man o’ War. Boisterous drew post position 6 and
was installed as the 9-5 morning-line
Calumet Farm’s Optimizer, second by 1 ½ lengths in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan, will return to
to compete in the Man o’ War. After winning the Grade 3 Colonel E.R.
Bradley Handicap and Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap over the winter in
Louisiana, Optimizer finished fifth in the Grade
2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap in March at the Fair Grounds, second in
the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby day at
Churchill Downs, third in the Grade 2 Dixie on the Preakness undercard
the 4-year-old stalked the pacesetter in second, led turning for home,
yielded in the stretch to Point of Entry, and dug in to edge Real
Solution by a neck for second.
Joel Rosario has the return call aboard Optimizer, will leave
from the rail and was tabbed as the 2-1 second choice on the morning
Also exiting the Woodford Reserve Manhattan are Finnegans Wake
(fourth) and Twilight Eclipse (fifth). Finnegans Wake is seeking his
first stakes win, while Twlight Eclipse
is looking to regain the form that led to his world record for 1 ½
miles on the turf (2:22.63) in the Grade 2 Pan American in March at
Speaking of Which will step up in class and stretch out in
distance off a 2 ¾-length length triumph in a 1 1/16-mile optional
claimer on June 21 at Monmouth Park. Earlier
in his career the Moyglare Stud Farm homebred won a Group 3 in
and was second in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby for trainer Dermot Weld.
Now with Christopher Clement, Speaking of Which was sixth in the Grade
3, 1 1/16-mile
Fort Marcy in May at
Belmont in his only other start this year.
“I ran him in the
Marcy, and I made a big mistake,” said
Clement. “He should have gone farther. They went very quickly and he was
always one paced. He was not tight enough.”
Clement believes the optional claimer has set up Speaking of Which well for the Man o’ War.
“It was an easy race, but I thought it went well,” said Clement.
“He was very impressive. It was a perfect race, mentally, for him, and
he came back in very good order.
He had one easy work, and he looked great last weekend.”
Jose Lezcano will ride Speaking of Which, 12-1, from post 2.
Exclusive Strike, sixth in the 2011 Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap
in his only graded stakes start, will return to graded competition in
the Man o’ War. The 6-year-old gelding
has won two straight optional claimers, prevailing by four lengths in
April at Aqueduct Racetrack and by 4 ¼ lengths on May 24 at
Park. He was third over the Man o’ War’s 1 3/8-mile distance in an optional claimer in March at Gulfstream.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has picked up the mount aboard 12-1 Exclusive Strike, who drew post 8.
The field also includes Folk Singer, claimed for $25,000 in his
most recent start, and Al Khali, the winner of Belmont’s 2010 Grade 2
Bowling Green Handicap who was
ninth in the Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 26 at Keeneland.