Both of Saturday’s Grade 3 turf winners at Belmont
Park were said to be doing well at
their respective barns Sunday morning, with Phipps Stable’s Boisterous resting comfortably after taking
the $150,000 Fort
Marcy, and Phillips
Racing Partnership’s Winter Memories
basking in the glow of her $150,000 Beaugay victory.
Boisterous’ Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey had two graded
stakes wins to celebrate, having also posted a mild upset with Hungry Island in yesterday’s Grade 2
Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard. McGaughey
said Sunday that both horses could make their next starts on Belmont Stakes
Day, June 9, with Boisterous aiming for the Grade 1, $500,000, 1 ¼-mile
Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap and Hungry Island
eyeing the Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game, run at one mile on the turf.
“He seemed to come back good,” McGaughey said of Boisterous.
“I’m pleased with his race, pleased with him, hopefully we’ve
got a fun year ahead. He’s a really nice horse and we’ll see what
happens. He was a two-other-than this time last year, he had just won
two-other-than at Keeneland, and then he won [Belmont’s
Three Coins Up overnight Stakes on May 22] and then he went into a Grade 1 [the
Man o’War on July 9 at Belmont].”
After a solid third-place showing in the Man o’War followed by a
disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga Race Course,
McGaughey opted to back off of Boisterous for a couple of months. The
trainer’s patience was rewarded when the son of Distorted Humor closed
out his 2011 campaign with back-to-back wins in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont and the Grade 2
Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct last fall.
“His last two races last year I thought were really good,
especially the Red Smith, so I think that the distance is not going to be a
problem with him. He’ll do whatever you want him to do – the pace
was slow yesterday and he broke right off it. Going long, he can be where he
wants to be and I think he’ll settle back. He likes some give in the
ground. He doesn’t mind anything, unless it’s just really, really
hard and then I think it might sting him a little bit.”
Emory Hamilton’s Hungry
Island, who broke her
maiden exactly a year ago Sunday, impressed the trainer with her late-running
victory at Churchill.
“Hungry Island ran a great race and I would like to be able to
run her back in the Just a Game with my big sights on the Diana [Grade 1, July
28, Saratoga Race Course], try and get her stretched out,” McGaughey said
of the More Than Ready filly. “I just have to see how much this took out
of her. It was extremely hot down there yesterday, but they don’t let her
run but the last quarter of a mile, so it’s not like she was in a long
drive or anything.”
After upsetting Winter Memories last August in Saratoga’s Grade 2
Woodford Reserve Lake Placid, Hungry Island lost three straight, finishing
fourth to Winter Memories in the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont on September
17, third in the Grade 2 Miss Revere Stakes at Churchill in November, and third
in her 2012 bow, a Keeneland allowance on April 11. McGaughey he said he
thought he ran the filly back too quickly in the Garden City and pointed to
troubled trips in the other races, so he was surprised at her generous odds in
the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile.
“I think [jockey John Velazquez and I] both went into the race
yesterday with a lot of confidence. I’m walking over there and she’s
5- or 6-1 on the board. I said ‘How are these people missing this? Or am
I dumb?’ Because in those races, she did have pretty good excuses. One of
them being mine and the others just kind of the fault of the race.”
Island, Winter Memories
will now target the Just a Game, which is expected to serve as the fourth
meeting between the two fillies. The pair debuted in the same Saratoga
maiden race in September, 2010, with Winter Memories winning and Hungry Island
finishing 4 ½ lengths behind her in third.
“They’re two quality fillies,” said trainer Jimmy
Toner. “Believe me. I’m glad to see [Hungry Island]
run as well as she did yesterday, and I’m happy we ran well as we did. It
should make for a good match up later on. We’re going back in the Just a
In her typical fashion, the stretch runner provided some anxious
moments for her connections in the Beaugay as she had to wait for an opening
before commencing her rally.
“She came out of it better than I did,” said Toner.
“I was a little stressed afterward, but she’s fine.”
The Beaugay was the first time Eddie Castro had ridden Winter Memories,
who gave the rider his 2000th North American victory.
“It was nice for Eddie,” said Toner. “We’re
really happy for him. He’s quiet and reserved but a real gentleman. I
wasn’t aware it was his 2000th win, but what a way to get your
2000th in a stakes race like that.”