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Bush Likes Banrock's Kingston Chances

It’s been nineteen months since New York-bred turf stalwart Banrock has visited the winner’s circle, but trainer Tom Bush hopes the 8-year-old gelding’s fortunes will shift Sunday afternoon at Belmont Park as he faces seven others in the 33rd running of the $100,000 Kingston. Race 9 on Belmont’s 10-race card, the one-mile Kingston will be preceded by its sister race, the $100,000 Mount Vernon for state-bred females, also run at a mile on the turf.

 

“I’m excited,” Bush said of Banrock’s start in the Kingston, his first race in New York since a fourth-place effort in the West Point at Saratoga Race Course on August 19. “I’m still glad I took him to Florida, I just probably shouldn’t have run him the third time down there.”

 

Banrock, who in previous years has had the winter off, raced at Gulfstream Park in 2011 after missing training and racing in the fall due to a gastrointestinal ailment. The son of Go for Gin finished ninth in his return race, a one-mile turf optional claimer at Gulfstream on January 8, and subsequently sixth and ninth under similar conditions in February and March. Sent to Keeneland in April, he rallied late to finish fifth in allowance company behind the well-regarded Beau Choix.  

 

“He got softer ground at Keeneland and he was closing in that race,” Bush said. “He’s really had a great six or seven weeks here, he’s carrying weight well and he’s enthusiastic. I hope I’m right.”

 

Bush has not lamented the rain in recent weeks, as Banrock prefers some give in the ground. On Sunday the Nyala Farm color-bearer will have the services of Javier Castellano, who rode him to his most recent victory, the Mohawk on New York Showcase Day in October 2009. Winner of the Kingston in 2008 and 2009, a third victory would make Banrock the first horse to win three editions of the race.

 

Tabbed as the 7-2 morning-line third choice, Banrock will leave from post position 4.

 

Among Banrock’s challengers is Thomas Mina’s Uncle T Seven, who returns from a short layoff to assume the 2-1 favorite’s role in the Kingston as part of a coupled entry with Pretty Boy Freud.

 

“He breezed five-eighths (1:01) on May 20 and I blew him out three furlongs (36.62) this morning,” said trainer John Kimmel. “We’re testing the theory about how well he’ll run fresh – he’s trained lightly up to this race, but he also wasn’t off for that long. We’ll get a good start into him to use as a springboard for the rest of the year.”

 

Uncle T Seven was fourth in his most recent start behind Grade 1 winner Furthest Land in a one-mile turf allowance at Gulfstream on February 12. His last victory came against fellow New York-breds in the Ashley T. Cole at Belmont last September.

 

Uncle T Seven will break from post 7 with Alex Solis, while entrymate Pretty Boy Freud – trained by Leo O’Brien – gets the services of John Velazquez from the rail.

 

Second choice in the wagering at 3-1 is Pocket Cowboys, fifth in his 2011 debut, a 1 1/16-mile off-the-turf allowance at Belmont on May 4. Runner-up in last year’s West Point and Ashley T. Cole behind Straight Story and Uncle T Seven, respectively, Pocket Cowboys turned the tables on both on New York Showcase Day in the Mohawk, scoring by 1 ¼ lengths.

 

Edgar Prado has the return call aboard Pocket Cowboys from post 6 for owner, trainer, and breeder Scott Schwartz.

 

Completing the field in the Kingston are Lubash, Spa City Fever, Scientist, and Piazza Di Spagna.

 

In the Mount Vernon, Chorus Music looks for her second consecutive victory of 2011 as she exits a commanding 5 ½-length victory in the Irish Linnet overnight stakes over the Belmont turf on April 29, her season debut.

 

“I don’t even think we had her as tight as she could be off the layoff,” said John Terranova, who trains the daughter of Strategic Mission for Curragh Stables and Gary Juster. “She came off the farm and we gave her about five easy breezes going into it. She was just fresh and feeling good, she loves the soft ground and she really just exploded.”

 

Now 6, Chorus Music closed her 2010 campaign with an easy allowance victory over the turf at Aqueduct Racetrack on November 21, following a runner-up effort in the Ticonderoga on New York Showcase Day, October 23. She is 3-2-1 from seven career starts over the Belmont turf.

 

“To me she looks like she’s come back better as a 6-year-old, and she’s continued on great,” Terranova said. “The owners let us just turn her out each winter and I think that’s why she’s lasted and come back strong. She knows when it’s time to run and it seems like she’s just excited to get back out there. She’s always been a nice filly, solid, and I think she’s really appreciated getting a break every winter and going to the farm.”

 

Alex Solis has the call aboard the 2-1 morning-line favorite from post 1.

 

Also returning from the Irish Linnet is third-place finisher Akilina, who came into the race off a two month layoff.

 

“She’s getting older, but she’s very consistent,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “She needed the race and I think she benefitted from it – she’s training very well and she looks tight.”

 

The Oak Bluff Stables color-bearer, 5-1 on the morning line, will leave from post 2 with Rajiv Maragh.

 

Irish Linnet runner-up Exclusive Scheme completes the trio exiting that race and will get the services of Ramon Dominguez from post 3 on Sunday.

 

Gitchee Goomie looks to return to her winning ways following a neck defeat to Daveron in the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 7. Alan Garcia, who rode the daughter of City Zip to a victory in a turf optional claimer at Gulfstream on April 2, has the call aboard the 5-2 morning-line second choice from post 5.

 

Completing the field in the Mount Vernon are Frivolous Buck, Paraiba, and Loyal Shadow. The coupled entry of Banker’s Buy and Eager Emma, along with Cody Samora and Life’s Measure, may run if this race is moved to the main track.

 

 

The field for the $100,000 Kingston:

Prog. No/ PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1               1

Pretty Boy Freud

J R Velazquez

116

L O'Brien

2-1

1A            7

Uncle T Seven

A O Solis

120

J C Kimmel

2-1

2               2

Piazza Di Spagna

R Curatolo

116

G Sciacca

30-1

3               3

Lubash

J Lezcano

123

J Ryerson

5-1

4               4

Banrock

J Castellano

118

T M Bush

7-2

5               5

Scientist

C Velasquez

116

W Phipps

12-1

6               6

Pocket Cowboys

E Prado

120

S M Schwartz

3-1

7               8

Spa City Fever

J F Chavez

116

P J Kelly

6-1

Coupled entry: Pretty Boy Freud, Uncle T Seven

 

The field for the $100,000 Mount Vernon:

Prog. No/ PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1               10

Bankers Buy (MTO)

NR

115

N P Zito

9-5

1A            11

Eager Emma (MTO)

NR

115

N P Zito

9-5

2                1

Chorus Music

A Solis

119

J Terranova

2-1

3                2

Akilina

R Maragh (1)

117

C Clement

5-1

4                3

Exclusive Scheme

R Dominguez

115

W Badgett

5-1

5                4

Loyal Shadow

M Studart

115

G Sciacca

30-1

6                5

Gitchee Goomie

A Garcia

115

R Violette

5-2

7                6

Frivolous Buck

E Castro

115

G Weaver

6-1

8                7

Paraiba

J Velazquez

115

D Donk

12-1

9                8

Cody Samora (MTO)

R Maragh (2)

115

J Morrison

5-2

10              9

Life’s Measure (MTO)

R Curatolo

115

C F Martin

7-2

Coupled entry: Bankers Buy, Eager Emma

 

 

 

 

 

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