Closing weekend at Belmont
Park is highlighted
by a pair of Grade 3 races, with both the $150,000 Bold Ruler Handicap
and the $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares set
for Saturday, the penultimate day of racing.
After Sunday’s final
card, thoroughbred action moves to Aqueduct Racetrack beginning Friday,
November 2, with opening day offering the simulcast of Day 1 of the
Breeders’ Cup from Santa Anita Park.
The 5-2 morning-line
favorite in the seven-furlong Bold Ruler is Mike Repole’s popular
veteran Caixa Eletronica, who gets some class relief after competing in
three straight Grade 1 events.
Most recently second to
The Lumber Guy in the Vosburgh on September 29 – for which he earned a
lifetime best 107 Beyer Speed Figure – the 7-year-old son of Arromanches
will be seeking his fourth win of 2012 to
go along with victories in the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont,
the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic and the Rise Jim overnight stakes at
ran a very credible race last time out in the Vosburgh,” said Whit
Beckman, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “He’s one of those horses
who is so versatile, no matter
what distance, he seems to show up every time.”
Javier Castellano will ride Caixa Eletronica from post position 8.
Returning as well from
the Vosburgh is Howard Queen’s Little Drama, who finished fourth, beaten
3 ½ lengths, after prompting the early pace. The 4-year-old gelding,
brother of champion sprinter Big Drama, has
one victory in five starts this year, taking an optional claimer at the
Bold Ruler distance this past summer at
Rajiv Maragh will ride Little Drama, the second choice at 7-2 on the morning line, from the outside in post position 10.
Spring to the Sky, a
3-year-old Langfuhr colt, faces older stakes horses for the first time
as he makes a return to the main track. Victorious on turf in the
six-furlong Groovy overnight stakes on September 13,
Spring to the Sky was a front-running maiden winner over a muddy
Belmont track last year and his connections are hoping a good
performance Saturday will open more options for the sophomore.
“If he runs big on the
dirt, there are more opportunities,” said Bruce Brown, who trains Spring
to the Sky for Anthony McCarthy. “Or, he can go to grass full-time.”
With Irad Ortiz, Jr., in the irons, Spring to the Sky will leave from post position 2 at 30-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field,
from the rail out, are Buffum, Isn’t He Perfect, Associate, Zero Rate
Policy, Private Tale, Gallant Fields, and Golddigger’s Boy.
The Turnback the Alarm
drew a field of eight fillies and mares, with Hall of Famer Bill Mott’s
Arena Elvira the 5-2 morning-line favorite under high weight of 120
pounds as she seeks to defend her title in the
1 1/16-mile race.
The 5-year-old mare will be making her first start since a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap in April at
Hawthorne. Her only other outing of 2012 was a head
victory in the Wayward Lass in
March at Tampa Bay Downs. Last year, the dark bay daughter of
Ghostzapper won six of eight starts, including the Grade 2 Falls City
Handicap at Churchill Downs and a pair of overnight stakes
at Saratoga Race Course in addition to the Turnback the Alarm, run at 1
1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
Jose Lezcano rides Arena Elvira from post position 6.
Afleeting Lady has won half of her eight starts at 1 1/16 miles, most recently taking the Lady’s Secret on September 3 at
Park. Trained by Dale Romans for Michael
Lauffer and William Cubbedge, the Afleet Alex mare has been competing in
the Midwest and will return to
Belmont for the first time since a fourth-place finish in a one-mile maiden event in May, 2010.
Joel Rosario will ride Afleeting Lady, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, from post position 8.
Trainer Todd Pletcher
will have two representatives in the Turnback the Alarm with Maristar
and R Gypsy Gold, both coming out of Grade 1 races. In her first start
for Pletcher, Maristar was fourth in the Beldame
Invitational on September 29 at Belmont, while R Gypsy Gold was sixth behind winner Love and Pride in the Personal Ensign Handicap on August 26 at
“Maristar didn’t run a
bad race last time out; she was just a little overmatched,” said
Pletcher assistant Whit Beckman of the 5-year-old
Giant’s Causeway mare. “Like Maristar,
the [Personal Ensign] was probably just a little bit out of [R Gypsy
Gold’s] league. She’s doing really, really well right now, and 1 1/16
miles should suit her just fine.”
Maristar, 10-1 on the
morning line, drew post position 4 under John Velazquez while R Gypsy
Gold drew post position 2 at 4-1 on the morning line. Javier Castellano
Hall of Fame trainer
Allen Jerkens skipped a start on New York Showcase Day for Go Unbridled
to await the Turnback the Alarm, in which she was third last year. A 6
½-length winner of the Saratoga Dew in August
– Jerkens’ second stakes win at the Spa this year
– Go Unbridled most recently was third behind Royal Delta and It’s Tricky in the Beldame.
“I thought she might
have taken third against the boys in the Empire Classic,” said Jerkens
of Go Unbridled, who carries the colors of Howard T. Whitbred. “She’s
doing fine heading into this race.”
Junior Alvarado will be aboard the 8-1 choice on the morning line from post position 3.
Rounding out the field are All Due Respect, Nefertini, and Catch a Thief.