Clearly Now registered a dominant victory in the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint
Championship on July 5, trainer Brian Lynch patiently waited for the
opportunity to run the 4-year-old back at seven furlongs. On Saturday,
Clearly Now will get his chance when he heads a group of 10 sprinters
entered in the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego for 3-year-olds and up.
Forego, a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're in Race" in the
Sprint division, will be shown live on the NBC Sports Network on a
broadcast that runs from 6-7 p.m. EDT.
three of Clearly Now's graded stakes wins have come at seven furlongs,
with the Up Hill Stable color-bearer having taken the Grade 3 Swale and
Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap in 2013 prior to his victory in the Belmont
the latter, Clearly Now's fourth start of 2014, the colt stalked the
pace in fourth place before swinging out and exploding to the front at
the top of the stretch, powering away to a 6 ¼-length triumph. His final
time of 1:19.96 improved the track record by 0.21 seconds.
the Forego also being a seven-furlong race, Lynch decided to bypass the
Saratoga's Grade 1, six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on August
2. The Belmont Sprint Championship runner-up, Palace, returned to win
the Vanderbilt and is entered in the Forego.
Forego was the obvious spot," said Lynch, who has been training Clearly
Now from his base at Woodbine Racetrack. "It's his ideal distance, it's
a Grade 1, and he deserves a chance. He ran a high enough Beyer Speed
Figure and low enough Ragozin number [in the Belmont Sprint
Championship] that I wanted to make sure he had enough time between
Lynch hopes Clearly Now's trip in the Forego will be similar to the one he had in July at Belmont.
"There should be enough speed to get a nice sort of stalking trip," Lynch said.
three other starts this year, Clearly Now was third in both the Grade 1
Carter Handicap in April at Aqueduct Racetrack and Grade 2 Churchill
Downs Stakes in May at seven furlongs before finishing fifth in the
Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at one mile in June at Belmont.
Jose Lezcano will ride Clearly Now from post position 8.
claimed for $20,000 in October 2012 by trainer Linda Rice and owner
Antonino Miuccio, won the Grade 2, six-furlong True North Handicap by
three-quarters of a length in June at Belmont before finishing second in
the Belmont Sprint Championship. Cutting back to six furlongs for the
Vanderbilt, he pressed the pace and wore down Happy My Way to prevail by
his only other start at seven furlongs on the dirt, Palace was fourth
in the Grade 2 General George Handicap in February at Laurel Park.
Palace's record at six furlongs (six wins in 11 starts), trainer Linda
Rice wants to evaluate the Forego field before making a final decision
on whether the 5-year-old will compete on Saturday.
want to look at the race; we're not positive we're going to run," said
Rice. "We might wait for the Vosburgh [Grade 1, six furlongs, September
27, Belmont Park] and use that as our Breeders' Cup prep. We know [the
Forego is] Clearly Now's best distance, but it may not be the best
distance for us."
Cornelio Velasquez was named to ride Palace, who drew post 6.
contrast to Rice, George Weaver, trainer of Vanderbilt third-place
finisher Falling Sky, believes the seven-furlong distance will help his
Sky, beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Vanderbilt, entered the race off a
half-length win in the seven-furlong Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap in
June at Parx Racing. In February, he took the Grade 3, seven-furlong
Gulfstream Park Sprint before finishing seventh in the Grade 2
Gulfstream Park Handicap in March and 10th in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs.
doesn't have a problem with the distance; that's what helps [our
chances in the Forego]," said Weaver. "At seven furlongs, he'll be
capable of running a better performance. When I ran at six furlongs last
time, I believed that if he was able to do it over and over again that
he'd handle it better and better. I don't think [six furlongs] is a
distance he can't necessarily handle, but we are happy to be going back
to seven furlongs."
Falling Sky will have the services of Hall of Famer Edgar Prado from post 7.
Vyjack and Capo Bastone, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Vanderbilt, also were entered back in the Forego.
Rodriguez trains Vyjack, winner of the 2013 Grade 3 Gotham, for David
Wilkenfeld's Pick Six Racing. Vyjack will leave from post 3 with Irad
Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.
Bastone is trained by Todd Pletcher for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the call from post 1.
Hideway and Big Business, the top two finishers from the 6 ½-furlong
John Morrissey for New York-breds on August 15, will be reunited in the
the Morrissey, Weekend Hideaway dictated the pace to win by two
lengths, with Big Business rallying from fifth to nab second in a
four-way blanket finish.
Forego field also includes Zee Bros, second in an off-the-turf optional
claimer on August 13; Sensation Slam, winner of the Diablo overnight
stakes in May at Belmont and fourth in the Teddy Drone on July 27 at
Monmouth Park; and Confrontation, winner of two straight optional
claimers, including a 2 ¾-length score on August 8 at the Spa.
Source: NYRA/Jon Forbes