Clement has a strong hand for the Grade 3, $300,000 Poker, to be run on
Memorial Day, and the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, to be run on
the preceding Saturday. In the Poker, Clement is likely send out Grade 1
Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Za Approval, who is winless through
two starts in 2014 but has won two graded stakes at the distance in
addition to his strong showing in last year's Breeders' Cup. He was
fourth in both the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe in March at Santa Anita and
the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile on April 11 at Keeneland.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
long as the ground is not too soft, Za Approval will run [in the
Poker]," said Clement. "He loves it firm. I ran him a little bit unfit
in California first time out [in 2014] and he went off form in Kentucky,
though I'm not exactly sure why. He came back here and seems to be
Meanwhile, Clement is likely to saddle Irish Mission and Orion Moon
in the Sheepshead Bay. The former will be making only her second start
for the trainer and nearly became a Grade 1 winner last year against
males in the Northern Dancer at Woodbine, while the latter most recently
missed by a neck in the Grade 3 Beaugay.
Mission ran in the Beaugay but she'll be better going long, so it'll be
fun," said Clement. "Orion Moon might have a go [at the Sheepshead
Bay]; she had an easy work this morning and looked OK. We were thinking
about the [Grade 1] Just A Game, but she's not a mile type of filly. The
next race would be a Grade 3 in New Jersey in late June, but she might
make that race anyway, so we've got to think about it."
* * *
is likely to headline the Grade 3, $300,000 Poker on Memorial Day at
Belmont Park. The talented miler finished second to two-time Horse of
the Year Wise Dan in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile, but has yet to find
the winner's circle since last year's Grade 3 Knickerbocker at
The wickedly fast Peace and Justice,
trained by John Shirreffs, is on track to head east for the race. The
War Front colt has a penchant for running as fast and as far as he can
in his races, and has shown a particular affinity for races at one mile,
as he's won three of five starts at the distance.
Last year's third-place finisher in the Poker, Big Screen,
is also likely to be among this year's field. The 5-year-old son of
Speightstown has made 19 career starts, only three of which have been
over turf. Late in 2013, he made a case for himself being a turf miler
by taking the Who's To Pay at Belmont over next-out winner Bad Debt.
Other probable for the race include Jack Milton, Plainview, Sinatra and