Multiple graded stakes
winner Data Link looks for his second victory of 2013 on Thursday when
he heads a field of seven turf horses going a mile in the Grade 3,
$150,000 Poker, the
Independence Day feature at Belmont
Trained by Hall of
Famer Shug McGaughey for Stuart S. Janney, III, who teamed earlier this
year to take the Kentucky Derby with Orb, Data Link opened his
5-year-old campaign with an easy, come-from-behind triumph
in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream
He next ran into reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan at Keeneland
Race Course, finishing second by a length on April 12 as he attempted
to defend his title in the Grade 1 Makers 46 Mile.
The 5-year-old son of War Front tuned up for the Poker with a three-furlong move in 35.11 over
Belmont’s inner turf course. At 6-5 on the morning line, he will leave from post position 4 with Javier Castellano aboard.
New York-bred stalwart King Kreesa, front-running winner of the
last time out, returns to open company in search of his first graded
stakes victory. The 4-year-old King Cugat gelding has been close in four
previous graded stakes starts, finishing third
in the Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream and the Grade 3 Fort Marcy at
Belmont this year, and second by a half-length in the Grade 1 Jamaica and fourth in the Grade 3 Saranac last year.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the return call on King Kreesa, 4-1 on the morning line. The pair will leave from post position 6.
Drawing directly inside King Kreesa is fellow New York-bred Lubash, most recently third in the
The 6-year-old son of Freud is 1-1-1 from three starts in 2013, having
also finished second in the Dave overnight stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack
and winning the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May
Jose Lezcano, Jr. will ride the Christophe Clement trainee, 5-1 on the morning line, from post position 5.
Dogwood Stable’s Big
Screen returns to turf for the first time in more than a year.
Disqualified to second after a bumpy stretch run in the off-the-turf
Jaipur on June 7, the 4-year-old Speightstown colt has
been effective at a mile this year with a pair of victories at the
distance, including a 9 ¼-length romp at Aqueduct that earned him a
lifetime-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure.
At 6-1 on the morning line, Big Screen will leave from post position 2 with Luis Saez in the irons.
Rounding out the field
are Upgrade, most recently third in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup at
Woodbine; Shkspeare Shaliyah, fifth in the Three Coins Up on June 14 at
Belmont, and Howe Great, fourth in the Grade 2 Dixie
at Pimlico Race Course last time out. Politicallycorrect was entered
main track only.