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Drosselmeyer Back in Belmont Spotlight

Drosselmeyer wins 2010 Belmont Stakes.

On June 5, 2010, Drosselmeyer gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first victory in a Triple Crown race when he won the Belmont Stakes. Fifty-two weeks and six days later, he’ll attempt to remain unbeaten over the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes distance when he competes at Belmont Park on Friday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap, presented by Ram.

 

The Brooklyn is the first leg of the Brooklyn-Belmont Double, which requires bettors to select the winners of the Brooklyn Handicap and Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes.

 

Last year’s Belmont was the final start of 2010 for Drosselmeyer, who is owned by WinStar Farm and has raced at progressively longer distances so far in 2011. Fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 6, the 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor faded to fifth after making a four-wide rally in the Grade 3, 1 3/16-mile Skip Away at Gulfstream Park on April 3 and fought valiantly along the rail to edge stablemate Birdrun by a neck in the 1 ¼-mile One Count overnight stakes at Belmont on May 15.

 

“It was a given [the Brooklyn] would be a reasonable spot to run him in, and he’s coming off a win over the track,” said Mott. “He obviously likes the track. They were very game [in the One Count].”

 

Jose Lezcano will ride Drosselmeyer, the 6-5 morning-line favorite, from post position 2.

 

A rematch is in the works, as Preston Stables’ Birdrun was also entered in the Brooklyn. Triumphant by 4 ½ lengths in his 2011 finale, the Carl G. Rose Handicap at Calder Race Course in November, Birdrun was sixth after stumbling at the start of the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on January 29 and fifth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds on March 26.

 

The Brooklyn will be Birdrun’s first start beyond 1 ¼ miles.

 

“The distance is an unanswered question, and we’ll find out by running him,” said Mott.

 

Birdrun will leave from post 4 under Rajiv Maragh as the 4-1 morning-line third choice.

 

Alghuwayriyah Stable’s Eldaafer wrapped up 2011 by winning three straight races, including the Grade 3, 1 ½-mile Turfway Park Fall Championship in September and Grade 3, 1 ¾-mile Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs in November. He was eighth when dropped back in distance for the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Donn Handicap on February 5 and sixth on turf in the Grade 3, 1 ½-mile Pan American on March 26 at Gulfstream Park.

 

Looking for a cozy spot to help Eldaafer return to form, Diane Alvarado entered the 6-year-old gelded son of A.P. Indy in a April 30 starter allowance on turf at Atlantic City Race Course. Eldaafer proved it was a savvy move by winning the one mile, 40-yard race by 4 ½ lengths.

 

“He needed to run and was eligible for the condition, and he had been running at the wrong distances,” said Alvarado. “He can win going shorter in starter allowances, but he isn’t dominant going that distance against stakes horses. He also didn’t train as well [in Florida], but he has been training forwardly since he got back up here.”

 

Tabbed as the 2-1 morning-line second choice, Eldaafer will leave from the rail with Jose Valdivia, Jr. aboard.

 

Alma d’Oro and Afleet Again, respectively fourth and fifth in the One Count, complete the Brooklyn Handicap field.

 

Also Friday, Right One looks to make it three straight in the United States as he faces a field of five in the Grade 3, $100,000 Poker at a mile on the turf.

 

The 5-year-old French gelding, who joined Christophe Clement’s barn in Florida over the winter, made a successful stateside debut when he rallied from far back to win a 7 ½-furlong optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on April 1. He then lived up to his role as the favorite in the Island Sun overnight stakes at Belmont on May 12, surging from last to post a two-length victory over Beau Choix in the one-mile event.

 

“I’m very happy with my horse, even if I think the race could be a Grade 1,” said Clement. “Other than that, life is good. It’s a very tough race. Courageous Cat, Court Vision – they’re all good. My horse is doing great. He won an overnight stakes two weeks ago, and it’s up to him.”

 

Rajiv Maragh will ride Right One, 3-1 on the morning line, from post position 2.

 

Multiple Grade 1 winner Court Vision, a winner of more than $2.6 million, gets some class relief in seeking his first victory since last fall’s score in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, after which he was fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile and fourth in the Grade 2 Citation at Hollywood Park on November 27.

 

This year, the 6-year-old son of Gulch was fourth as the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile on April 15, then ninth in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.

 

Ramon Dominguez gets the mount on Court Vision, 5-2 on the morning line, from post 4.

 

Courageous Cat, winner of the 2009 Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, makes his 2011 debut in the Poker for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The lightly raced son of Storm Cat was most recently third to Gio Ponti in last October’s Shadwell Turf Mile, only his third start of 2010. Jose Lezcano rides Courageous Cat, 2-1 on the morning line, from the rail.

 

Rounding out the field are Beau Choix, runner-up to Right One in the Island Sun; Riviera Cocktail, most recently fifth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May 7, and Yield Bogey, making his 2011 debut.

 

The field for the Grade 2, $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap, presented by Ram:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Eldaafer (KY)

J Valdivia, Jr.

118

D Alvarado

2-1

2

Drosselmeyer (KY)

J Lezcano

119

W I Mott

6-5

3

Afleet Again (KY)

F Pennington

115

R E Reid, Jr.

12-1

4

Birdrun (FL)

R Maragh

118

W I Mott

4-1

5

Alma d'Oro (KY)

J R Velazquez

116

T A Pletcher

8-1

 

The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Poker:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Courageous Cat (KY)

J Lezcano

116

W I Mott

2-1

2

Right One (FR)

R Maragh

116

C Clement

3-1

3

Beau Choix (KY)

A Garcia

116

B Tagg

6-1

4

Court Vision (KY)

R A Dominguez

118

R E Dutrow, Jr.

5-2

5

Riviera Cocktail (KY)

J R Velazquez

116

K P McLaughlin

6-1

6

Yield Bogey (KY)

E S Prado

116

P J Kelly

15-1

 

 

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Drosselmeyer Back in Belmont Spotlight...

Eldaafer can handle 1 1/2m , Afleet Again can close like a train, but this is really stretching it coming out of the Withers Stakes at 1 mile. Nice looking Grey.
I like Drosselmeyer. I think he will have a big shot in here. Nice Plug for Courageous Cat Brian :) He is one talented cookie.
I'm still hopeful that Drosselmeyer can buck the trend, and have a good career after a Belmont Stakes win. Courageous Cat is a major talent, I hope Mott has him back in good form. He has only started three times since finishing 2nd to Goldikova in the BC Mile as a three-year-old 18 months ago.

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