Trainer Ian Wilkes’ contenders for upcoming graded stakes have
settled in at Belmont Park, with Island
Bound targeting the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom on September 22 and Fort Larned
aiming for the Grade 1 TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on September 29.
Fort Larned, a Janis Whitham homebred, has been training
up to the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup since his 1 ¼-length victory in the Grade 1
Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 4 at Saratoga. He has breezed three times since
the Whitney, including a 50.22 four-furlong work on the Belmont training track on Sunday and a bullet
1:00.46 move over the main track on Thursday.
“He’s sharp and is on his game,” said Wilkes.
“He finished up well and galloped out strongly.”
Island Bound, winner of the Grade 3 Winning Colors in June, is looking
to rebound off a last-of-six performance in the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 24.
“She doesn’t like the inside and she drew the rail [in the
Ballerina], and she just didn’t like being down there,” said
The Robert T. Manfuso color-bearer breezed four furlongs in 48.91
seconds on Monday.
“Everything is on schedule. It looks like she handled the move
fine,” said Wilkes, who added that he hasn’t decided when Island
Bound will have her final breeze in the lead up to the Gallant Bloom.