The fields are set for the eight graded stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard Saturday, including five Grade 1s.
First post on the 13-race card is 11:20 a.m. EDT. Here is a brief preview of each race.
Cody’s Wish returns in Metropolitan Handicap
The touching story of Godolphin’s homebred Cody’s Wish is made even more so with each victory he adds to his accomplished resume. The 5-year-old son of Curlin will look to build upon an already memorable list of achievements for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in Saturday’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, a one-turn mile for older horses, at Belmont Park.
The Met Mile, carded as Race 10, features five Grade 1 winners and awards the winner with a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Santa Anita.
Cody’s Wish exits a facile score in the Churchill Downs (G1) on May 6, closing from last of nine under returning rider Junior Alvarado to take the lead at the top of the stretch and lengthen his winning margin to 4 3/4 lengths. He earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure in his 5-year-old debut.
“He's doing well. He's won at a one-turn mile several times,” Mott said. “In different races, he's been a little closer than others, but he's not one to be right up on the pace. He just gets his feet under him and comes with a pretty good run.”
Dual Grade 1-winner Dr. Schivel makes his first trip to the East Coast for conditioner Mark Glatt on the heels of an impressive 4 1/4-length allowance win on May 13 at Santa Anita that garnered a career-high 105 Beyer Speed Figure.
Clairiere, Secret Oath meet again in Ogden Phipps
Three-time Grade 1 winner Clairiere will face last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Secret Oath for the third time this season when seeking a repeat conquest of the Ogden Phipps (G1). The nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares is a Breeders’ Cup qualifier for the Distaff and has seen seven of its winners subsequently garner Breeders’ Cup honors.
Clairiere has proven a force the past three seasons, earning Grade 1 wins during each campaign and amassing field-best earnings of $2,831,392 with a record of 18: 7-5-3.
Clairiere is poised for another high-caliber season, which she kicked off with a runner-up effort to Secret Oath in the Azeri (G2) on March 11 at Oaklawn. She then turned the tables on Secret Oath in Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) on April 15, furiously mowing down the 2022 Kentucky Oaks winner in deep stretch to win by a neck.
Secret Oath has put together a record of 16-6-4-3 while banking $2,334,767 in earnings. She enters the Ogden Phipps off another neck defeat when second to returning rival Played Hard in the La Troienne (G1) on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
|Post||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start / Next Start||HRN|
Pass the Champagne
|1st, 2023 Ruffian G2||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 Ruffian G2|
Chad C. Brown
|3rd, 2023 La Troienne G1||Entered|
|Last Race||3rd, 2023 La Troienne G1|
|10th, 2022 Maryland Million Ladies RS||Entered|
|Last Race||10th, 2022 Maryland Million Ladies RS|
D. Wayne Lukas
|2nd, 2023 La Troienne G1||Entered|
|Last Race||2nd, 2023 La Troienne G1|
Philip A. Bauer
John R. Velazquez
|1st, 2023 La Troienne G1||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 La Troienne G1|
Steven M. Asmussen
|1st, 2023 Apple Blossom Handicap G1||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 Apple Blossom Handicap G1|
General Jim seeks 3rd straight graded win in Woody Stephens
General Jim will look to win his third straight graded stakes in the Woody Stephens (G1), a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the Into Mischief colt made the grade in February in the seven-furlong Swale (G3) at Gulfstream Park, posting a one-length score over next-out stakes winner Super Chow.
General Jim followed last out with a gutsy neck score over returning rival Fort Bragg in a frantic finish in the Pat Day Mile (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs.
Fort Bragg got the jump on General Jim in the Pat Day Mile, surging to the lead after three-quarters and spinning the field into the stretch run. But regular rider Luis Saez got to work aboard General Jim and made a six-wide move to collar Fort Bragg with a furlong to run and stayed on strong to secure the win in a final time of 1:34.43.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a two-time Woody Stephens winner, will saddle a pair of contenders in Fort Bragg Arabian Lion. Fort Bragg will add blinkers as he looks to turn the tables on General Jim. Arabian Lion earned a field-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure last out with a gate-to-wire four-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton on May 20 at Pimlico on the Preakness Day undercard.
Caravel takes on the boys once more in Jaipur
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel again will face males as part of an overflow field in the Jaipur (G1), a six-furlong Widener turf sprint for 3-year-olds and upward that offers a berth to the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
Trained by Brad Cox, the 6-year-old Mizzen Mast mare was 5-for-8 last year, including leading at every pole to best the boys at odds of 42-1 in the 5 1/2-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Caravel has returned in fine form this year with a pair of turf sprint wins in Kentucky, taking the Grade 2 Shakertown against males in April at Keeneland and the Unbridled Sidney on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs. She was re-routed to the Jaipur after initially being considered for the King’s Stand (G1) on June 20 at Ascot.
“I just thought this would make the most sense in trying to get her back to the Breeders’ Cup and it’s obviously going to be a step up,” Cox said. “She’s going to need to be at her best to take on the boys and get the job done, but she’s doing well and we’ll see how it goes.
Casa Creed has won the last two runnings of this event for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
The 7-year-old Jimmy Creed horse closed from deep to win the 2021 Jaipur at odds of 10-1 and showed similar dimensions last year when rallying to a half-length score over returning rival Arrest Me Red.
Up to the Mark, Red Knight mix it up in Manhattan
Recent Grade 1 winners Up to the Mark and Red Knight lead 10 contenders for the Manhattan (G1), a 10-furlong inner turf test for 4-year-olds and up.
Up to the Mark exits a breakout performance in the nine-furlong Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day, dismissing rivals by a widening 3 3/4 lengths and earning an eye-catching 103 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He gives us the impression that he’ll handle the stretch out in distance,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He relaxed very well last time going a mile and an eighth. He came with a good turn of foot. He’s got to go out there and prove it, but I love how he’s been doing since we got him on the grass.”
Red Knight enters off a 12th career victory in the 11-furlong Man o’ War (G1) on May 13, his first top-level tally. The 9-year-old son of Pure Prize was a handy victor, striding out by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire to land his second NYRA stakes, having also taken the 2019 Point of Entry. Since being transferred to Mike Maker prior to his 2022 season, the earner of $1,717,763 has won four of his seven starts, all in stakes company.
True North: Elite Power looks to extend win streak
Nearly one year to the day after beginning a superb six-race win streak with a fourth-out graduation for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, champion sprinter Elite Power will look to continue his strong form in the True North (G2), a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older horses.
This time last year, the chestnut was relatively unknown, making the fourth outing of his career in a seven-furlong maiden tilt at Churchill Downs. He made a strong impression in his first victory, defeating 10 rivals by nine lengths in a final time of 1:21.06. That maiden victory began a win streak that would lead to him being named the 2022 champion male sprinter and enjoying a successful overseas trip to capture the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3) last out on Feb. 25 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.
Elite Power will see a touch of added ground in the True North for his first start since his dominant victory in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint. There, he rallied from off the pace under Frankie Dettori and showed his usual devastating turn of foot in the stretch to take command 200 meters from the finish and draw off under a hand ride.
Mott had considered bringing Elite Power back off his four-month layoff in the Met Mile but opted to keep him sprinting after a long journey to Saudi Arabia and back. “He seems to be doing well, but I wasn't confident I had him ready to go a mile at this point in the Met Mile,” Mott said. “He's traveled and had a bit of a layoff and we're bringing him back. I feel better about the six and a half than I do the mile.”
Strobe has never finished worse than second in six lifetime outings for trainer Brad Cox. The 4-year-old Into Mischief bay enters from a closing runner-up finish in his stakes debut in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) on April 15 at Oaklawn, where he rallied from 3 1/2 lengths off the pace under regular pilot Florent Geroux to finish 2 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Skelly.
|Post||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start / Next Start||HRN|
|1st, 2023 Affirmed Success RS||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 Affirmed Success RS|
Javier J. Castellano
|1st, Bel AlwOC (5/18/23-R7)||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, Bel AlwOC (5/18/23-R7)|
Doug F. O'Neill
|1st, 2023 Jacques Cartier G3||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 Jacques Cartier G3|
William I. Mott
Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|1st, 2023 Riyadh Dirt Sprint G3||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 Riyadh Dirt Sprint G3|
Brad H. Cox
|2nd, 2023 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap G3||Entered|
|Last Race||2nd, 2023 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap G3|
Todd A. Pletcher
|7th, 2022 Greenwood Cup G3||Entered|
|Last Race||7th, 2022 Greenwood Cup G3|
Warrant brings winning form to Brooklyn
Warrant will look to double up on stakes scores in theBrooklyn (G2), a 12-furlong main track marathon for older horses.
Trained by Brad Cox, the 5-year-old Constitution chestnut finished second to Fearless in this event last year and already has a pair of wins this campaign, including a prominent neck score over returning rival Red Run last out in the 1 1/2-mile Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Warrant has breezed back twice, including a five-eighths effort in 1:00 flat on June 3 over the Churchill main track in company with graded-stakes winning stablemate Angel of Empire, who will contest the Belmont Stakes.
“He ran well in the Brooklyn last year. Hopefully, he steps up and can get the job done this year,” Cox said. “He’s coming off a big run at Churchill and he’s been working heads up with Angel of Empire the last few weeks and they’ve been great company for one another. He’s set up for a big effort.”
Chez Pierre tops talented field in Poker
Chez Pierre headlines a competitive field of seven in the Poker (G3) for 4-year-olds and up contesting one mile on the Belmont Park Widener turf course.
Chez Pierre made a big statement by drawing away to a 3 1/2-length win in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) last out on April 14 at Keeneland, earning a 106 Beyer that is unsurpassed by anyone in the Poker field.
Trained by Arnaud Delacour, he will bring a 3-for-3 record going one mile into the Poker.
“A mile, a mile and a sixteenth is probably right,” Delacour said. “He can run seven furlongs too – he’s got enough tactical speed to run a bit shorter if we want to. But at the moment, I think the mile is just perfect for him.
“The Belmont mile is a little different and it’s almost like an extended sprint,” he added. “He’s tactical enough to hopefully run well on that kind of track. I think at this stage, he can do both two turns or one turn.”