Bolo, Divisidero Headline Belmont Derby
July 01, 2015 01:38pm

Now in its second year, the Stars & Stripes Festival will once again feature the Grade 1, $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park. Slated as race 8 on the 11-race holiday card, the 1 ¼-mile turf route has drawn a competitive field of nine 3-year-old colts, led by Kentucky Derby contestant Bolo, making his turf stakes return, and Grade 2 American Turf hero Divisidero.

Owned by Golden Pegasus Racing and trained by Carla Gaines, Bolo kicked off his career last November on the Del Mar Race Course grass, coming from well off the pace to finish fifth in his debut before graduating by 2 ¾ lengths in his second attempt. The Temple City colt closed out the year with an impressive 4 ½-length, hand-ridden score in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

The head-turning effort in the Eddie Logan encouraged his connections to venture onto the Kentucky Derby trail. Bolo turned in a pair of third-place finishes in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, earning enough points to secure a berth in the Kentucky Derby.

After finishing 12th in the first jewel of the Triple Crown, Bolo made good work in his grassy homecoming on May 29 at Santa Anita, leading an allowance field to an easy 2 ¾-length victory.

"[The Belmont Derby] was on our radar after the [Kentucky] Derby," said Gaines. "We just decided to give the Derby trail a try, obviously, because he had enough points to get in, but in the back of our heads we thought that eventually we'd go back to grass. He's doing very, very well. He had a nice workout the other day and everything looks really, really good."

Bolo will break from post 2 and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

Gunpowder Farm's Divisidero will also look to be a major player on Saturday for the Buff Bradley barn. The turf specialist has been consistent in his four career starts, posting three wins and one third-place finish, highlighted by a charging, three-quarter-length victory in the American Turf on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs.

Divisidero followed up that effort with a win in the Pennine Ridge on May 30, the local prep race for the Belmont Derby. The son of Kitten's Joy will leave from post 3 under regular rider Rafael Hernandez.

The Derby will also offer the respective second- and third-place finishers in the Pennine Ridge a chance to turn the tables on Divisidero in the Klaravich Stables duo of Takeover Target and Startup Nation, both trained by Chad Brown.

"They breezed together [on Saturday] like they have been all along and it was more of the same from them," Brown reported. "It was a steady, easy work. We didn't want to do too much with them and they went perfect. I believe both of those horses should have no problem with a mile and a quarter."

Takeover Target is slated to break from the rail with current leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr., while Startup Nation will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from post 8.

This year's edition of the Belmont Derby has attracted two international competitors in Canndal and Postulation.

The Aga Khan's Canndal has hit the board in each of his last three starts in his native France, highlighted by a 1 ¾-length victory in the Prix de Champerret, followed by a third-place effort in the Group 2 Prix Hocquart at Lonchamp.

The Medicean colt will be ridden by international jockey Christophe Soumillon for trainer Mikel Delzangles from post position 4.

Juddmonte Farm's Kentucky-bred Postulation will be making his stateside debut for trainer Dermont Weld. Up to this point, the son of Harlan's Holiday has campaigned exclusively in Ireland, most recently notching a win in the Tri Equestrian Silver Stakes at Curragh. Postulation is set to leave from post 7 under champion Irish jockey Pat Smullen.

Rounding out the field for the Belmont Derby are Force the Pass, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario for trainer Alan Goldberg from post 5; Closing Bell, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Lezcano from post 6; and Granny's Kitten, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Julien Leparoux, from the outside post 9.

Source: NYRA Communications


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