Race of the Week 2017

Brilliant Speed After Second Grade 1 Score in Jamaica

Brilliant Speed (no. 5), ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Thomas Albertrani, wins the 87th running of the grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes for three year olds on April 16, 2011 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)
Back on the turf and in fine form, Brilliant Speed heads a competitive field of eight in Saturday's 62nd running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park as he tries to become the first 3-year-old male to win two Grade 1 races in 2011.

A replay of the Jamaica will be shown as part of the live MSG Plus broadcast of the Grade 1 Frizette and Grade 1 Champagne from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. EDT.

After making the first five starts of his career on turf and never finishing out of the trifecta, Brilliant Speed won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes over the Polytrack at Keeneland on April 11, a victory which propelled him on to the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished seventh. After bypassing the Preakness, he turned in his strongest Classic appearance in the Belmont Stakes, finishing a game third over a sloppy track behind Ruler On Ice and Stay Thirsty, winner of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and the Grade 1 Travers.

Brilliant Speed next was fifth in the Jim Dandy, which prompted trainer Tom Albertrani to put him back on the grass in the Grade 3 Saranac on September 4 at Saratoga Race Course. The son of Dynaformer rewarded that confidence with a 2 ½-length victory over nine other sophomores.

"I was disappointed that he didn't run better in the Jim Dandy, but it's kind of like we got away with running him on the dirt a couple of times," said Albertrani, who trains the colt for Live Oak Plantation. "Just from past experience, sometimes you'll get a typical grass horse, as he is, and you might get a good race on the dirt. I was disappointed in the Jim Dandy, but I was happy to see him come back in the Saranac. He got the right surface and he finished the way I was hoping to see. I was really pleased with that race and he's been training very well since."

John Velazquez has the return call aboard the 9-5 morning-line favorite and 121-pound highweight from post position 6 in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Another son of Dynaformer, Casino Host, seeks his first Grade 1 victory on Saturday. The Gary and Mary West color bearer exits a fifth-place finish over yielding turf in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park on August 13, a race which followed his game third-place effort over firm ground in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby behind multiple graded stakes winners Air Support and Banned. Casino Host's two most recent starts came at 1 ¼ miles, and in the Jamaica he will return to the 1 1/8-mile distance at which he broke his maiden.

"I'm going to keep an eye on the ground, he definitely prefers firmer ground, like he got in Virginia," said trainer Chad Brown. "If he gets that kind of ground, I'll be very, very pleased. The horse couldn't be doing any better and I think [the distance] is perfect. He can run further, but I think 1 1/8 miles is right in his wheelhouse."

Second choice on the morning line at 2-1, Casino Host will be ridden by Alex Solis from the rail.

Seeking to regroup after a disappointing seventh-place showing in the Saranac is Stuart Janney III's Seal Cove.

"His last race was a disappointment," said Buzz Tenney, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. "His race before that was very good, and all his races until that that last one have been good. He had a pretty eventful trip [in the Saranac], you might say, and it just didn't work out for him. I think there will be a little bit of cut in the ground here and I think he'll like that. He's been doing just fine since that race."

Prior to a wide trip in the Saranac, Seal Cove won Saratoga's Gleaming overnight stakes on August 8 and recovered from a stumbling start to get up by a head in a first level allowance at Belmont on June 1. He broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in March and was beaten just a half-length when fourth in an off-the-turf allowance over Keeneland's Polytrack on April 22.

Tabbed at 12-1 on the morning line, Seal Cove will leave from post position 4 carrying 117 pounds, including Javier Castellano.

Also back from the Saranac is Sky Blazer, a good-finishing fourth after rearing up and striking the gate at the break.

Naipaul Chatterpaul will attempt to pick up a graded stakes win with Top Surprize, whom he claimed for $50,000 off a third-place effort for trainer Rick Dutrow on September 10 and then saddled to victory in the Summing overnight stakes at Belmont six days later.

"I kind of liked his running style," said Chatterpaul, who owns and trains the late-running Pure Prize ridgling. "He seemed like a nice horse. He was doing well, so I thought I'd give it a shot. It's all about giving it a shot."

Bred in Kentucky by Palides Investments, Top Surprize began his career at Gulfstream with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, then was claimed by trainer Larry Rivelli and taken to Arlington Park, where he put together a four-race winning streak. Sent to Saratoga this summer, he finished third in a $50,000 claimer on August 3 and was haltered by Dutrow just prior to be claimed by Chatterpaul.

"In eight starts [prior to the claim], he had four wins, a second and a third," said Chatterpaul. "I take my time picking horses to claim."

Rajiv Maragh will ride Top Surprize, 5-1, from post position 8.

Other Jamaica runners exiting the Summing are Wilkinson (third) and Rustler Hustler (sixth). Western Aristocrat, stakes placed in the United Kingdom and making his first start in this country, completes the field.

The field for the Grade 1, $250,000 Jamaica Handicap








Casino Host (KY)

A O Solis


C C Brown



Rustler Hustler (PA)

J Lezcano


W I Mott



Wilkinson (KY)

A Garcia


N J Howard



Seal Cove (KY)

J Castellano


C R McGaughey III



Western Aristocrat (KY)

C S Nakatani


J Noseda



Brilliant Speed (FL)

J R Velazquez


T Albertrani



Top Surprize (KY)

R Maragh


N Chatterpaul



Sky Blazer (KY)

C H Velasquez


B Tagg




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