First Look: Carter field, Code of Honor in Belmont spotlight

First Look: Carter field, Code of Honor in Belmont spotlight
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Belmont Park has four graded stakes races on the tap Saturday, highlighted by the Carter Handicap (G1), newly a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, while the undercard includes the 2020 debut of Code of Honor.

Here's a look at the prospective fields provided by the New York Racing Association before entries are taken Wednesday.

Carter Handicap (G1)

On Sunday, we learned this seven-furlong sprint is the probable next stop for Vekoma, who scored in his 4-year-old debut, Gulfstream Park's Sir Shackleton Stakes in March. The George Weaver trainee won his first start since the 2019 Kentucky Derby when cutting back to one turn, where he'll stay Saturday in this seven-furlong event.

Other notables in the prospective field include Mind Control, winner of three straight graded stakes, with the last being the Tom Fool (G3) in March, as well as Firenze Fire, switched to trainer Kelly Breen from Jason Servis while also on a winning streak.

Trainer Shug McGaughey has long aimed emerging star Performer for the Carter, which traditionally runs at Aqueduct in April. With that meet called off due to coronavirus concerns, NYRA has brought it back as an early June feature.

Westchester (G3)

Code of Honor was last seen finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Before that, however, he scored back-to-back Grade 1 wins in the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), the latter via disqualification of eventual Classic hero Vino Rosso.

A finalist for champion 3-year-old honors, the son of Noble Mission returns to the races Saturday as an older horse for trainer Shug McGaughey, and comes in a relatively soft spot.

Nicodemus, last year's Westchester winner, hasn't won in four tries since. Mihos is worth a look on his return to stakes, while Joevia, third in the Belmont Stakes a year ago, is back from throat surgery that could see him improve.

Fort Marcy (G2)

This 1 1/8-mile turf race for older horses features Social Paranoia, March's Appleton Stakes (G3) winner who has finished in the money in all but one of his 13 starts. In the lone exception, he was fourth.

Factor This has won two straight graded stakes, including the Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) in March, while Chad Brown has four under consideration, including Instilled Regard, who won the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) in December and ran third in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) in January.

Intercontinental (G3)

This turf sprint for older fillies and mares will mark the first start of the season for Newspaperofrecord, winner of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Trained by Chad Brown, she finished ninth in her last start, the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in July, and takes a cut back in distance here.

Significant Form, who won this race last year, is a stablemate who will also serve as Newspaperofrecord's chief rival. Another from the Brown barn, Regal Glory won three straight last year, including the Lake George Stakes (G3) and the Lake Placid Stakes (G2).

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