Belmont Park’s biggest day of the year comes Saturday, when it will host
five graded-stakes races on the undercard of the $1 million, Belmont Stakes,
with an additional $1.1 million up for grabs.
Here’s a look at the prospective fields provided by the New York Racing Association
before entries are taken on Wednesday.
Acorn Stakes (G1)
Water White, last seen scoring in the Busher
Invitational Stakes at Aqueduct in March, could add to her Kentucky Oaks points total in this one-mile race worth $300,000. The daughter of Conveyance has 54 points on
the Oaks leaderboard, and the Acorn provides points on a 50-20-10-5 basis.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, her previous trip was a second-place finish in the
Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct in February.
Undefeated Gamine will ship east from trainer Bob Baffert's base at Santa Anita Park for her stakes foray. The talented daughter of Into Mischief won on debut at Santa Anita on March 7 and came right back to win an allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn Park on May 2.
Also set to make her stakes bow is highly regarded Casual for trainer Steve Asmussen. The Curlin filly is also 2-for-2, having won on debut at Oaklawn April 11 followed by an allowance/optional claiming win at Churchill Downs on May 22.
Another probable is Venetian Harbor, No. 10 on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 60 points. The last out
for this daughter of Munnings was a 2 1/2-length loss to Swiss Skydiver in the
Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn on May 1. Trained by Richard Baltas, she won the
Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita in February after breaking her maiden
Lucrezia was last seen losing by a nose to Swiss Skydiver in the
Gulfstream Park Oaks in March. The daughter of Into Mischief, trained by Edward
Seltzer, also scored in the Suncoast Stakes and the Sandpiper Stakes. She’s
11th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 50 points.
Also, Perfect Alibi will be making her 3-year-old debut. She comes in with six points towards the Kentucky Oaks following a second-place
finish in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in October and a fourth-place
effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November to close out her 2-year-old campaign. The daughter
of Sky Mesa is trained by Mark Casse.
Woody Stephens (G1)
Mischevious Alex looks to make it four in a row in this $250,000,
seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds. It’s a move up in class and a cutback in
distance for the son of Into Mischief:
His last out was a two-length win in the one-mile Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct in March, which
followed a score in the Swale Stakes (G3) at this same seven-furlong trip at Gulfstream in February. Trainer John Servis
had intended to run Mischevious Alex in the April 11 Oaklawn Stakes, but the
complications of shipping amid the coronavirus outbreak forced him to train the colt up to this race.
Echo Town is taking on graded-stakes company for the first time. The son of
Speightstown, trained by Steve Asmussen, scored in an allowance optional
claiming race at Churchill Downs last out on May 25. He broke his maiden on his
first try and has finished in the money in all four starts since then.
No Parole will be aiming for better results in his second graded-stakes start. The
son of Violence, trained by Tom Amoss, has only one loss in five starts, and
that was an eighth-place finish in the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn in March. His
last start was a six-furlong allowance optional claiming victory at Churchill
Downs on April 24.
Pennine Ridge (G2)
Decorated Invader will look for his fourth win in six starts in this Grade
2, one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. The son of Declaration of War won his only start this year,
the Cutler Bay Stakes at Gulfstream in March. He earned a Grade 1 victory in
the Summer Stakes at Woodbine last September before finishing fourth in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita Park to close out his juvenile campaign.
Trainer Graham Motion must have liked what he saw with Maryland Mo when breaking his maiden going 1 1/16-mile at Laurel Park on June 1. He’s listed as possible for this race.
Jaipur Stakes (G1)
This $250,000 six-furlong turf sprint for older horses is a “Win & You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The probables list stands
In with a big shot is trainer Christophe Clement, who has three probable
starters: Pure Sensation, Shekky Shebaz and White Flag. The 7-year-old Tiger Blood, trained by Steve
Klesaris, enters with consecutive wins in an allowance optional claiming race
and a starter optional claiming race, both this spring at Gulfstream.
Oleksandra, who won the Franklin County (G3) at Keeneland last year, is expected to ship east for trainer Neil Drysdale following a solid second-place effort in the Monrovia (G3) at Santa Anita after a more than seven-month layoff.
Wonder Again (G3)
the probables for this $150,000, one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies is Sweet Melania, a daughter of American Pharoah trained by Todd Pletcher, who will be making her first start since running third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Prior to that, she won the Jessamine Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
Graded-stakes winner Selflessly will also be making her first start since the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. The daughter of More than Ready trained
by Chad Brown won the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) at Belmont last fall and
then came to be fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Highland Glory is a promising filly for trainer Barclay Tagg who won the Sanibel Island at Gulfstream in March and came back to be second in the May 2 Honey Ryder at Gulfstream.