Gutierrez to Pilot Boxeur des Rues in Brooklyn
June 05, 2012 03:05pm
At 1 ½ miles, the Belmont Park main track is the largest dirt oval in North American racing. To jockeys accustomed to riding at mile tracks like those in California – or even the 1 1/8-mile courses at Gulfstream Park or Laurel Park – Belmont’s vast expanse can be disorienting.  


Trainer Doug O’Neill knows his jockey, Mario Gutierrez, will face this challenge when he attempts to ride I’ll Have Another into the history books Saturday with a victory in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, which would complete the first Triple Crown since 1978. With his mind set on getting Gutierrez a full, live-action tour of the course, O’Neill has Gutierrez aboard 4-year-old colt Boxeur des Rues in the 124th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap on Friday.


The Brooklyn, to be run as the last of 10 races, is the first half of The New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) Brooklyn-Belmont double, covering the two 1 ½-mile stakes.


The Brooklyn, won in the past by greats such as Discovery, Whirlaway, Kelso and Forego, is run at the Belmont distance. O’Neill hopes the ride aboard Boxeur des Rues and three other mounts on the Friday card, along with one Main Track Only, will have Gutierrez primed for his big assignment the following day.


“We brought this horse with that intent,” O’Neill said of Boxeur des Rues, who, like I’ll Have Another, is owned by J. Paul Reddam. “Three or four days ago, he didn’t train as well as I’d like and we went on a mad dash to have Paul invest in a horse for [the Brooklyn]. That didn’t work out too well.”


Boxeur des Rues, 10th in each of his past two starts – the Grade 1 Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day and the Grade 2 Dixie on Preakness Day – turned out to have a minor bruise inside his right front foot. O’Neill said the son of Smart Strike now is “looking fantastic.”


“This is a really good opportunity for Mario, and I think the horse has a chance to compete and do well,” O’Neill said of Boxeur des Rues, who is 12-1 on the morning line.


Tying the legendary Forego for most appearances in the Brooklyn will be Eldaafer, who will compete in his fourth straight edition of the race to join the Hall of Fame gelding, who won it from 1974-76 and finished second in 1977.


Eldaafer won the 2009 Brooklyn and then finished third in 2010 and fourth last year. Proving he is more than a one-trick pony, Eldaafer won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon as well.


Owners Jim Atwell and Kevin Jacobsen purchased Eldaafer privately last August and after a sixth-place finish in the Marathon at Churchill Downs, took him out of the barn of trainer Diane Alvarado and raced him on the West Coast, where they are based.


After little success, they returned Eldaafer to Alvarado, and he has appeared to return to form in her care. In his most recent work, Sunday at Monmouth Park, he breezed four furlongs in :47 1/5 seconds, best of 111 efforts on the work tab.


“He was on cruise control,” said Alvarado, who is thrilled to have her best horse back in the barn. “I got him in Florida and just backed off him and let him walk. He was tired. We gave him some time. In the past two weeks, I’ve been really happy and he’s moving forward at the right time.


“I’m very happy to have him back,” she said. “I wished them best of luck out there, but it was tough to have your best horse walk out of the barn. I’m happy to have him peaking at the right time. He’s really training on this track; Sunday, he worked lights out.”


Eldaafer, 12-1 on the morning line, leaves from post position 4 with Paco Lopez aboard.


Birdrun, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, returns to the Brooklyn after winning the race last year by 3 ¾ lengths in a gate-to-wire score. The 6-year-old son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, has not won since, although he did finish second last November in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon.


Arthur’s Tale, who has tantalized trainer Tom Albertrani with good – but not winning – efforts since missing by a neck when second in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Stakes last year, also will run as part of an entry with Balladry.


“He’s always been a pretty interesting horse since the time he got beat in the Wood,” Albertrani said. “He ran well in his last race [the Vanlandingham, May 17 at Belmont]; he was finishing strong. Stretching out, it will be interesting to see if he can handle a mile and a half. He has been an on-and-off horse. He had body soreness at times. After the Wood he had a shin issue, but this is his third time running in a row without a layoff.”


Favored on the morning line at 5-2 is highweight Redeemed, a recent 9 ¾-length winner in the Milesius overnight stakes May 3 at Belmont. The son of Include was third in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap this year at Gulfstream; won the Grade 3 Discovery last year at Aqueduct and also took the Oklahoma Derby, defeating Alternation, now one of the top older horses in the country. He will carry 121 pounds, including Ramon Dominguez, from post position 11.


Hailstone, Not Abroad, Eye On Jacob, Golden Gulch, Praetereo, Balladry and Kentucky Reign complete the field.


The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn:

Prog. No     PP






1                    8

Arthurs Tale

J Castellano


T Albertrani


1a                  9


R Napravnik


E Harty


2                    1


J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher


3                    2

Not Abroad

R Maragh


W I Mott


4                    3

Eye On Jacob

P Lopez


D Alvarado


5                    4


J Lezcano


E Kenneally


6                    5


E S Prado


C J Domino


7                    6

Golden Gulch

J Castellano


T Albertrani


8                    7


R Napravnik


E G Harty


9                   10

Boxeur des Rues  

M Gutierrez


D F O'Neill


10                 11


R  Dominguez


R E Dutrow, Jr.


11                 12

Kentucky Reign

J Rosario


R E Dutrow, Jr.






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Older Comments about Gutierrez to Pilot Boxeur des Rues in Brooklyn...

I watched Mario win at 2 and 1/16th miles....He has benn thre before
and Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall...
"we went on a mad dash to have Paul invest in a horse for [the Brooklyn]" ---they were going to buy a horse for Mario to practice on?
Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall, don't fall...
Good Move.. Just hope he doesnt leave his A race on Boxeur

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