With three runners on tap for next Saturday's Belmont Stakes Day, trainer Christophe Clement spoke Sunday morning on his June 6 contingent, which is led by last year's Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist.
Heading into the Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap, in which he will tote co-highweight of 123 lbs., Tonalist is undefeated in four starts at Belmont at distances varying from one mile to 1 ½ miles, but will make his first start in a handicap race in the Met Mile. Tonalist will share the high-weight designation with multiple Grade 1 winner Private Zone and last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern.
"I put more emphass on weight than most people around me, but that's me," said Clement. "In the meantime, I'm aware it is a handicap, so that's the way it is. He's [Tonalist] doing well and we've had no problems."
The 5-year-old Discreet Marq, who trained on the Belmont main track yesterday morning completing five furlongs in 1:03.65 in preparation for the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just A Game, will attempt to win her second consecutive race should the weather cooperate.
"She [Discreet Marq] won't like it too soft, so we'll have to keep an eye on the weather, but it's exciting. She worked yesterday on the dirt, just a normal maintenance work," stated Clement.
Summation Time, a 4-year-old son of In Summation who has won back-to-back races after breaking his maiden at Belmont in 2014, will be facing stakes competition for the first time heading into the Grade 3 Jaipur.
"Summation Time is doing very well. It's a bit of an ambitious spot, but he's in good order so far," said Clement.
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will put off facing older horses for now, running instead against his
peers in the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens presented by I Love NY on
June 6 at Belmont Park, according to Todd Pletcher.
Competitive Edge, owned in partnership by Nancy Favreau, Kathy Psoinos and Michael Tabor, was possible to take on older rivals for the first time in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap but, in light of rider availability and weight assignments, Pletcher said the son of Super Saver will enter the seven-furlong Woody Stephens for 3-year-olds.
As the lone sophomore in consideration for the Met Mile, Competitive Edge was assigned the field's low weight at 111 pounds.
"With a low weight like that you also have to have a jockey that you're confident in and can do the weight," Pletcher said. "And with Johnny [Velazquez] committed to Tonalist, we felt like we'd just face 3-year-olds for now."
Competitive Edge has been unbeaten in his four career starts, all of which have been at a distance of a mile or less, including a 5 ¾-length victory in the Grade 1, seven-furlong Hopeful last summer at Saratoga and, most recently, a 4 ½-length score in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
"His record kind of speaks for itself," said Pletcher. "He's been consistently good in all his starts. He's trained very well."
Competitive Edge will likely be joined in the Woody Stephens by stablemate Two Weeks Off for Starlight Racing, according to Pletcher.
Weeks Off, who is also nominated to the 1 1/16-mile Easy Goer, has won
twice at the Woody Stephens distance, including an impressive 6 ½-length
victory in an April 4 allowance race at Keeneland. The Harlan's Holiday
colt made his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Peter Pan, in
which he finished third, 2 ½ lengths behind fellow Pletcher trainee -
and Belmont Stakes contender - Madefromlucky.
"Two Weeks Off had an impressive win on the Beard course [at Keeneland], which is basically seven furlongs," said Pletcher. "In the Peter Pan, it seemed like he might've been a little too fresh going a mile and an eighth, he kind of pulled a little bit in the first part. He still ran well for his first try in a stakes but we figured backing him up to seven eighths made sense."
Pletcher said that Velazquez will have the mount on Competitive Edge, while Javier Castellano is slated to ride Two Weeks Off.