Friday, June 11, 2010


BELMONT PARK NOTES: Friday, June 11, 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – Last summer at Saratoga Race Course, Godolphin Racing won four Grade 1 races, including the Test with Flashing, the Ballerina with Music Note, the Go for Wand with Seventh Street and the Forego with Pyro.

The fillies have since been retired, but the stable is gearing up for another busy summer with multiple Grade 1 winner Vineyard Haven, Grade 1 Top Flight winner Sara Louise, and Grade 2 Louisiana Super Derby winner Regal Ransom, among others.


Of the stable’s 16 horses, Regal Ransom, last seen finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, is closest to making a return.

“He’s had two five-eighths works, and will probably go a third five-eighths, and gallop out three-quarters, in the next couple of days,” reported Godolphin assistant Rick Mettee Friday morning. “It’s looking like he’s going to land in the Suburban [Grade 2, July 3]. It’s a tough comeback race going nine furlongs, but it will likely be a small field, plus he’s run well fresh before.”

Vineyard Haven, who closed out his 2009 campaign by finishing third in the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile, most recently breezed a half-mile in 48.70 on June 3.

“He’s gone a couple of half-miles, and sometime over the next few days he’ll step up to five-eighths,” said Mettee. “We have nothing specifically picked out for him, so we’re probably looking at Saratoga. If we look at the Forego [Grade 1, September 4], we’d look to get a run into him sometime early in the meet.”

Sara Louise, who won the Grade 3 Victory Ride at the Spa last year, will likely return in the Honorable Miss on August 8, said Mettee.

* * *

Trainer Allen Jerkens was delighted to report that, for the first time in his Hall of Fame career, he correctly selected the winner of the Belmont Stakes.

“Drosselmeyer just looked like a steady runner to me,” said Jerkens. “Which is what he did – he kept on galloping.”

Jerkens, whose stable has contracted to 13 horses, nonetheless has been enjoying success with his small outfit at the Belmont Park spring/summer meet. Thursday, Jerkens sent out his sixth winner when Mad for Smarty, a 3-year-old son of Smarty Jones, broke his maiden in the third race.

Jerkens started the meet off by saddling Le Grand Cru to win the Grade 3 Westchester; his other winners include Worthy Wager, who won a maiden claimer on May 9; Verse Choir, who won on May 13; Targhee Pass, another maiden winner, on May 26, and Close Range, who won on May 29.

Heading into Friday’s card, Jerkens was 6-2-2 from 15 starters.

“That’s how it works out,” he said. “Sometimes you have 50 horses, and you can’t win two races.”

Jerkens is hoping for good things from Mad for Smarty, a half-brother to 2004 Dwyer and Withers winner Medallist, and Formidable, most recently fourth in the True North.

“We’ll wait and see how he comes out of Thursday’s race before we decide on what’s next,” said Jerkens. “It would be nice if he came along and became a good one.”

* * *

Waratah Thoroughbreds’ Miss World, winner of last fall’s Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont Park worked an easy three furlongs in 38.10 over the main track Friday morning. It was the Bernstein filly’s first timed work since a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Beaugay over the Belmont turf course on May 1, her first start of the year.

“She’s doing well, and I need to find a race for her,” said trainer Christophe Clement.

Clement also reported that Winchester and Gio Ponti, the 1-2 finishers in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard, were both in fine shape the week following the race.

“They both came back in good order,” said Clement. “Gio Ponti will point toward the Man o’War on July 10 [Grade 1, 1 3/8 miles] and I’m not sure yet about Winchester. I will speak to the owner, Mr. Firestone, and then we’ll make a decision.”

Castleton Lyons’ reigning turf champion and older male Gio Ponti is still looking for his first win of 2010, having finished second in the Tampa Bay Stakes and fourth in the $10 million Dubai World Cup earlier in the year. The 5-year-old son of Tale of the Cat won last year’s Man o’War, one of four consecutive Grade 1 victories in 2009.


Comments (0)

BallHype: hype it up!

Read more articles in the Belmont Stakes category.