The first stakes for two-year-old colts in New York, the 116th edition of the $100,000 Tremont, which will be run as the fourth race, is included on the resumes of such equine stars as Gulch, Alydar, Buckpasser and Hail to Reason. Past winners of the $100,000 Astoria, which will be run for the 102nd time, include Meadow Star, Twilight Ridge, Dearly Precious, and First Flight.
One with the proper credentials is the Todd Pletcher-trained Mr Mistoffelees, a $1.5 million son of Storm Cat out of the Saint Ballado mare Country Romance.
A dark bay colt with a big white blaze, Mr Mistoffelees made a most impressive debut at Keeneland on April 24, rolling to a 9 ¼ length victory under John Velazquez. Named for a character in the musical Cats, he is owned by Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier and was purchased at Calder in February after going an eighth in :10 1/5 seconds.
Among those challenging him in the Tremont will be a pair of colts with a slightly longer curriculum vitae, as both Essenceofthemoon and Houseful, trained by Timothy Salzman, will be making their fourth career starts in the race. In addition to his maiden victory at Laurel on April 12, Essenceofthemoon won an allowance at Delaware Park on April 15 after having finished fifth on the Grade 3 Kentucky at Churchill Downs. Houseful’s lone victory came at two furlongs on May 18.
Regardlessofoutcome, a 7 ¾ length winner at Churchill on May 21, and Dagnabit, a New York-bred trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., round out the field for the Tremont.
Michael Dubb is hoping the 5 ½-furlong Astoria will be a building block for Girlfrienontheside, whom he co-owns with Park Avenue Racing. The gray daughter of Indian Charlie, out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Refrain, ran off to an easy 4 ½-length score at Delaware Park in her first start on June 3.
“The first thing is, I did not name her – I’m a happily married man,” said Dubb, laughing. “We bought her for $50,000 and Tony (Dutrow) really liked her from the start. She ran a pretty good Ragozin (speed figure) in her race and I’d like to think she is the kind of filly who will have a good career. Tony is the master at long-term development.”
Pletcher is looking to sweep both races for the second year, having entered Tabor and Mrs. Magnier’s Pride, a $475,000 daughter of Lion Heart, in the Astoria. The trainer won his third Astoria last year with Glacken’s Gal, and took the Tremont for the third time with Ready’s Image on the same day.
The field for Sunday’s $100,000-added Tremont:
PP Horse Wgt. Jockey Trainer
1 Mr Mistoffelees 119 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher
2 Regardlesofoutcome 119 Elvis Trujillo Wesley Ward
3 Essenceofthemoon 119 Eric Camacho Timothy Salzman
4 Houseful 119 Michael Luzzi Timothy Salzman
5 Dagnabit 119 Cornelio Velasquez Richard Dutrow Jr.
Dagnabit was supplemented to this race.
The field for Sunday’s $100,000-added Astoria:
PP Horse Wgt. Jockey Trainer
1 Lori Z's Punch 118 Travis L. Dunkelberger Ben Feliciano Jr.
2 Pride 118 John R. Velazquez Todd Pletcher
3 Winning Brew 118 Joanne McDaid Francis Vitale
4 Ride On Josephine 114 Kent J. Desormeaux Dale Romans
5 Golden Artemis 118 Alan Garcia Kiaran McLaughlin
6 Bold Union 118 Stewart Elliott Kelly Breen
7 Girlfrienontheside 118 Cornelio H. Velasquez Anthony Dutrow