Edited NYRA Release — Hall of Fame Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out Wertheimer and Frere’s Happy Saver and Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Moretti to finish third and fourth, respectively, in Saturday’s Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Happy Saver, who bested Mystic Guide in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in October at Belmont, entered Saturday’s test undefeated in five starts.
Mystic Guide made a strong inside move into the turn but the four-wide Happy Saver failed to fire his best shot, closing to complete the trifecta as Max Player upset Mystic Guide by a neck.
“I thought Happy Saver ran well,” said Pletcher. “He was stuck wide the whole way around there from that post. It was a little bit of a tricky start but I thought he put in an honest effort. They both came back very well.”
Pletcher said he’ll take some time to consider options, although the nine-furlong $1 million Grade 1 Whitney Stakes on August 7 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. is a possibility.
“We’ll see how he bounces out of it and consider the Whitney and the Jockey Club and play it by ear,” said Pletcher.
The Whitney offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar in Del Mar, Calif.
A number of Pletcher stars were on the work tab Sunday at Belmont, including Spendthrift Farm’s Following Sea, a Runhappy colt, who is pointed to the nine-furlong $1 million Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 17 at Monmouth Park.
Following Sea breezed five-eighths in 1:00.80 over a dirt training track rated good.
“He breezed well and we’re still on target for the Haskell,” said Pletcher.
Pletcher said Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat, who worked a half-mile in :49.49 on the dirt training track, remains on target for the $500,000 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies on July 24 at Saratoga
“She looked great. Everything is going smoothly with her,” said Pletcher.
Shadwell Stable’s Mahaamel, who was slated to start in Monday’s $250,000 Grade 3 Dwyer, was clocked in :49.90 on the dirt training track.
“We were thinking about the Dwyer and unfortunately he got a bit of a cough and knocked us off a breeze last week. We’ll consider an allowance race for him,” said Pletcher.
Pletcher’s potential starters in Saturday’s Turf Triple series races breezed a half-mile Sunday on the dirt training track with Con Lima [:50.59] targeting the $700,000 Grade 1 Belmont Oaks and CHC and WinStar Farm’s Sainthood [:49.65] eyeing a turf debut in the $ 1 million Grade 1 Belmont Derby.
“They both breezed well and are on track for next weekend,” said Pletcher.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Joseph Graffeo, Del Toro, Eric Nikolaus, and Troy Johnson’s Con Lima is exiting a sharp win in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Wonder Again on June 3 on the Belmont turf, while Sainthood captured an off-the-turf edition of the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge on May 29.
“We were hoping to get that turf try in the Pennine Ridge but it ended up working out OK, so we’ll find out next week,” said Pletcher.