XBGlobal.com – Field of 13 to Square Off in Caesars Belmont Derby live on XBGlobal.com
Thanks to a strong contingent of five runners from overseas, NYRA was able to avoid a meet-long problem of filling grade 1 stakes as a bulky field of 13 3-year-olds turned out for the $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) July 9 at Belmont Park.
Owned by American Peter Brant, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Westerberg, he was sixth at 7-2 odds in the Cazoo Derby In Memory of Lester Piggott (G1) after winning the 1 1/4-mile Derby Trial (G3) in his previous start.
A winner of two of his last three starts, the son of Galileo will break from post 13 with jockey Ryan Moore.
Another formidable shipper in the 1 1/4-mile turf stakes that begins the Caesars Turf Triple is the Godolphin homebred Nations Pride , who is coming off a disappointing effort in the June 4 Cazoo Derby. After reeling four straight wins—the last three at 1 1/4 miles—he was eighth behind the undefeated Desert Crown in the 1 1/2-mile Cazoo Derby.
“He just didn’t stay in the English (Cazoo) Derby. It’s as simple as that and the ground would have been a question,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “The quicker the ground, the better for him and he’s proven that already at Meydan’s quick, sound surface. More importantly, coming back to the 10 furlongs will suit. He stays that well and on a sound surface, especially. He’s coming over there in good order and I think he’ll be a live player.”
The son of Teofilo will have the services of famed European jockey Frankie Dettori while bidding for an initial graded stakes win.
A contentious American contingent includes the top two finishers in the local prep for Saturday’s race, the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G2T).
WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Emmanuel grabbed the early lead in the 1 1/8-mile Pennine Ridge and never looked back for trainer Todd Pletcher. After coasting through six furlongs in a casual 1:15.91, he finished a length ahead of the late-running Napoleonic War .
The Pennine Ridge was the first start on turf for the son of More Than Ready , who was grade 1-placed on dirt through a third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1).
“The nice thing about him is his versatility,” said Elliott Walden, CEO, president, and racing manager for WinStar Farm.
The Belmont Derby will be the first trip beyond 1 1/8 miles for Emmanuel, but Pletcher believes that should not pose a major problem for the colt bred by Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust and bought for $350,000 from the Gainesway consignment at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2020.
“I think the mile and a quarter should be within his scope,” Pletcher said.
The distance could be beneficial for Brant’s Napoleonic War, who rallied from fourth to finish second behind Emmanuel.
“While it looks like a mile-and-a-quarter is what he wants to run, it’s a very tough race,” Brown said about the 3-year-old son of War Front .
The Belmont Derby will also serve as a return to turf for Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb , who was a grade 2 winner and grade 1-placed on turf at two. Last seen finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), the Hit It a Bomb colt has raced four times in 2022, splitting dirt and synthetic starts.
In his last turf race, he was second in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T), though he was the pari-mutuel winner after the victorious Modern Games ran for purse money only. Prior to that, he won the Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes (G2T).
“He’s doing really well. He’s been training here in Kentucky on the grass all spring since the Derby and we’re excited to get him back on turf,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “I think the further the better with him. He’s all class. I think he’ll have a big shot in the race.”
McPeek will also send out Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Classic Causeway , who will be making his turf debut after losing tries on dirt in his last three starts, which came on the heels of two straight graded stakes wins. A winner of 3 of 8 career starts who was third last time out in the Ohio Derby (G3), Classic Causeway is a son of the multiple-group 1 winner on turf and $3 million winner Giant’s Causeway.
Also among the field of 13 are Three Diamonds Farm and Deuce Greathouse’s Stolen Base , a son of Bodemeister who won the American Turf Stakes Presented by BMW (G2T), and Head of Plains Partners’ Sy Dog, a homebred New York-bred Slumber colt who was third as the 2-1 favorite in the American Turf while suffering his first loss in four career starts for trainer Graham Motion, Limited Liability , who was third in the Pennine Ridge, and grade 3 winner Grand Sonata .
Belmont Park, Saturday, July 09, 2022, Race 9
|1||Implementation (KY)||John R. Velazquez||122||Pia Brandt||–|
|2||Stolen Base (KY)||Luis Saez||122||Michael J. Maker||–|
|3||Napoleonic War (KY)||Flavien Prat||122||Chad C. Brown||–|
|4||Classic Causeway (KY)||Julien R. Leparoux||122||Kenneth G. McPeek||–|
|5||Grand Sonata (KY)||Tyler Gaffalione||122||Todd A. Pletcher||–|
|6||Machete (FR)||Stephane Pasquier||122||Fabrice Chappet||–|
|7||Sy Dog (KY)||Manuel Franco||122||H. Graham Motion||–|
|8||Royal Patronage (FR)||Joel Rosario||122||Charles Johnston||–|
|9||Tiz the Bomb (KY)||Dylan Davis||122||Kenneth G. McPeek||–|
|10||Nations Pride (IRE)||Lanfranco Dettori||122||Charles Appleby||–|
|11||Emmanuel (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||122||Todd A. Pletcher||–|
|12||Limited Liability (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||122||Claude R. McGaughey III||–|
|13||Stone Age (IRE)||Ryan L. Moore||122||Aidan P. O’Brien||–|