Belmont Park Notes - July 05, 2013
By NYRA Press Office | 07/05/2013 01:08 PM ET
Boisterous seeking first Grade 1 win in Man o’ War; Data Link “fine” after fourth-place finish in Poker; Orb on target for Travers
Clement considering Man o’ War for Speaking of Which
Bombaguia to get a second chance in Man o’ War
Field coming together for G1, $600,000 Man o’War
While the sidelined Point of Entry will not get to defend his title in next Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey is hopeful Boisterous will be a capable pinch-hitter in the final graded stakes of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet.
“We’ll see,” said McGaughey of the 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor, winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth last time out. “He’s never won a Grade 1; he’s been third twice [2011 Man o’ War and 2012 Woodford Reserve Manhattan]. We’ve always thought he was a Grade 1 kind of horse.”
Boisterous, who closed out his 5-year-old campaign with back-to-back victories in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont and the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack, finished second in the Grade 3 Ben Ali over the synthetic surface at Keeneland Race Course in his first start of 2013.
“His race in Lexington on the Polytrack was great,” said McGaughey. “There was no pace, and we were four or five lengths back turning for home and got beat a length. Then, he came back and ran really well down at Monmouth and has done real well since then.”
The trainer added that Data Link, fourth as the 3-5 favorite in Thursday’s Grade 3 Poker, exited the race in seemingly good order and offered no excuse for his performance.
“He seemed to come back fine,” he said. “An atypical bad race for him; worst race he’s ever run. He acted like he was confused the whole race. We’ll just have to see as we go along. He gave no signs he was going to run that way. He’s a lot better than he ran.”
On Tuesday, McGaughey will travel to the training center in Fair Hill, Md., to oversee Kentucky Derby winner Orb’s second work since his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 8.
“He’s doing well down there,” he said. “My plan is to run him in the Travers [Grade 1, Saratoga, August 24] but if he gets ahead of me a little bit I’m not counting out the Jim Dandy [on July 27].”
Speaking of Which likely will step up in class for the Grade 1 Man o’ War, trainer Christophe Clement said on Friday.
A winner of a 1 ¼-mile Group 3 stakes in Ireland, Speaking of Which was shipped to the United States in the fall, finishing second in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby and last of 14 in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby for Irish trainer Dermot Weld. He was subsequently transferred to Clement and finished sixth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy in May at Belmont and won an optional claimer on June 21 at Monmouth Park in his first two starts for his new trainer.
Clement said he had been wanting to stretch out Speaking of Which after the 4-year-old ran in the Fort Marcy. Both the Fort Marcy and the June 21 optional claimer were contested at 1 1/16 miles.
“I ran him in the Fort Marcy, and I made a big mistake,” said Clement. “He should have gone farther. They went very quickly and he was always one paced. He was not tight enough.”
Speaking of Which was going to prep for the Man o’ War by competing in the Three Coins Up overnight stakes on June 14 at Belmont, but the race came off the turf, prompting Clement to run the colt in the Monmouth optional claimer. The Moyglare Stud Farm homebred went on to win the Monmouth race by 2 ¾ lengths.
“It was an easy race, but I thought it went well,” said Clement. “He was very impressive. It was a perfect race, mentally, for him, and he came back in very good order. He had one easy work, and he looked great last weekend.”
Clement said he will make a final decision on Speaking of Which following the weekend.
“He is a nice horse,” said Clement. “Is he nice or very nice? That’s the question.”
GoldMark Farm’s Bombaguia, who is exiting a disappointing performance in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap on June 8, will be given another opportunity to compete in a Grade 1 as he is now targeting the Man o’ War, according to trainer John Kimmel.
A two-time runner-up in graded stakes at Belmont, Bombaguia finished last of eight in the Manhattan, which was contested over yielding turf. Kimmel said Bombaguia, who was second by a half-length in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May 4 at Belmont, didn’t handle the surface in the Manhattan.
“You throw the last race out,” said Kimmel. “[Jockey] Edgar [Prado] said he was great until he had to ask him. He pinned his ears. He didn’t like [the yielding turf] one bit.”
Kimmel said Bombaguia will breeze on turf tomorrow. With Edgar Prado expected to be out of town on July 13, either Irad Ortiz, Jr. or Rajiv Maragh will have the mount in the Man o’ War.
Likely to join Boisterous, Bombaguia and Speaking of Which in the Grade 1 Man o’ War, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, are Al Khali, seventh in the Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 26 at Keeneland last time out; Exclusive Strike, returning to stakes company for the first time since a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Red Smith in 2011; Optimizer, most recently second in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap, and Grade 2 Pan American winner Twilight Eclipse, fifth in the Manhattan. Folk Singer and London Lane are questionable.