Boisterous Gives Connections Second Straight G1 Man o’ War Win
By Jon Forbes | 07/13/2013 08:11 PM ET
Bill Murray and trainer Shug McGaughey
With his injured stablemate Point of Entry on the sidelines, Boisterous made the most of the opportunity by winning the 55th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Boisterous was attempting to give Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and owner Phipps Stable their second straight victory in the 1 3/8-mile Man o’ War for 3-year-olds and up. McGaughey and Phipps won the 2012 Man o’ War with Point of Entry, who had to forego a title defense after emerging from the June 8 Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap with a non-displaced condylar fracture.
Bettors expressed their faith in Boisterous by backing him as the 3-2 favorite in the field of eight, and the 6-year-old raced comfortably in fifth as long shot Folk Singer ran the opening half-mile in 48.07 seconds. Folk Singer began to receive increased pressure from Speaking of Which and Twilight Eclipse through three quarters in 1:13.06 as Boisterous continued to bide his time under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
Boisterous commenced his charge inside the three-eighths, splitting rivals and drawing into contention while racing three wide into the stretch. He dispatched Twilight Eclipse, who came up just short in his attempt to give this year’s spring/summer meet title winner Javier Castellano his sixth victory on the card, with a furlong to travel and went on to defeat that rival by 2 ¼ lengths. Exclusive Strike finished an additional three-quarters of a length behind in third.
“I was anticipating it was going to be a little quicker, but I didn’t think those three horses were going, so it set up perfect,” said Velazquez.
Boisterous, who earned his first Grade 1 triumph, completed 1 3/8 miles over the “good” inner turf course in 2:14.11. The win improved his record to 11-3-2 in 25 starts and was worth $360,000, pushing his earnings into seven figures at nearly $1.3 million.
“I’m going to smile on this one, because this horse deserves to win a Grade 1,” said McGaughey. “He had been training so good. His three races this year have all been really good. We kind of caught a turf today we liked. I was looking for a little bit of rain. I’m tickled to death, not for me, but for the horse.”
Boisterous has now won seven graded stakes, four at Belmont. In two previous starts this year, he was second in the Grade 3 Ben Ali over Keeneland’s Polytrack in April and won the Grade 2 Monmouth on June 9 at Monmouth Park.
Shug McGaughey said he and owner Phipps Stable will consider three options for Boisterous.
“We’ll think about the Sword Dancer [Grade 1, August 17, Saratoga Race Course]. We’ll think about the Arlington Million [Grade 1, August 17, Arlington Park]. We’ll think about the Pacific Classic [Grade 1, August 25, Del Mar],” said McGaughey. “When we get up [to Saratoga Race Course] we’ll see how he’s doing. The Arlington Million I’m a little bit gun shy on because I don’t really understand why he ran bad there last year. Somebody said, ‘He didn’t run all that bad. He was ninth, beaten [5 ¾ lengths],’ but he ran bad.”
Finnegans Wake finished fourth, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of 8-5 second choice Optimizer. Al Khali, Speaking of Which, and Folk Singer completed the order of finish.
Photo caption: Actor Bill Murray and winning trainer Shug McGaughey following the Grade 1 Man o’ War. Murray was at Belmont Park on Saturday to film scenes for the upcoming film “St Vincent De Van Nuys.”