Belmont Park Notes - April 28, 2013
By NYRA Press Office | 04/28/2013 03:54 PM ET
Flat Out, Cross Traffic earn 115 Beyers for G3 Westchester
Hessonite, Dream Peace & Dealbata breeze for Beaugay
Abilio’s graded stakes debut in Fort Marcy a New York affair
Fields taking shape for G3 Beaugay, G3 Fort Marcy on Derby Day
Grade 3 Westchester victor Flat Out and runner-up Cross Traffic, who were separated by a head at the finish of Saturday’s one-mile race, both earned career-best Beyer Speed Figures of 115 for their thrilling efforts.
The 115 Beyer is the best in North America this year at races of a mile or less.
The 7-year-old Flat Out, who improved his Belmont Park record to 4-for-4 with the win, was caught in 1:32.99 at the wire after closing stoutly into fractions of 22.77, 45.33 and 1:08.87 set by Cross Traffic. The two-time Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner’s best previous Beyer was a 113 in the 2011 Suburban Handicap at Belmont.
Cross Traffic’s previous best Beyer was a 105, earned in his second start, a 7 1/2-length optional claiming win on March 10 at Gulfstream Park.
“He did everything right except win, and he still galloped out well, so that was good,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, of the 4-year-old Cross Traffic. “He hung around on his left lead for a while [in the stretch], and when he switched to his right lead he jumped for about 8-10 strides, and I thought that was going to be enough to hold on against the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, who obviously likes Belmont Park.”
Cross Traffic will likely be pointed next to the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day, May 27, at Belmont Park.
“Hopefully the Met Mile is in the cards for our horse,” said McCarthy. “We’ll see how he comes out of it, but he looked well here this morning.”
On Sunday morning, McCarthy sent out Alto Racing’s Peace Preserver for a half-mile work in 48.77 in preparation for a likely start in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
“She breezed well, and finished up full of run,” said McCarthy of Peace Preserver, who has won two of her three starts on the Belmont turf, including the 2012 Pebbles.
Contenders for the Beaugay took to the track on Sunday to turn in their final breezes for next Saturday’s race.
Trainer David Donk sent out Hessonite to a breeze on the training track, with Chad Brown representatives Dealbata and Dream Peace working on the inner turf course.
The Beaugay will serve as the 5-year-old debut for Hessonite, who breezed four furlongs in 48.87 seconds. The seven-time stakes winner is unraced since October, when she captured Belmont’s Ticonderoga a second straight year. She is seeking her first graded stakes score.
“I tried to run her a couple of weeks ago in the overnight stakes [on April 13] that didn’t fill,” said Donk, who trains the New York-bred daughter of Freud for William J. Punk, Jr. and Philip diLeo. “She’s been ready to go. We need to run somewhere. She’s had a lot of three-quarter works. I’m just trying to back her up today and keep her fresh, happy, and ready to go. She’s doing really well, and I’m looking forward to getting her started and seeing how aggressive we can be during the summer.”
Hessonite has already won nine of 18 starts and earned $713,310, but Donk hopes the best is yet to come.
“I think we saw it [when she finished fifth] in the Flower Bowl, and she didn’t get the cleanest trip,” said Donk. “I’m using this, maybe, as a springboard to the Sheepshead Bay [Grade 2, $200,000, 1 3/8 miles, May 25]. I’m looking forward to stretching her out. I can always fall back into the [$125,000 Mount Vernon for New York-bred fillies and mares on June 1]. I don’t need to win on Saturday – I just need to get her started and have her run a good race and do it the right way.
“From here on, whether it’s the races in New York or the Beverly D. or the races in the fall, she hasn’t won a graded stakes yet, so that’s the first goal. Can we expand upon that? I think it’s possible. It’s still my job to get her perform at her best, so I’m still going to have butterflies, but at the same time you don’t get many like these, especially in an operation like mine. She was a $27,000 yearling, and I don’t want to say she’s a diamond in the rough, but they don’t come around every day.”
Junior Alvarado will replace injured jockey Ramon Dominguez aboard Hessonite in the Beaugay.
Dream Peace and Dealbata went in company, covering four furlongs in 1:00.48.
A Group 2 winner in France, Etreham Farm’s Dream Peace hasn’t competed since finishing third in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor in October at Woodbine. Dealbata, who has won stakes in France and the United States, was ninth in the Grade 3 Endeavour on February 2 at Tampa Bay Downs for owner Martin Schwartz in her most recent start.
“As of right now, I’m not sure which one Chad is going to run [in the Beaugay],” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Brown. “It will depend on how they come out of their works.”
Also on the worktab for Brown were Grade 1 winner Dayatthespa and Street Secret, who won a Gulfstream Park optional claimer on March 23 in her North American debut. The two breezed five furlongs on the turf in 1:00.02.
Real Solution, who was sent to Brown earlier this year after beginning his career in Italy, is set to make his first stateside start in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Last year, Brown sent out Desert Blanc to a second-place finish in the Fort Marcy in the colt’s U.S. bow, with the import later winning the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap.
On Sunday, Real Solution, a Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred, breezed four furlongs on the training track in 49.11 seconds.
“He’s been working up a storm,” said DeVaux. “He’s really been doing well. We did the same thing with Desert Blanc, and it worked out very well for us.”
Abilio’s graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Fort Marcy promises to be a thoroughly New York affair. Bred in New York by owner Michael Marceda, the 6-year-old gelding is trained by Tom Albertrani, a classmate of Marceda’s at Valley Stream Central High School.
A son of Pioneering, Abilio joined Albertrani’s barn last fall after beginning his career with Linda Rice. The gelding has made four starts for Albertrani, with his best finish a second in the If Winter Comes overnight stakes on November 17 at Aqueduct. His two most recent starts – a fourth in the Dave overnight stakes at the Big A on April 14 and a sixth in third level optional claimer at Gulfstream in February – have come over good or yielding turf.
“I think the turf was good to yielding [at Gulfstream], but it was probably a little softer than they listed it as and I don’t think his best races have been on soft or yielding ground,” said Albertrani. “I think he really runs better over a firm turf course. He looks like he could be competitive in this race. He’d have to run his ‘A’ game to win it, but we don’t have a whole lot of alternatives, so we’re going to give him a chance in here and see how he runs over maybe a firmer course. He looks like he kind of fits in here, but he definitely has to step up a little bit.”
More than a half-dozen turf specialists are pointing towards the Grade 3 Fort Marcy, won last year by the Phipps Stable’s Boisterous. Targeting this year’s 36th running are Abilio, most recently fourth over a yielding Aqueduct turf course in the Dave overnight stakes on April 14; Beau Choix and King Kreesa, second and third, respectively, in the Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream Park last time out, and Bombaguia, who missed by a neck in an optional claimer at Gulfstream in his 2013 debut. Also probable, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, are Monument Hill, winner of an optional claimer on March 30 at Gulfstream; Real Solution, making his North American debut for trainer Chad Brown, and the Irish-bred Speaking of Which, who finished second and 14th in two starts in California last year. Air Support, who breezed Sunday at Churchill Downs, and Chilean import Quick Casablanca are under consideration.
The Grade 3 Beaugay, won in 2012 by Winter Memories, is likely to attract Peace Preserver, third in her 2013 debut at Gulfstream Park; Naples Bay, who closed out her 4-year-old campaign with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 My Charmer at Calder Race Course; multiple stakes winner Hessonite, 4-2-0 from eight starts in 2012; Dinner’s Out, seeking her first North American victory after five starts; the Irish-bred Dream Peace, who had a pair of thirds and a second in three Grade 1 starts in North America last year, and Dealbata, who won the Mohegan Sky overnight stakes at Belmont last year in her North American debut. Ruthenia and Suroof are possible.