Belmont Park Notes
May 26, 2023
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Tapit Trice ‘super’ in penultimate work for G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets; Forte slated to breeze Saturday

by NYRA Press Office

  • Tapit Trice ‘super’ in penultimate work for G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets; Forte slated to breeze Saturday
  • Preakness winner National Treasure settles in at Belmont Park
  • Appleby-trained trio With The Moonlight, Silver Knott and Siskany arrive in New York; Ottoman Fleet and Warren Point breeze for G1 Manhattan
  • Il Miracolo breezes for G1 Belmont Stakes
  • Secret Oath targets G1 Ogden Phipps
  • Terranova trainees Freedom Trail, Our Shot target graded stakes engagements
  • Belmont Park Week 5 stakes probables

Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Grade 1 winner Tapit Trice recorded his penultimate piece of preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 10, breezing five furlongs over the Belmont Park main track for Hall of Fame conditioner Todd Pletcher.

Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s, Tapit Trice worked under exercise rider Fernando Rivera to the outside of stablemate Classic Catch [1:00.87] following the renovation break. He completed the five-furlong move in 1:00.22 over the fast main track before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.60 and 1:25 flat for seven furlongs according to NYRA clockers.

Last Friday, Tapit Trice worked a half-mile in 49.04 seconds in his first move since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs. Tapit Trice captured the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 1 Blue Grass and entered as one of the favorites for the “Run for the Roses.”

“Super breeze, big gallop out,” Pletcher said following the work. “He seems to really like the main track here. I’m very, very happy with the way he’s been training. He hasn’t missed a beat since the Derby. He’s settled in well. He’s been galloping over the main track. He had a breeze last week and a more serious breeze today. It was a major piece of work today, we’ll come back for a maintenance type breeze next week. We always thought the mile and a half would suit him.”

Classic Catch, an allowance winner that finished fourth in the Grade 3 Peter Pan here on May 13, has the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs under consideration.

Tapit Trice is by prolific sire Tapit, who has sired prior Belmont Stakes winners Tonalist [2014], Creator [2016], Tapwrit [2017], and Essential Quality [2021]. His graded stakes-placed dam Danzatrice is by Dunkirk – who Pletcher saddled to a runner-up finish in the 2009 Belmont Stakes.

Tapit Trice’s pedigree along with his running style make him an ideal candidate for the Belmont Stakes’ demanding 1 1/2-mile distance, according to Pletcher.

“Tapits have had a lot of success in the Belmont. He’s out of a Dunkirk mare who I trained and ran second in the Belmont. From a pedigree standpoint, you would think he’s capable,” Pletcher said. “He’s got that big, long galloping stride. I think the main thing is making sure that he gets into that comfortable rhythm and doesn’t give himself too much to do early on. The Belmont is not necessarily a closer’s race, but it seems like he’s really coming up to it the right way.”

Pletcher also has three other potential Belmont Stakes contestants in reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Forte, Grade 2 Louisiana Derby winner Kingsbarns – who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby – and 10-furlong maiden winner Prove Worthy.

Forte and Kingsbarns were slated to breeze this morning with the former now scheduled to work Saturday at 8:45 a.m. over the Belmont main track.

Pletcher said he is not sure when Kingsbarns will work back.

“He’s got a little bit of a bellyache today, so we weren’t able to breeze him," Pletcher said. 

Pletcher said Prove Worthy, who is stabled with his Churchill Downs division, remains possible for the Belmont.

On Friday morning, Pletcher also worked Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Up to the Mark in preparation for the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan on June 10. The 4-year-old son of Not This Time registered a 103 Beyer Speed Figure last out when capturing the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

“It was great. Just a maintenance type of breeze on the dirt. He seems like a happy horse,” Pletcher said.

Initially campaigned on dirt, Up to the Mark was triumphant in his first two starts on turf this winter over the Gulfstream Park turf. He was then third in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile in April at Keeneland, three weeks prior to his Old Forester Turf Classic conquest. 

“You could tell the first time we ran him at Gulfstream that he loved it,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher breezed Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Nest, who went a half-mile in 49.25 seconds on the Belmont dirt training track.

The Curlin bay was initially targeting the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day, but could regroup and target the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis on July 1 at Churchill Downs. She has not raced since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Keeneland and has recorded four breezes since.

“She worked well this morning, but we’re probably running out of time for the Phipps,” Pletcher said.

Early look at G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets

Probable: Angel of Empire (Brad Cox), Forte (Todd Pletcher), Hit Show (Cox), Il Miracolo (Antonio Sano), National Treasure (Bob Baffert), Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook), Red Route One (Steve Asmussen), Tapit Trice (Pletcher)

Possible: Arabian Lion (Baffert), Arcangelo (Jena Antonucci), Prove Worthy (Pletcher), Reincarnate (Baffert)

The Belmont Stakes headlines the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that features a total of 16 stakes events from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. For additional information on the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing, visit


Preakness winner National Treasure settles in at Belmont Park

SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital and Catherine Donovan’s Grade 1 Preakness-winner National Treasure arrived at Belmont Park on Wednesday for a potential start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 10, the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the son of Quality Road will be stabled in the barn of conditioner John Terranova, who also welcomed the Baffert-trained Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify ahead of their historic triumphs in the “Test of the Champion.”

Terranova said National Treasure arrived in good order and enjoyed his first trip around Big Sandy on Thursday with exercise rider Simon Harris up.

“He went to the track early and was cruising around there for a jog once around,” said Terranova. “It’s all good and he’s settled in nice and quiet. He’s actually staying in the same stall that American Pharoah and Justify stayed in. We’ll talk to Bob and see what he wants to do every day.”

As reported by the Santa Anita Park stable notes, Baffert said he will need to see a strong work from National Treasure to warrant a start in the Belmont. National Treasure is one of three potential Belmont Stakes starters for Baffert, who is also considering Sir Barton-winner Arabian Lion and Grade 3 Sham-winner Reincarnate. Baffert is in search of his fourth Belmont Stakes triumph after he saddled Point Given [2001], American Pharoah [2015] and Justify [2018] to victory.

National Treasure, who also finished a respective second and third in the Grade 1 American Pharoah and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, went out for another trip around Big Sandy on Friday.

“He went out the same time today and galloped nice and smooth,” said Terranova. “All is well.”

National Treasure scored his Preakness victory in dramatic fashion after a prolonged stretch duel with Grade 1-winner Blazing Sevens to his outside. He is the first stakes winner produced from the Medaglia d’Oro mare Treasure and was purchased for $500,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.


Appleby-trained trio With The Moonlight, Silver Knott and Siskany arrive in New York; Ottoman Fleet and Warren Point breeze for G1 Manhattan

Trainer Charlie Appleby's With The Moonlight, Silver Knott and Siskany arrived in New York on Friday to join their Godolphin stablemates Ottoman Fleet and Warren Point for upcoming stakes engagements at Belmont Park.

The trio arrived at Belmont Park to the care of Appleby’s traveling assistant Chris Connett just after 11 a.m. Eastern and will be able to train on Sunday once having cleared quarantine. Multiple Group 3-winner Silver Knott is targeting the Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong turf test for sophomores on June 3 which offers the top-three finishers an automatic invite to the 10-furlong Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Derby Invitational on July 8.

The multiple group/graded winner With The Moonlight will target either the 10-furlong Grade 1, $600,000 New York or the one-mile Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game which are both slated for Friday, June 9 during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival; while Siskany has shipped for the two-mile Grade 2, $200,000 Belmont Gold Cup on the same card.

Silver Knott captured a pair of Group 3 tests as a juvenile, taking the seven-furlong Solario at Sandown Park and the one-mile Autumn at Newmarket. The Lope de Vega colt rallied to complete the exacta in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Keeneland, missing by a nose to Victoria Road. He was off-the-board in his seasonal debut in the Group 1 2000 Guineas on May 6 at Newmarket.

“I traveled with him over to the Breeders' Cup where he was second. He ran a huge race and was a little unfortunate that day,” said Connett. “He was prepped as a Guineas horse but things didn't quite go his way that day. Stretching out in distance might be just what he needs.”

Silver Knott is out of the Nathaniel mare God Given, who is a half-sister to multiple Group 1-winner Postponed.

The well-traveled With The Moonlight, a 4-year-old Frankel bay, made three starts in New York last year, winning the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational between runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational and the Spa’s Grade 2 Lake Placid. She has already made four starts this year, winning a pair of Group 2 events in Dubai in the Cape Verdi and Balanchine. 

With the Moonlight, who has banked $916,154 through a 13-6-3-1 record, was second to a freewheeling In Italian in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April at Keeneland ahead of a distant sixth last out in the Group 2 Dahlia on May 7 at Newmarket.

“In Italian is a very good filly and I think we just got beat by the better horse on the day,” Connett said. “We'll see which race Charlie wants to place With The Moonlight in and go from there. She's versatile. She has enough speed to go a mile or she can stretch out to a mile and a quarter. She's a handy filly.”

Siskany, a 5-year-old Dubawi gelding, captured the 12-furlong Godolphin in September at Newmarket and added the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba at 1 3/4-miles over good Meydan turf to his ledger in February. He was defeated a neck by Broome two starts back in March in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup and will make his North American debut from a close fifth in the 1 3/4-mile Group 2 Yorkshire Cup on May 19 at York.

“His run in Dubai in the Gold Cup was huge. Unfortunately, he just got caught by a very good horse in Broome. If he runs to that form he will take a lot of beating,” Connett said.

Ottoman Fleet, last-out winner of the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy here on May 7, and Warren Point, who finished fifth in his North American debut in the Grade 1 Man o’ War here on May 13, have had a busy week preparing for the 10-furlong Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day June 10.

Both horses breezed a half-mile over Big Sandy on Tuesday and followed this morning with solo five-eighths breezes over the inner turf under Richie Mullen, who guided Ottoman Fleet to his Fort Marcy score.

Ottoman Fleet, a 4-year-old Sea The Stars gelding, worked a half-mile on Tuesday in 49.09 and covered five-eighths in 1:00.98 this morning over the Belmont inner turf; while Warren Point, a 4-year-old Dubawi gelding, breezed a half-mile Tuesday in 50.98 and went five-eighths in 59.33 here this morning.

“Warren Point had a nice second piece of work since his run,” Connett said. “He did a little four furlongs breeze on the dirt on Tuesday and we backed him up on the turf today and he did five [furlongs] and we're very pleased with him.

“Ottoman Fleet also did a little piece on the dirt on Tuesday and he went five eighths on the turf today,” Connett continued. “It was a regular maintenance work two weeks from the Manhattan.”


Il Miracolo breezes for G1 Belmont Stakes

Il Miracolo, a recent gate-to-wire optional-claiming winner at Gulfstream Park, breezed this morning at the Hallandale Beach oval in preparation for a start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

Trained by Antonio Sano for Alexandres, the Gun Runner chestnut colt worked a bullet five-eighths in 1:01.06 over a sloppy main track at Gulfstream Park.

“He had a very good work. He leaves for Belmont next Saturday,” Sano said.

The $70,000 OBS June 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale purchase sports a ledger of 10-2-3-0 for purse earnings of $103,125. He started in five stakes races between December and April 1 with his best result a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February at Gulfstream.

Last out, Il Miracolo led gate-to-wire in a one-mile optional-claimer to post a 1 3/4-length score under Marcos Meneses, who will retain the mount for the Belmont Stakes.

“He won his last race going a mile at Gulfstream. He showed good speed,” Sano said.

Sano said he is cautiously optimistic about the chestnut’s chances as he stretches out beyond nine furlongs for the first time.

“It's a very strong race and the horse is a little green right now, but I hope he can run well and run a strong race,” Sano said.

Sano said that Tami Bobo’s graded-stakes winner Simplification will have a little down time ahead of a summer campaign following his last out fifth in the Grade 3 Ghostzapper on April 1 at Gulfstream.

“I sent him to the farm to rest for two months and he will come back in July maybe for Saratoga,” Sano said.

The 4-year-old Not This Time colt captured the Grade 2 Foutain of Youth last year at Gulfstream en route to a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.


Secret Oath targets G1 Ogden Phipps

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has been fortunate enough to have won the Belmont Stakes four times in his storied career. While the legendary horseman does not have a contender for this year’s “Test of the Champion,” he does plan on sending up Secret Oath for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps on the same day.

The Ogden Phipps, contested at nine furlongs on June 10, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Santa Anita. It is one of nine Grade 1 events slated to take place during the annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

Secret Oath, a Kentucky homebred owned by Briland Farm, captured last year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks over eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Nest, providing Lukas with his fifth Oaks conquest and first in 32 years. Now a 4-year-old, the Arrogate filly has finished a neck shy of victory in her last two starts in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom on April 15 at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 1 La Troienne on May 5 at Churchill Downs. She captured her 2023 debut in the Grade 2 Azeri on March 11 at Oaklawn.

“I think she’s a better filly, but she has to be at this stage,” said Lukas, who saddled A Wild Ride [1991] and Hall of Famer Serena’s Song [1996] to Ogden Phipps scores. “The fields get a lot steeper in these races for older fillies. This race here, just the way that it’s lining up, could be a real bellringer. If everyone that they’re saying might show up runs, it will be a very interesting betting race for the spectators.”

In the last out La Troienne, jockey Tyler Gaffalione claimed foul against John Velazquez aboard the winner Played Hard for interference in the stretch run. Secret Oath was eight wide around the turn and matched strides with Played Hard nearing the eighth pole with the latter lugging out. The objection was ultimately dismissed by the stewards.

“That affected us. It lost her concentration and broke her stride,” Lukas said. “They could have probably reversed that, but it’s tough to do that in a race of that magnitude and grade. You could have made a case either way there. I would have liked to have been in a different position around the sixteenth pole, but it is what it is. It’s racing and we’ll move on from there."

Secret Oath had a 1 1/2-length advantage at the stretch call of the Apple Blossom, but could not stave off the late rally of likely returning rivalClairiere.

“Tyler was still learning a little bit about her and he made his move a little too quick,” Lukas said. “He made a big move around the turn. We’d like to have both of those back, but we’re in pretty good shape going into this race. She’s bigger, stronger and doing well.”

Lukas said Secret Oath would ship to Belmont Park on Tuesday, June 6.

Secret Oath is out of the Grade 1-placed Quiet American mare Absinthe Minded. She boasts a record of 16-6-4-3 and earnings of $2,324,767.


Terranova trainees Freedom Trail, Our Shot target graded stakes engagements

Trainer John Terranova will have plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks as stakes-winner Freedom Trail sets his sights on the Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge on June 3 and three-time winner Our Shot looks towards a start in the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur on June 10, both at Belmont Park.

Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Steven Schoenfeld’s Freedom Trail and Terranova’s Our Shot, whom he co-owns with Gatsas Stables and Schoenfeld, breezed a half-mile together over the Belmont turf on Friday. The former covered the distance in 49.11 seconds while the latter completed his exercise in 47.88.

“Freedom Trail went out in front a little bit and then Our Shot kind of made up some ground to join him, so they finished nice together,” said Terranova. “It was beautiful.”

Freedom Trail, a sophomore son of Collected, flashed his talents early when winning his first two outings last year at Belmont at the Big A. He was a determined winner by a head on debut in September before another gutsy score in the 1 1/16-mile Awad in November, rallying from 8 1/2 lengths off the pace to best Dandy Handyman by three-quarters of a length.

This year, Freedom Trail has had troubled trips in both his outings, beginning with the Columbia in March at Tampa Bay Downs where he broke from the inside post and had to wait for an opening in the final turn to make a late bid and finish fourth. He was last seen finishing a closing seventh in the Grade 3 Transylvania on April 7 at Keeneland where he endured a similar trip from the inside post under the guidance of Frankie Dettori.

Terranova said he hopes to see a better trip for Freedom Trail in the Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong turf test for sophomores.

“He didn’t get a good trip in the Transylvania and Dettori got off him and said, ‘The pace didn’t develop and I took him back and got trapped in there the whole way,’” said Terranova. “It happened in his first race too, so he’s been unlucky in his two starts this year. But he’s doing fantastic in the morning. I think as the distances get a little longer, he’ll appreciate that. We’ve got a lot of faith in this horse and he’s very good.”

Our Shot will make his stakes debut in the six-furlong Jaipur, which he’ll enter off a strong three-length allowance victory in pacesetting fashion on April 26 at Keeneland. The chestnut son of Kantharos has won 4-of-7 lifetime starts, led by his latest victory that saw him defeat multiple graded stakes-winner Bound for Nowhere and earn a career-high 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

Terranova said he originally planned to run the gelding in the 5 1/2-furlong King T. Leatherbury that was scheduled for April 22 at Laurel Park, but had to call an audible when racing was canceled that week at the Maryland oval.

“I’ve always liked this horse and brought him along nice and slow,” said Terranova. “We were on the also-eligible list twice at Keeneland before we even got in that last race. We were actually going to go to Maryland but we had to have him come back to Keeneland, so we entered for the allowance the following Wednesday. He’s a nice horse.”

The Jaipur, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Turf Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park, is one of 16 stakes events slated for the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which runs from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. 


Belmont Park Week 5 stakes probables

Saturday, June 3

G2 Pennine Ridge (Entries to be taken on Monday)

Probable: Belouni (Chad Brown), Boppy O (Mark Casse), Congruent (Brown), Far Bridge (Todd Pletcher), Freedom Trail (John Terranova), Kalik (Brown), Sharar (Pletcher), Silver Knott (Charlie Appleby)

Possible: Lachaise (Jorge Abreu)

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