Belmont Park Notes 5.14.17
by NYRA Press Office
- Timeline exits G3 Peter Pan in good order; Take Your Guns possible for G1 Belmont
- Unified, Mind Your Biscuits on course for rematch in G2 Belmont Sprint
- Highway Star could target G1 Ogden Phipps after G2 Ruffian win in slop
- Hawksmoor in good shape following G3 Beaumont win
- Preakness Day activities at Belmont
Woodford Racing's Timeline was in fine fettle after his victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan, said trainer Chad Brown at his barn at Belmont Park on Sunday morning.
Brown was pleased with the way Timeline ran in his first graded stakes start, and only his third overall, and is carefully considering the 3-year-old Hard Spun colt's next target.
"I thought the horse ran very well and I was impressed," Brown said. "He made a couple of different runs in the race and still got there. It was a really good performance."
While the Peter Pan has traditionally been the local gateway to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 10, Brown said he is looking at other options where the distance would be more favorable.
"I'm not interested in running the horse in the Belmont; he doesn't strike me as a mile-and-a-half horse," he added. "The Haskell [at Monmouth Park] is a race we have on our radar. He'll run one time between now and then, I'm just not sure exactly which race."
Brown said possible races before the Grade 1 Haskell could be the Easy Goer on June 10, the Grade 3 Dwyer on July 8 or the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth on June 18. He noted that the Pegasus makes the most sense because of its timing and the opportunity for Timeline to run on the track and gain familiarity with two turns before running in the Haskell on July 30.
Brown's other Peter Pan entrant, John D. Gunther's homebred Take Your Guns, who was fourth in his stakes debut, came out of the race in good order as well. Brown said he would look to regroup with the Blame colt as he may not have liked yesterday's sloppy condition on the main track but is still tentatively targeting the Belmont.
"He's a horse I wouldn't rule out of the Belmont," he said. "It was kind of a neutral race for him. We were disappointed. The horse finished fourth and got beat seven lengths, but I don't really know how to gauge it. The first two runners went around the track and it was hard to make up ground. Joel [Rosario] said he didn't really care for the surface. He kind of ran even and he was trying.
"He's always struck me as a mile-and-a-half horse," he added. "It may come too soon in his career on only his fourth start, however I don't want to take him out of consideration either until we see what happens in the Preakness and see how the horse is training."
Dacita, who finished strong to run a very game second in Saturday's Grade 3 Beaugay on the yielding turf, was encouraging to see, Brown said, as the 6-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy goes forward with her 2017 campaign.
"I'm not surprised she gave it 100 percent, because she always does for us," said Brown. "She nearly won it despite it not being her best ground and maybe the race playing against her pace-wise. She did everything but win. I was pleased with her."
Stablemate Rahina Da Bateria, who encountered a troubled trip to finish fourth, also came out of the race in good order, he said.
"I thought she showed up too, she just didn't have any running room," said Brown. "Both horses came out of the race well and hopefully that will start a successful campaign for both of them."
Brown added that Dacita, who won last year's Grade 2 New York, could be entered for a repeat bid for the $500,000 turf race at 1 ¼ miles on June 9. Rainha Da Bateria is unlikely for the New York after finishing fifth in her only previous start at the distance in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor last October.
Wake Forest, who finished a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Man o' War, could possibly remain on target for the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Reserve Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day.
"He just didn't handle the conditions," he said. "The winner was truly impressive and it may have not mattered, but he's a firm ground horse. I may bring him right back in the Manhattan and draw a line through this last race if the conditions are right."
Cloud Computing emerged from his Saturday breeze at Belmont Park in good condition ahead of his bid in the the Grade 1 Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland on May 20, Brown reported.
"He came out of it really well and he's going to head to Pimlico on Tuesday and just gallop a little and do some paddock schooling heading into the race," he said.
Cloud Computing, who was third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial last out on April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack, went four furlongs in 48.85 seconds in his fifth official workout on the Belmont training track since the Wood.
Lastly, Brown commented that he was narrowing down options of where to run multiple graded stakes winner Lady Eli next, following her second-place finish in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.
"She's doing really well and is probable for the Gamely at Santa Anita," added Brown. "The timing, and looking for firm ground, and the way the schedule is. She's run at Santa Anita twice with two outstanding performances, so we know she's good on that turf course."
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Centennial Farm's Unified is likely to skip the Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Sunday morning at Belmont Park, and will instead take aim at the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, where he's expected to face multiple Grade 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits for the second time this year.
Unified got the better of Mind Your Biscuits the first time around in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint in February. A 4-year-old colt by Candy Ride, Unified was making his first start in eight months, turning in a front-running effort to hold off Mind Your Biscuits to win by a neck.
Following the Gulfstream Sprint, Mind Your Biscuits had a productive jaunt overseas with his impressive three-length victory in the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 25 at Meydan Racecourse, while Unified auditioned for the June 10 Met Mile in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack, where he finished second by a neck behind the pacesetting Green Gratto.
"It was such a speed favoring day and that horse was awfully quick leaving there," said Jerkens of the Carter. "He kind of outbroke us and he was inside of us, so to try to outrun him like that to get the lead would have been suicidal, so he did the next best thing. That horse is really tough when he's allowed to get the lead by himself. He was tough to run down, we just couldn't get to him.
"We were toying with the Met, but it seems like a lot to ask him to do," he added. "We were really on the fence about running in it, and we didn't want to be training for it and then not run. Then you have to freshen your horse up if you do that. So we decided to make the decision early if we were going to go for it or not, and we decided to do the July race and hopefully he runs big and he can run in the Forego at Saratoga."
Mind Your Biscuits, meanwhile, has settled in at Belmont since returning from a freshening at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, KY following his trip back from Dubai, said trainer Chad Summers.
"He came back from his vacation at Taylor Made in great shape," he said. "All systems are go for the Belmont Sprint Championship. The Met Mile was something we were looking at. We think he will get a mile, and we might look to show that later on, but for his first start back from Dubai, it makes sense to go for a seven-eighths race and give him more time."
Summers said he's content to patiently map out a spring campaign for Mind Your Biscuits, whose main summer goal is the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course.
"He's jogging right now and he'll do that for a week and start galloping next Wednesday or Thursday," he said. "He won't breeze for a few more weeks. We're not going to start on him too soon. He gets ready so quickly and I don't want to be tempted to throw him in the Met Mile.
"He's fresh right now," Summers added. "As soon as the rider gets a leg up, he jumps around the shedrow and everything. He's got a lot of quirks to him. We've had him for so long and everything, we know him inside and out, so we know when to push the buttons and when not to. He looks great and he's ready to go on, but I'm just not ready for him to go on."
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Highway Star was in good order coming out of an impressive win in the slop in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian, trainer Rodrigo Ubillo said. The 4-year-old Chester and Mary Broman homebred won her second straight graded stakes start, adding to her victory in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap on April 9.
"She came out of the race great," Ubillo said from his barn on Sunday morning. "She did it against nice horses, she was phenomenal. Beating Bar of Gold; going in, I thought we might be second since she was 5-for-5 [on off tracks], but we're happy and she showed she's pretty good on the mud, too."
Highway Star might have a quick turnaround for the $100,000 Critical Eye for state-breds on May 29 at Belmont Park, Ubillo said. She also could return to graded stakes competition in the Grade 1, $750,000 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day Saturday, June 10.
With a 7-0-1 record in 10 career starts, Ubillo said patience was rewarded, as Highway Star did not race until her 3-year-old campaign. She has already registered three graded stakes win, including a nose victory in the 2016 Grade 3 Go for Wand.
"We took our time with her and didn't race her as a 2-year-old, she's coming along quite nicely," Ubillo said. "She's a nice filly and I try to do my job and she does hers in the afternoon."
Highway Star has also shown an ability to win carrying heaver weights, evidenced by her surging past Indulgent in the stretch in the Ruffian despite carrying six extra pounds.
"She carries me around every morning and she's happy, she's bouncing around," Ubillo said with a laugh.
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Lael Stable's Hawksmoor was back at Arnaud Delacour's Fair Hills training base Saturday night following her head victory over Dacita in the Grade 3 Beaumont at Belmont Park and has emerged from the race in good shape, Delacour reported Sunday morning.
"She seems fine this morning," he said. "She ate everything and her legs look good. I'm happy with her so far."
The 4-year-old filly by Azamour won her third stakes race over soft or yielding turf off a nearly six-month layoff with a front-running score under Julien Leparoux in the Beaugay, her first U.S. win.
"We thought that she could handle the turf but I wasn't sure about the competition," said Delacour. "Obviously, she did a great job. We'll make sure she comes back fine and decide where to go from there."
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On Preakness Day, Saturday, May 20, racing fans will be able to enjoy live racing at Belmont Park as well as full-card simulcasting of the day's events at Pimlico Race Course, a Beer & Wing Festival, and other family fun events in the backyard.
The backyard and picnic area will come alive with a variety of fun and exciting activities and games that the entire family can enjoy. Kids can use the playground and enjoy the duck pond, while mom and dad can watch and wager upon the races with numerous televisions and betting windows nearby. There are many picnic tables as well as plenty of food and drink available at concession stands. The state-of-the-art Children's Playground is located in the Backyard area. Kids can swing, climb on monkey bars and play on slides in a safe area that features a rubber floor.
Tickets for the Beer & Wing Festival are available on Ticketmaster.com. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. General admission is $5. General parking is free, with preferred parking available for $3 and the clubhouse lot for $7.