Queen Picasso likely to stretch out following G3 Soaring Softly conquest
by NYRA Press Office
- Queen Picasso likely to stretch out following G3 Soaring Softly conquest
- Dr. Schivel pointing to G2 True North
- Raise Cain to breeze Monday for G1 Belmont Stakes
- White Abarrio training forwardly towards G1 Metropolitan H.
- Trio of Appleby trainees clear quarantine, stretch legs over training track
- Early look at probables for the G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets
Siena Farm, Michael E. Kisber, Peter Deutsch, and The Elkstone Group’s Queen Picasso earned a career-best 78 Beyer Speed Figure when cutting back to seven furlongs to capture Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Soaring Softly over Belmont Park’s Widener turf course.
Queen Picasso, a bay Kingman filly, entered the sprint for sophomore fillies off a debut triumph on March 5 going 1 1/16 miles over the Gulfstream Park turf, defeating next-out winner Soviet Excess while utilizing pace-pressing tactics from second down the backstretch. The pair battled down the stretch with Queen Picasso winning by a half-length.
Queen Picasso had a similar trip in the Soaring Softly, closely tracking the early foot of the Eric Cancel-piloted American Apple before matching strides with the Grade 3 Matron winner in upper stretch and kicking clear in the final furlong to a two-length score. Jockey Jose Ortiz was aboard for both wins.
Trainer Christophe Clement reported that his newly minted graded stakes winner emerged from her victory in good order, and will likely see added ground in her near future.
“She showed speed in her training, so it was fun to try her back going seven-eighths,” Clement said. “Because of the program, we’ll probably have to go back to a mile. I have time to talk to [racing manager] Bradley Weisbord and then we can go from there.”
Viable options at one mile for Queen Picasso include the $150,000 Wild Applause on June 24 at Belmont and/or the Grade 3, $175,000 Lake George on July 21 at Saratoga Race Course.
Clement praised Ortiz for a well-executed ride.
“He didn’t want Cancel to steal the race and get away,” Clement said. “She was always comfortable and she was always moving well.”
Bred in Great Britain by D. Farrington and Canning Downs, Queen Picasso is out of the group-placed Danroad mare Aris, whose dam Cumbres is a half-sister to 1999 European Champion 3-Year-Old Montjeu. She was bought for $285,241 at the 2021 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
Clement doubled up on Saturday stakes scores when Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco and William Branch’s Big Everest captured his fourth straight win in the Cliff Hanger over the Monmouth Park turf.
The gelded son of The Gurkha entered the 1 1/16-mile Cliff Hanger off a triumphant 5-year-old debut in the Danger’s Hour on April 15 at Aqueduct Racetrack, where he held off a late rally from next out stakes winner Anaconda to win by a nose. He completed his 2022 season with a win in the November 13 Artie Schiller at the Big A.
“He keeps winning, I like that,” said Clement, who added that no plans have yet been determined for his next start.
Big Everest, bred in Great Britain by Newsells Park Stud, is out of the graded stakes-placed Whywhywhy mare Long Face. He was bought for $322,413 at the Goffs Arqana 2020 Breeze Up Sale.
Dr. Schivel pointing to G2 True North
After a sharp comeback win off a 14-month layoff, California-based sprinter Dr. Schivel will take his talents to New York for the Grade 2, $250,000 True North on June 10, Belmont Stakes Day.
Trained by Mark Glatt, Dr. Schivel earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure when defeating fellow millionaire C Z Rocket – second in Saturday’s Grade 2 Triple Bend at Santa Anita – by 4 1/4 lengths in a six-furlong allowance at Santa Anita. The win was the 5-year-old son of Violence’s first start since finishing third in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in March 2022.
“We were real happy with it. We didn’t expect that, but he did it and he came back well, so now we’re seriously looking at the True North,” Glatt said.
Dr. Schivel was a Grade 1 winner at 2 and 3 at Del Mar when he captured the 2020 Del Mar Futurity and defeated older horses in the following year’s Bing Crosby. He was a close second to Aloha West in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, also at Del Mar.
“He just needed time. I’ve had him now for some time and he just gets a little jammed up at times,” Glatt said of the lengthy hiatus. “He’s a good horse and we just take good care of him. When he starts getting a little jammed up, we’ve got to give him time and he tells us when he’s ready to start doing things again.”
Dr. Schivel is owned by Red Baron’s Barn, Rancho Temescal, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and co-breeder William A. Branch. He is out of the Mining for Money mare Lil Nugget and comes from the same family as Grade 1-winning millionaire Ultra Blend.
Raise Cain to breeze Monday for G1 Belmont Stakes
Andrew and Rania Warren’s Grade 3 Gotham-winner Raise Cain will breeze on Monday at Keeneland in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
Trained by Ben Colebrook, the Violence bay was a troubled eighth last out in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, finishing 10 lengths back of the victorious Mage. He had his first work back on May 22 at Keeneland, covering a half-mile in 50.80 seconds.
"He's come out of the Derby good and he'll work again tomorrow,” said Colebrook by phone from Kentucky. “If all is well, we'll ship up right before the race. He'll do all his work here."
Raise Cain saved ground in ninth position through the early running of the Derby and made his move into the stretch only to be stymied by the fading pace presser Kingsbarns.
“He had a good trip early, but late in the race he got wiped out by Kingsbarns stopping and Disarm was coming and we got sandwiched and shuffled back. But he came running again to get up for eighth,” Colebrook said.
The $180,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase rose to prominence with his 7 1/2-length Gotham romp in March at Aqueduct Racetrack traveling a one-turn mile over a muddy and sealed main track.
Recruiter and Carmel Road dueled through swift splits of 22.52 seconds and 45.53 in the Gotham, but Raise Cain, who was 11th-of-14 early, advanced willingly under Jose Lezcano, overcoming traffic problems at the quarter-pole before swinging four-wide to take command with an eighth to run and drawing clear.
The talented bay exited that effort to finish a late-moving fifth into slow fractions in the Grade 1 Blue Grass in April at Keeneland, closing from 10th-of-11 in the nine-furlong route won by Belmont Stakes-rival Tapit Trice.
With a moderate pace often the norm in the 12-furlong Belmont, Colebrook said he is entrusting jockey Junior Alvarado with working out a more prominent trip.
“I don't think we'll get as much pace in the Belmont as we got in the Gotham unfortunately. So, we’ll have to work out a different trip,” Colebrook said. “In the Blue Grass, we were just a little too far back off of slow fractions. If there's slow fractions in the Belmont, we're going to have to be a little bit closer and I think Junior will be great for that.”
Colebrook, a former assistant for New York-based Christophe Clement, enjoyed past success in 2018 at Belmont with Limousine Liberal, who he saddled to a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Met Mile and a neck victory over Whitmore in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship.
“I remember going there the first time when I was working for Christophe Clement and everyone tells you how big it is,” said Colebrook of the famous Big Sandy. “But then you get out there as an exercise rider and the sheer size and scope of the place is like nothing else. It's a different atmosphere for a horse with those sweeping turns.”
Pedigree could be on Raise Cain’s side in the Belmont being sired by a son of Medaglia d’Oro, who finished second in the 2002 Belmont Stakes. His dam, Lemon Belle, is by Lemon Drop Kid, who won the 1999 Belmont Stakes.
There’s significant route depth to Raise Cain's profile as his second dam is multiple graded-stakes winner Queenie Belle, who produced millionaire and 2010 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic winner Unrivaled Belle.
Colebrook said Andrew and Rania Warren’s stakes-winner Scoobie Quando was a little flat going into his off-the-board effort last out in the Grade 2 American Turf on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
The Uncle Mo sophomore had his first work back on Friday at Keeneland, covering a half-mile in 50.60 over the lawn.
“He's doing good. I don't really know what happened that day. He was uncharacteristically dull and quiet before the race and he kind of ran that way, so we're just freshening him back up,” Colebrook said. “He worked on the turf at Keeneland on Friday and all went smooth. We haven't picked out a target yet, but he's a nice horse and we'll get him back in a race shortly.”
Scoobie Quando made his first three starts over the Turfway Park synthetic, graduating on debut in the Turfway Prevue and finishing second two starts later in the John Battaglia Memorial. He was off-the-board in his lone dirt try in the Grade 1 Blue Grass.
“We experimented with the dirt because he's an Uncle Mo and you have to with a 3-year-old colt, but his female family is all turf,” Colebrook said. “We’ll stick to turf or synthetic. There's nothing wrong with having a turf horse right now.”
Scoobie Quando, out of the multiple graded-stakes winning turfer Daveron, is a half-sibling to March to the Arch – a dual graded-winner on turf - and Global Access, who won a graded race on both turf and synthetic. Scoobie Quando was purchased for $160,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
White Abarrio training forwardly towards G1 Metropolitan H.
C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s Grade 1-winner White Abarrio continues to train well into an anticipated start in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 10 at Belmont Park for trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr.
White Abarrio, who won the Grade 1 Florida Derby last year, last worked a half-mile in 50.68 seconds on May 21 at Gulfstream Park when in the care of previous conditioner Saffie Joseph, Jr. He joined the Dutrow, Jr. barn last week and is expected to breeze again at Belmont sometime in the coming days.
“He’s doing OK,” said Dutrow, Jr. “He hasn’t worked since we had him, but I hope we’ll breeze him Tuesday. He seems to fit in to the barn nicely.”
The 4-year-old son of Race Day was last seen winning a March 4 optional-claiming event at Gulfstream where he earned a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure. His lone start in the Empire State came in December when finishing a gusty third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Dutrow, Jr. is looking forward to a start in stakes company for the stakes-placed Prince of Pharoahs in Monday’s $200,000 Commentator, a 1 1/16-mile main track test for New York-breds. The son of American Pharoah was a 4 1/2-length winner against open optional claiming company going one mile on May 6 where he garnered an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. He earned his lone stakes placing when dead heating with Bourbon Bay for second in the 2020 Jerome when trained by Linda Rice.
“He’s training good and we’re happy with him,” said Dutrow, Jr. “He’s been lots of fun to train and is fun to be around.”
Trio of Appleby trainees clear quarantine, stretch legs over training track
The Charlie Appleby-trained triad of Godolphin-owned group winners With The Moonlight, Silver Knott and Siskany cleared quarantine on Sunday at Belmont Park and enjoyed a light gallop over the dirt training track as they prepare for upcoming starts at the Elmont oval.
Chris Connett, Appleby’s traveling assistant, reported all went well with the trio as they exercised around 10:30 a.m. under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s. All three horses arrived in New York on Friday.
“I think they were happy to get out of quarantine and see a bit of daylight,” Connett said, with a laugh. “They had a little hack around the track just to stretch their legs and seemed to handle the track nicely. The riders came back with positive feedback and I’m very happy with it.”
The top earner of the three, With The Moonlight, boasts $916,154 in earnings and is possible for either the Grade 1 New York at 10 furlongs or the Grade 1 Just a Game at one mile, both over the Belmont green on Friday, June 9. The 4-year-old daughter of Frankel began her season with a pair of Group 2 victories at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates when taking the Cape Verdi and the Balanchine.
She was a hard-trying second to In Italian in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley on April 15 at Keeneland and was last seen finishing distant sixth in the Group 2 Howden Dahlia on May 7 over soft Newmarket turf.
“She’s a phenomenal filly and has two wins this year,” said Connett. “She ran on the soft ground at Newmarket, which wasn’t ideal. She shipped over really well and has filled out into her frame a bit from three to four. She ran some nice races in Dubai this winter and ran a great race down at Keeneland – In Italian is a very nice horse.”
With The Moonlight had a productive American campaign last summer when winning the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational in August at Saratoga Race Course, which came between runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational and the Grade 2 Lake Placid.
Siskany, a 5-year-old son of Dubawi, is targeting the Grade 2, $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup at 2-miles over the lawn on Friday, June 9. The bay gelding arrives from a close fifth-place finish in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup on May 19 traveling 1 3/4 miles at York. His lone start at the Belmont Gold Cup distance came two starts back when defeated a neck by multiple group-winner Broome in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup on March 25 at Meydan.
“He ran in Dubai and finished second to a very nice horse in Broome,” said Connett. “His last run wasn’t quite as we hoped, but he comes here over a trip he really likes over ground he should really like as well. Fingers crossed. A lot of things can happen [in longer grass races], but he’s pretty straightforward and hopefully he can back up to two miles and run a big race.”
The lightly-raced Silver Knott will make his second North American start in the Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong turf test for sophomores this Saturday.
The talented son of Lope de Vega made his sophomore debut last out in the Group 1 2,000 Guineas on May 6 at Newmarket where he finished an uncharacteristic 11th after attending the pace early and weakening two furlongs from the wire.
He posted a strong juvenile campaign that saw him claim Group 3 victories in the Solario in August at Sandown Park and the Autumn in October at Newmarket before suffering a narrow nose defeat to Victoria Road in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Keeneland.
“He’s taken to it here really well in his second trip to the states,” said Connett. “He wintered well and we’ll hopefully see the horse we saw at the Breeders’ Cup.”
Out of the multiple group-winning Nathaniel mare God Given, Silver Knott was purchased for 725,000 guineas [$1,035,915] at the 2021 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and boasts a 7-3-1-1 record with $272,676 in total purse earnings.
Early look at probables for the G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets
HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER / OWNER
Angel of Empire / Flavien Prat / Brad Cox / Albaugh Family Stables
Arcangelo / Javier Castellano / Jena Antonucci / Blue Rose Farm
Forte / Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Todd Pletcher / Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
Hit Show / Manny Franco / Brad Cox / Gary and Mary West
Il Miracolo / Marcos Meneses / Antonio Sano / Alexandres
National Treasure / John Velazquez / Bob Baffert / SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan
Raise Cain / Junior Alvarado / Ben Colebrook / Andrew Warren & Rania Warren
Red Route One / Joel Rosario / Steve Asmussen / Winchell Thoroughbreds
Tapit Trice / Luis Saez / Todd Pletcher / Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable
Possible: Prove Worthy (Pletcher), Reincarnate (Baffert), Tapit Shoes (Cox)
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 BelmontStakes.com.