Cirona to make North American debut in G1 Belmont Oaks; will be transferred to Chad Brown
by NYRA Press Office
Belmont Park Notes
· Cirona to make North American debut in G1 Belmont Oaks; will be transferred to Chad Brown
· Safe Conduct stretches out in G1 Belmont Derby
· Bound for Nowhere on target for G3 Troy
· Saratoga Race Course Week 1 stakes probables
Peter Bradley said he is excited to see the North American debut of Group 1-placed Cirona in Saturday’s Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, first leg of the Turf Triple series for sophomore fillies at Belmont Park.
Cirona, co-owned by Bradley Thoroughbreds with Tim Cambron, Anna Cambron, Kent Starr, Sara Starr and Gary Finder, was bred in Great Britain and campaigned in France by trainer Christophe Ferland, registering three triumphs led by a prominent victory in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte on April 18 at Longchamp going one mile.
After missing by a head after setting the pace in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary on May 24 in her 1 ¼-mile debut, the daughter of Maxios was a close tenth in the Group 1 Prix de Diane on June 20 at Chantilly.
Following the Belmont Oaks, Cirona is scheduled to remain in the United States, where she will race under the tutelage of four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown.
The National Weather Service calls for a 95 percent chance of rain showers the day before the Belmont Oaks, which could result in some give in the ground for Saturday’s race.
“A filly like this is right in Chad’s wheelhouse,” said Bradley. “It doesn’t look like there will be firm going up there. I don’t think some cut in the ground ever hurts with 90 percent of European horses. I don’t see where the turf will be problematic regardless of what it is this week.”
Bradley said Cirona should be able to deliver at ten furlongs, given how well she has performed at the distance in her last two starts. In the 1 5/16-mile Prix de Diane, Cirona was only beaten 3 ¼ lengths.
“When you’re beaten a head over a mile and a quarter, that means she can probably get the distance,” Bradley said. “The race in the Diane probably didn’t set up well for her. While she was tenth, she was only beaten three lengths. She broke her maiden first out over six furlongs. She’s shown a turn of foot, and she can be tactically placed. When she raced over in Europe, she’s been close to or on the lead, but she doesn’t need the lead. In these races, you should be in the first four of five spots if you can.”
Breaking from post 2, Cirona will be ridden by Jose Lezcano.
Bradley went on to express excitement in some possible stakes contenders for the upcoming Saratoga meet, including recent Wild Applause runner-up Minaun who will target the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George on July 23.
The Brown-trained Minaun won her United States debut in April, defeating winners going six furlongs over the Widener turf in her first start since capturing the Group 3 Marble Hill last July at Cork.
“Sometimes with these European horses, especially ones going from two to three, it takes them a while to acclimate,” Bradley said. “We would have liked to point to the Breeders’ Cup last year, but it didn’t happen. Chad is good at making sure that the second half of the 3-year-old year is what gets pointed for.”
Minaun is owned by Bradley Thoroughbreds in partnership with Iris Smith Stable and Rigney Racing.
La Signare, a last out second in the Grade 1 Gamely at Santa Anita on May 31, is probable for the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana on July 17, a race that Bradley previously captured with Dacita in 2016.
Winless in her last seven starts, the French-bred daughter of Siyouni trained by Brendan Walsh seeks her first victory since taking the Sand Springs last March at Gulfstream Park.
“She’s been knocking on the door and hopefully we’ll get past it in this race. She ran huge in the Gamely,” Bradley said.
La Signare, who boasts an 18-3-3-4 record, is owned by Bradley in partnership with Madaket Stables, Tim Cambron and Anna Cambron.
The same partnership, along with Team Hanley, owns recent graded stakes-winner Mintd, who upset Juliet Foxtrot to capture the Grade 3 Old Forester Mint Julep on June 12 at Churchill Downs for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Bradley said the Irish-bred daughter of Olympic Glory is possible for the Grade 2, $400,000 Ballston Spa on August 28.
Bradley and Walsh will also soon team up with Keeper of Time, who could make her North American debut during the Saratoga meet. The sophomore daughter of Mehmas recently defeated subsequent Group 1 winner Joan of Arc in the Group 3 Irish 1000 Guineas Trial on April 11 at Leopardstown.
Safe Conduct stretches out in G1 Belmont Derby
WellSpring Stables' Safe Conduct, trained by Philip Serpe, will make his Grade 1 debut in Saturday's Belmont Derby Invitational at 10-furlongs for sophomores on the inner turf.
A gate-to-wire maiden winner at second asking traveling 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga turf in August, Safe Conduct followed with a prominent second in a nine-furlong optional claimer on the Gulfstream Park turf in March to launch his sophomore season.
At odds of 38-1, the improving colt bested Public Sector, runner-up in Sunday's Manila at Belmont, on May 2 in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event on firm Belmont turf.
Last out, Safe Conduct was a distant fourth in the off-the-turf Grade 3 Pennine Ridge contested at nine furlongs on May 29 over a sloppy and sealed Belmont main track.
"We gave it a shot," said Serpe regarding the Pennine Ridge. "He's the kind of horse you'd think would run through anything, but he just didn't care for the track that day."
The Ontario-bred Bodemeister bay, a $45,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, is out of the Congrats mare Duchess Dancer. His second dam, Sararegal, produced Canada's 2008 Horse of the Year Fatal Bullet, runner-up to Midnight Lute in that year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.
"He's a big, tall strong horse and he loves to train. He just loves his job," said Serpe. "We didn't know if he was going be worth $10,000 or more, but we knew he loved what he did out there every morning and that's a good thing in a horse."
Safe Conduct, listed at 15-1 on the morning line, will exit post 3 under Jose Lezcano in Saturday's nine-horse field. Serpe said he expects a prominent trip as his charge stretches out to 10 furlongs for the first time.
"He's shown speed. In his first race, he sat off it," said Serpe. "I'd be looking for him to be towards the front somewhere, depending on what the other horses do. I'd expect to see him on the lead or close to the lead. He's pretty tractable. We'll let Jose Lezcano make that decision."
A talented field of international and local stars will line up for the first leg of the Turf Triple series on Saturday, including multiple Group 3-winner Bolshoi Ballet and last out Grade 2 American Turf-winner Du Jour, but Serpe said he is cautiously optimistic of Safe Conduct's chances.
"I think anyone in the race could win and you wouldn't be surprised," said Serpe. "There are some really nice horses in the race, but a lot of them still have something to prove, including him."
Serpe said a good result on Saturday could see Safe Conduct continue in the Turf Triple series, which features the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 7 and the $1 million Jockey Club Derby on September 18 back at Belmont.
However, the veteran conditioner said he also has to consider the $1 million Queen's Plate, a 10-furlong Tapeta test for Canadian-bred sophomores and first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, slated for August 22 at Woodbine Racetrack.
"If he were to win here, we'd have to give serious thought to the race at Saratoga," said Serpe. "But we also have to give serious thought to the Queen's Plate at $1 million on synthetic because he's a Canadian-bred. We'll get through Saturday and see what happens before we make a decision."
Bound for Nowhere on target for G3 Troy
Bound for Nowhere, who finished third last out in the Grade 1 Jackpocket Jaipur on June 5 at Belmont Park, will pursue another graded stake on the NYRA circuit for owner-trainer Wesley Ward when he runs in the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy presented by Horse Racing Ireland on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course.
The seven-time winning millionaire broke sharply in the six-furlong Jaipur with some company from fellow graded stakes winners Sombeyay and Gregorian Chant to his outside. Bound for Nowhere maintained command until just past the sixteenth-pole when passed by Casa Creed, who notched a two-length score over Chewing Gum.
While pleased with the effort, Ward said he would rather see Bound for Nowhere convey a late-closing running style which he showed when conquering the Grade 2 Shakertown under Joel Rosario on April 3 at Keeneland.
“From behind I think he’s better, especially as he gets older,” Ward said. “As luck would have it, he broke decent. He was kind of smoking out there the first part of the race. I was happy with the way he ran, but I would have rather seen him come from behind. It wasn’t Joel’s fault, I don’t give riding instructions. I was just really happy with the way he rode him in the Shakertown, where he came from well out of it and showed one big punch. I loved that ride.”
Bound for Nowhere, a 7-year-old son of The Factor, breezed an easy five-eighths over the turf at Belmont Park on Thursday morning in his second work following the Jaipur.
“He worked at Churchill the day after closing day along with Golden Pal,” Ward said. “I like to keep them on the grass, so I shipped them to Belmont to work them on the grass at Belmont.”
Ward said Golden Pal will target the Grade 3, $120,000 Quick Call on July 15, Opening Day at the Spa. The son of Uncle Mo, out of 11-time stakes-winner Lady Shipman, last raced when capturing the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 6 at Keeneland.
Golden Pal also worked five-eighths over the Belmont turf on Thursday morning.
“From what I see with him in the mornings, he’s just extremely talented,” Ward said.
Golden Pal finished a close second as a maiden in the Group 2 Norfolk at Ascot last June at second asking. On his return to North America, Golden Pal graduated in style with a front-running score in the Skidmore in August at Saratoga.
Ward said Stonestreet Stables’ Campanelle has returned from her recent Royal Ascot conquest in good order.
The Irish-bred daughter of Kodiac crossed the wire second in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup on June 18, but was elevated to first following the disqualification of Dragon Symbol. The victory marked a second straight Royal Ascot conquest for Campanelle, who won the Group 2 Queen Mary last summer at the prestigious race meet.
Campanelle is currently at Keeneland training for her next test which will likely take place in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest on August 8 at Deauville in France. Last year, she captured the Group 1 Prix Morny at the French racetrack.
“She’s ready for a work,” Ward said. “We’re in a little bit of a pickle because we’re mandated to breeze on the dirt. That’s her home track and that’s where she thrives. Her race is about a month from now in France.”
Saratoga Race Course week 1 stakes probables
Thursday, July 15
Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville
Probable: Cartel Queen (Tom Amoss), Eagle Express (Steve Asmussen), Happy Soul (Wesley Ward), Mainstay (Robert Reid, Jr.), Pipeline Girl (Tom Amoss), Pretty Birdie (Norm Casse), Queen Camilla (Antonio Sano), Saucy Lady T (James Chapman)
Possible: Sax (Derrick Bright)
Grade 3, $120,000 Quick Call
Probable: Fauci (Philip Antonacci), Golden Pal (Wesley Ward), Jaxon Traveler (Steve Asmussen), Omaha City (Amzadali Jehaludi), Rebel Posse (Matt Hebert), Second of July (Philip Gleaves)
Saturday, July 17
Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford
Probable: Candy Landing (Brendan Walsh), Due Vini (Kelly Breen), Headline Report (Wesley Ward), Kavod (James Chapman), Lucago (Antonio Sano), Maryland Brando (Gary Contessa), Ottoman Empire (Tom Amoss), Seize the Night (Dallas Stewart), Trust Our Journey (Carlos David)
Grade 1, $500,000 Diana
Probable: Althiqa (Charlie Appleby), Harvey’s Lil Goil (Bill Mott), La Signare (Brendan Walsh), Lemista (Chad Brown), Magic Attitude (Arnaud Delacour), Pocket Square (Chad Brown), Summer Romance (Charlie Appleby)
Sunday, July 18
$120,000 Coronation Cup
Probable: Goin’ Good (Brad Cox), Illegal Smile (Wesley Ward), Lemos Cunha (Caio Caramori), Mischiefful (Ian Wilkes), Star Devine (Jorge Abreu)
Possible: Bay Storm (Jonathan Thomas), Evoking (Jonathan Thomas)