by NYRA Press Office
Barry Schwartz's Voodoo Song made another step towards his comeback on Sunday morning with a five-furlong work over the Belmont Park inner turf going the distance in 1:01.21 in company with stablemate Mount Travers.
Trained by Linda Rice, Voodoo Song last raced in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October, where he finished twelfth. Two starts prior to that effort, he won the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga.
"He's still carrying a little extra weight and we're going to try for one more breeze," Rice said. "He's much heavier right now than he has been in the past, so we're trying to get him there but he's still got a lot of weight on him so we're working on it."
Rice said a start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Forbidden Apple on July 12 at Saratoga is still within reach for Voodoo Song.
"It's still on the radar. I don't know if we'll make it, but we're pointing towards it," Rice said.
Bred in New York by Stonewall Farm, Voodoo Song, a son of English Channel, is out of the stakes winning Unbridled's Song broodmare Mystic Chant.
Rice also said New York-bred stakes winners Newly Minted and Blindwillie McTell are likely for stakes action at Finger Lakes on July 20.
A daughter of Central Banker, Newly Minted will target the $75,000 New York Oaks while three-time stakes winner Blindwillie McTell will point to the $150,000 New York Derby.
"They're probably both going to Finger Lakes to run in the stakes over there and then come back for the [$250,000] Albany and the [$200,000] Fleet Indian [at Saratoga]," Rice said.
Owned by Jerold Zaro, Blindwillie McTell won the Mike Lee - the first leg of the Big Apple Triple - last time out on May 27 at Belmont Park. Beach Haven Thoroughbreds' Newly Minted was handed her first loss in four career starts in her most recent run in the Cupecoy's Joy division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series.
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Aidan O'Brien to send trio of contenders for Turf Triple series
Trainer Aidan O'Brien will be represented by multiple group winner Just Wonderful in the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational and Blenheim Palace and Cape of Good Hope in next Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational as the first legs of the newly-minted Turf Triple series gets underway.
Just Wonderful, a bay daughter of Dansili out of the Montjeu mare Wading, captured the Group 3 Flame of Tara Irish E.B.F. at the Curragh in September and two starts later was victorious in the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel at Newmarket. She completed her 2-year-old campaign with a good fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Winless in three sophomore starts, including an eighth last out in the Group 1 Coronation at Ascot, Just Wonderful comes from the same family as last year's Belmont Oaks-winner Athena.
Blenheim Palace, by Galileo and out of the Storm Cat dam Meow, is a full brother to stallion and four-time Group 1-winner Churchill, who was the top-rated 2-year-old colt in Europe in 2016. Blenheim Palace graduated in April over 10 furlongs of soft turf at Navan and followed up with a second in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown at the same distance on yielding turf.
On Saturday, the talented chestnut finished a strong second in the Group 3 Full of Surprises International at the Curragh over 1 1/4-miles of good going. The quick turnback echoes O'Brien's success in last year's Belmont Oaks with Athena, who finished third in the Group 1 Pretty Polly just six days before her Belmont Oaks triumph.
Cape of Good Hope, a full-brother to world-travelling multiple Group/Grade 1-winner Highland Reel, graduated in April over 10 furlongs of good going at Epsom. After finishing fourth on June 2 in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club, Cape of Good Hope followed up on June 20 with a an off-the-board effort in the Group 3 Hampton Court on soft turf at Ascot.
The O'Brien contingent is slated to arrive in New York on Tuesday and clear quarantine for training on July 4.
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Clement looking to close Belmont stand with formidable stakes contenders
With six victories in his last 10 starts dating back to last Sunday, trainer Christophe Clement now has 14 wins heading into the final week of the Belmont spring/summer meet and is looking to close the stand strong.
"Things have been going good," said Clement. "All our horses have been running well at the moment and we'll look to keep that momentum going into the final week and going forward to Saratoga."
On Sunday, Clement will saddle 4-year-old New York-bred Sea Foam in the $100,000 Saginaw in his first start since winning an allowance race on June 8 and Clement will also saddle a pair of contenders in next Friday's $100,000 River Memories with Sky Full of Stars and Homeland Security,who each put in breezes on the Belmont inner turf this weekend with Sky Full of Stars breezing four furlongs in 48.68 seconds this morning and Homeland Security going five furlongs in 1:03.20 on Saturday.
"They are each continuing to train well," said Clement. "The River Memories looks to be a competitive race, but we'll give it our best."
Out of town, Clement picked up a third-place in the Grade 1 Highlander at Woodbine Racetrack with Robert Evans' 4-year-old homebred White Flag making his first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf on January 12 at Gulfstream Park.
"He ran well," said Clement. "It was his first time back and he ran a nice race. The winner was probably the best horse and we could have benefited from a bit more racing luck, but it was a nice return race for him."
Clement also reported multiple graded-stakes winner Disco Partner for owner and breeder Patricia Generazio was on target to make his next start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy on August 3 at Saratoga and multiple graded-stakes winner Pure Sensation, for the same connections, would make his next start in the Grade 3 Parx Dash at Parx next Saturday.
"Disco Partner we'll look to bring back in the Troy. It's a great spot for him," said Clement. "Pure Sensation will point to the Parx Dash. If he comes out of that race well, we potentially could run him back in Saratoga in September and then perhaps both could compete in the Belmont Turf Sprint in the fall. We'll see how things go."
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Terranova keeping turf a possibility for Syndergaard
With two seconds and one-third place finish from five starts this year, New York-bred Syndergaard, trained by John Terranova, has had a productive campaign despite not reaching the winners circle this year.
Syndergaard, who finished second in the Grade 1 Champagne as a juvenile, joined the Terranova barn in July of 2018 and finished his 4-year-old year with an allowance win at Aqueduct in December.
After kicking off his year with a second-place finish in the Say Florida Sandy in January, he also picked up second-place finish in the Haynesfield on February 17 at Aqueduct. Following a fifth-place effort in the Grade 3 Tom Fool on March 9, Syndergaard ran third in the Affirmed Success on April 26 at Belmont and most recently finished fourth in the Commentator on May 27.
For the second consecutive week, the 5-year-old son of Majesticperfection breezed four furlongs on the inner turf completing the move in 49.40 seconds. Already happy with his performances on the dirt, Terranova said he has been satisfied with Syndergaard's works on the turf.
"It's a possibility we may try him on the turf," said Terranova. "We like the way he's moved over it in his last works. It's just something we've talked about with the owners and we're keeping it in mind as an option. We've been happy with him and hopefully this can open up some more options for him going forward so we'll keep it in mind."
Funny Guy finished a solid second in his turf debut going six furlongs in the New York Stallion Stakes Series Spectacular Bid on June 23 and Terranova said he would look to keep the 3-year-old Big Brown colt on the grass in the $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway on July 24 at Saratoga Race Course.
"The surface switch seemed to go really well for him," said Terranova. "He really ran big and was moving toward the winner. We'll look to stretch him out to a mile in the Cab Calloway next. The way he finished up strong last time it looked like more ground would benefit him so we hope that's the case going forward."
Long Lake Stable's Stan the Man, a 5-year-old son of Broken Vow, began the year with back-to-back allowance victories.
A game second in the Grade 3 Westchester on May 4, he most recently picked up a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 True North. Terranova said Stan the Man would next point toward the $100,000 Alydar on August 2 at Saratoga.
"We gave him a bit a freshening," said Terranova. "We were pleased with his effort in the True North and we'll look at the Alydar at Saratoga."
Lastly, Terranova said he would look to rebound with 4-year-old filly Broadway Run,who last out ran fourth when making her graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Intercontinental on June 6.
"She really gave a good effort," said Terranova. "She was only beaten a couple lengths, so we're really happy with her. We'll look to move forward from here and that effort was encouraging."
Brown contingent trains on turf and dirt
Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown sent out eight workers over the Belmont inner turf on Sunday morning in preparation for upcoming stakes events.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Bricks and Mortar, who is pointed to the Grade 1 Arlington Million, worked in company with Peter Brant's Raging Bull, who is under consideration for the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave.
Bricks and Mortar, currently on a five-race win streak including Grade 1 wins in the Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and the Manhattan at Belmont last out, breezed outside of last year's Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Raging Bull, covering five furlongs in 1:00.63.
Up next was a quartet of contenders for the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana slated for July 13 at Saratoga.
The brilliant Rushing Fall, a winner of eight of nine starts for owners e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, breezed in company with Brant's 2018 Eclipse Award Champion Turf Female Sistercharlie covering five furlongs in 1:00.40.
Madaket Stables, Tom Coleman, Team Hanley, Elayne Stable 5, and Long Lake Stable's Rymska, recently second in a pair of Grade 1s including the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and the Gamely at Santa Anita, breezed outside of Brant's Grade 2 New York winner Homerique with the duo stopping the clock in 1:01.25.
The final pairing saw Convento Viejo's 2018 Grade 1 Arlington Million winner Robert Bruce breeze outside of Brant's Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks hopeful Cafe Americano, with the pair covering four furlongs in 48.05.
Brown, the runaway leader of the Belmont spring/summer meet with 36 wins heading into Sunday's card, also sent out a bevy of graded stakes winners for half-mile breezes on the main track including Annals of Time (48.95), Competitionofideas (48.92), Long Haul Bay (47.75), and Significant Form (48.55).
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Cross Country Pick 5 with Monmouth Park and Woodbine handles $77K
Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 sequence featuring races from Belmont Park, and Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario handled $77,333 returning $403 for the minimum 50 cent wager.
The multi-race wager began with the Grade 2 Dance Smartly going 1 ¼ miles on the turf at Woodbine where Stronach Stable's post-time favorite Holy Helena for trainer Jimmy Jerkens bested a field of eight to win by 1 ¼ lengths returning $4.70 for a $2 win wager.
In the next leg, the Grade 1 Highlander for 3-year-olds and upward, Wet Your Whistle for trainer Michael Trombetta and owner David Palmer, rallied with a late drive from off the pace to earn his first graded stakes victory returning $9.30.
The sequence then switched to Belmont Park for the Grade 2 Mother Goose where 1-5 favorite Dunbar Road comfortably won by 2 ½ lengths to earn her first graded stakes win for owner Peter Brant and trainer Chad Brown.
The action then moved up north to Woodbine for the $1 million Queens Plate as One Bad Boy for conditioner Richard Baltas outdueled Avie's Flatter in the stretch to earn her second career victory from five starts returning $9.70 for the 3 ½ length win.
The sequence closed with the final race from Saturday at Belmont Park, a six-furlong allowance race for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up over the inner turf where Getmotherarose rallied to victory providing jockey Jose Ortiz his fourth win of the day with the victory paying $8.40.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents, featuring a 15 percent takeout and a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country.
For more information on the Cross Country Pick 5, please visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/cross-country-wagers.