G2 Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry headed to 149th Belmont Stakes
by NYRA Press Office
Isabelle de Tomaso’s New Jersey homebred Irish War Cry, whose multiple Grade 2 wins include the April 8 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack, will make his next start in the 149th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets, June 10 at Belmont Park.
Trainer Graham Motion said Sunday that Irish War Cry exited his Saturday morning work in good order and, after speaking with de Tomaso, decided to point to the last and longest leg of racing’s Triple Crown.
“That’s definitely what we intend to do, as long as things go well the next couple of days. She’s very much on board with taking a chance,” Motion said. “Obviously, we feel like he didn’t run his race on Derby day.”
The 1 ½-mile Belmont will be the first start for Irish War Cry since weakening to 10th after prompting a brisk early pace in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby May 6 at Churchill Downs.
In company with Grade 1 Manhattan-bound stablemate Ascend, Irish War Cry breezed six furlongs in 1:14 over the main dirt track at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland, where Motion is stabled. New York-based jockey Rajiv Maragh, aboard for both the Wood and the Derby, will retain the mount in the Belmont.
“If we were going to consider running him he needed to have a solid work, and I think he did,” Motion said. “I thought he looked good this morning. We weighed him and he’s put on 10 pounds since the Derby. We’re very pleased with him.”
In his other post-Derby work, Irish War Cry went five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the Fair Hill dirt May 27. He skipped the Grade 1 Preakness May 20 at Pimlico, won by Cloud Computing, who was a distant third behind Irish War Cry in the Wood.
Motion said Irish War Cry would van to Belmont following training Wednesday morning at Fair Hill.
Joining Irish War Cry as Belmont Stakes contenders are Classic Empire, Epicharis, Hollywood Handsome, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiplier, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit and Twisted Tom, while Gormley remains possible to bring the prospective field to 13.
“I think sometimes we overthink these things a little bit. Right after the Derby, I was just so discouraged that I didn’t even want to think about another Triple Crown race,” Motion said. “Watching him train and seeing how well he’s doing being back at Fair Hill and then seeing the result of the Preakness, obviously he’s run well with those horses before. It made me think more about it. It’s a Classic, it only comes around once in a horse’s lifetime and I think he deserves another chance.”