New York-breds to shine on Memorial Day at Belmont Park
by NYRA Press Office
The spotlight will shine on New York-breds on Monday as part of Big Apple Showcase Day. The Memorial Day card features six stakes worth $900,000 for horses bred in the Empire State.
NYRA TV's Belmont Park Live will feature a tribute to decorated war horse Staff Sergeant Reckless during Monday's Memorial Day Special show, airing May 29th. The chestnut mare earned two Purple Hearts, two Navy Presidential Unit Citations, a Navy Unit Commendation and several other awards serving as a pack horse for the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, where she carried supplies and ammunition to troops in battle and evacuated wounded soldiers from the battlefield.
The show will also pay tribute to military at racetracks around the country. The day will feature a 10-race program with a scheduled first race post time of 1:30 p.m.
Chad Brown will be represented by a trio of contenders in the $125,000 Mount Vernon for fillies and mares at a mile on the Widener turf, kicking off the day's stakes action as Race 4 and led by Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stable's Fourstar Crook. A 5-year-old mare by Freud, Fourstar Crook won six races in a row since breaking her maiden in October 2015. This will be her first start since closing out her 4-year-old season in the John Hettinger last September at Belmont.
Brown will also send 2016 Grade 2 Lake George winner Ancient Secret, who most recently finished third in the Pebbles last October, and Ack Naughty, a 7 ½-length optional claiming winner in November.
The Mount Vernon will also include NYSS Cupecoy's Joy winner Louisville First, NYSS Statue of Liberty winner Free N Clear, 2016 Grade 3 Arlington Matron heroine Flipcup, and Freudie Anne, putting her three-race win streak on the line. Little Bear Cat is entered for the main track only.
The stakes schedule will conclude with Race 10 with the 40th running of the $125,000 Bouwerie for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Two-times stakes winner Bluegrass Flag, who beat state breds last out after winning the Cicada on March 25 for trainer Tom Morley, has three wins and a runner-up effort in five career starts. Toni Tools, for trainer Todd Pletcher, will make her fifth straight stakes start and was second in her only previous race at the Bouwerie distance. Timely Tradition, who has won her last two starts, will make her first stakes appearance for trainer Christophe Clement. Swing and Sway, Tiznow's Smile, Frosty Gal, North End, Holiday Disguise, Noble Freud, Bree's Hot Heart and Wilburnmoney comprise the rest of the field.
Picco Uno will look to win her fifth consecutive race as part of a field of 11 fillies and mares 3-years-old and up in the $200,000 Critical Eye at one mile. Picco Uno will enter Race 6 looking to build on a 5-3-1 record in 10 career starts in her stakes debut for trainer Jason Servis. Wonderment, who captured the 2016 Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, is the field's only graded stakes winner. Bee Noteworthy, trained by H. James Bond, will also make her first stakes start after posting four wins and a pair of runner-up finishes in her last six starts. Kathryn the Wise, 2-for-2 to start her career, will go up against stakes competition for the first time. JC's Shooting Star, Tricky Zippy, Jules N Rome, Big Mara, Play Me a Memory, Daisy Cutter and Literata, round out the field.
The $200,000 Commentator, for 3-year-olds and up at a mile, will feature a rematch of the top four runners of last year's edition as well as new shooters in Diversify, who earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for a second-place finish to Rally Cry in an April 30 allowance at Belmont, and New York Derby winner Hit It Once More.
Red and Black Stable's Weekend Hideaway will try to repeat in this year's Commentator, which has also attracted Rudy Rodriguez trainees Royal Posse and Eye Luv Lulu, who were second and third, respectively, last year. Celtic Chaos, Bellamy Way, Loki's Vengeance, Governor Malibu, Empire Dreams and Gypsum Johnny will also run.
In the $125,000 Mike Lee for 3-year-olds, Syndergaard will return for his first start at Belmont Park since finishing second by a nose to Practical Joke in the Grade 1 Champagne last fall. Trained by Pletcher, the son of Majesticperfection last out finished fourth on April 29 in the William Walker Stakes at Churchill Downs and will face a field of eight including August Dawn farms' Bavaro for trainer Gary Sciacca, Pat On the back for trainer Ken McPeek and owner Harold Lerner, Blame the Thief, Runaway Lute, Terry O Geri, T Loves a Fight and Blue Belt for trainer Larry Rivelli and owner Carolyn Wilson.
The $125,000 Kingston for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the turf, will feature a pair of hard knocking New York-breds and fan favorites in 10-year-old Lubash for Aliyu Ben J Stables and 8-year-old Kharafa for owner Paul Braverman and trainer Timothy Hills. Also expected is Get Jets for trainer Tony Dutrow owners Team D, Iron Power for trainer Mike Hushion for owner Barry K. Shwartz and Fox Rules for trainer David Cannizzo and Ivery Sisters Racing.