Stakes Advance
Sep 23, 2021
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Senbei seeks second career stakes score in Bertram F. Bongard

by Keith McCalmont



Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Darlene Bilinski’s Senbei will look to double up on stakes wins in Sunday’s $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard, a seven-furlong sprint for New York-bred juveniles, at Belmont Park.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Candy Ride chestnut is undefeated from two career starts at Saratoga Race Course, including a 4 3/4-length maiden score over a muddy track in July and a gate-to-wire win last out in the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide on August 27 against fellow state-breds.

Senbei exited the inside post in the Funny Cide and set swift splits of 22 seconds and 44.88 on the fast main track, opening up a 4 1/2-length lead at the stretch call and staying on strong for a 2 3/4-length score.

“He's 2-for-2 and each start was very impressive. He's a nice horse,” Clement said. “He showed a lot of speed in his last start, the only question mark he will have is if he can be as effective going seven-eighths as he was going shorter. The only way to find out is to try.”

Bred by Dr. Jerry Bilinski, the $280,000 Keenland January Horses of All Ages Sale purchase is a half-sibling to multiple stakes winners Indy’s Lady and Filibustin.

Senbei, who worked five-eighths in 59.60 on the Belmont main track September 18, will emerge from post 3 under returning rider Manny Franco.

“Manny knows him very well and he had a good work with him here last weekend,” Clement said.

Iris Smith Stable’s Shipsational will look to secure a first career stakes win on Saturday. Trained by Edward Barker, the Midshipman chestnut was a romping 6 3/4-length debut winner in July sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs against fellow state-breds over a sloppy and sealed main track at Saratoga.

Shipsational, bred by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone, followed with a difficult trip last out when bumped repeatedly at the start of the Funny Cide on August 27, finishing fourth.

A $210,000 purchase at the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, Shipsational will exit the inside post under regular rider Luis Saez.

Ten Strike Racing’s Whittington Park, a Midnight Lute bay, graduated at second asking by 7 1/2-lengths in a 6 1/2-furlong main-track sprint on August 18 at Saratoga. Out of the Forestry mare See the Forest, the Brad Cox-trained Whittington Park is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Critical Value.

Bred by Marshall Gramm and Clay Sanders, Whittington Park will leave post 4 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Rounding out the field are Funny Cide third-place finisher Happy Happy B [post 5, Jose Ortiz], who is cross-entered in a state-bred maiden event on Saturday at Belmont; and last-out state-bred maiden winner Surprise Boss [post 2, Jose Lezcano].

The Bertram F. Bongard is slated as Race 4 on Sunday’s 10-race card, which also features the Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up scheduled for Race 9. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.


NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont Park, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.


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