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.
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