Coming out of the #1 hole is Declan’s Warrior, who rose to 3yo sprinting prominence by winning the GIII Bayshore Stakes over at Aqueduct on Wood Memorial day. He followed up that win with another in the Gygistar Stakes here at Belmont last out where he closed with a furious rush to get up in time by a neck in a snappy 1:20.4 for that 7f tilt!
Capo Bastone , made a sprinting name for himself in the GIII Derby Trial Stakes on Churchill’s opening night last out where he came roaring down the Churchill center from way back to miss the winner’s circle by just a neck.
Forty Tales , was the winner of that GIII Derby Trial Stakes on Churchill’s opening night last out as he too made a late run then was fortunate enough to hold off Capo Bastone, for the win!
Zee Bros , was further back in that same GIII Derby Trial Stakes with a 6th finish then returned in the $100k Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico to win by an easy 2 1/4 lengths there last out!
Honorable Dillon , winner of the GII Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream last Feb., tried stretching himself out in the GII Tampa Bay Derby to no avail, then garnered only a 5th in the GIII Bayshore only to find the winner’s circle again last out here in a 6f Alw tilt!
Clearly Now , 3rd in the GIII Holy Bull Stakes then won the GIII Swale Stakes both at Gulfstream over the winter, then made he way to Aqueduct to finish just a head behind Declan’s Warrior , in that same GIII Bayshore Stakes.
Merit Man , was another Gulfstream 3yo sprinting wonder over the winter winning the Spectacular Bid Stakes, a close 4th in the GII Hutcheson Stakes and then finished a solid 3rd in the GI Florida Derby last out!
So, a very strong field of top 3yo sprinters emerged for this year’s edition of the GII Woody Stevens Stakes this Saturday, all with an eye towards a GI King’s Bishop Stakes start at Saratoga later this summer!
Orb – the Kentucky Derby winner this year and Oxbow – this year’s Preakness winner seem headed for a 3rd rematch in 5 weeks here at Belmont Park as both camps appear to has their 3yo’s pointing to another shootout here on June 8th!
“Many Kentucky Derby runners are back”,
Golden Soul – 2nd in the Derby, Revolutionary, – 3rd and , 18th Vyjack in the 2013 “Run for the Roses” seem likely runners in this 3rd of 3 Triple Crown contests!
Overanalyze– winner of the GI Arkansas Derby than 11th in the Kentucky Derby is well rested for this 1 1/2 mile “Test of the Champion”!
Palace Malice – the head trouble maker in this year’s GI Kentucky Derby who set all those crazy hot early factions only to fade to 12th that day, looks to be back for more GI excitement here on June 8th!
Will Take Charge, 8th in the derby and 7th in the Preakness will also be running for the D. Wayne Lukas team along with stable mate Oxbow!
*NEW – Frac Daddy’s, name popped up yesterday as another possible Belmont Stakes runner this year. He finished 16th in the Derby slop but did come a closing 2nd in the GI Arkansas Derby 2 back!
Freedom Child, winner of the GII Peter Pan Stakes (the Belmont Stakes Prep) is a definite in for Belmont Park’s big dance of the season!
Always in a Tiz, 3rd in the Smarty Jones Stakes and 9th in the GI Wood Memorial Stakes is looking to turn around his 3yo season with a top performance here in less than 2 weeks!
Code West, 2nd in the GII Risen Star Stakes skipped both the Derby and Preakness to try out this 1 1/2 mile course!
“Some Ladies, maybe”?
Yes, Todd Pletcher is still making up his mind about sending Dreaming of Julia, 4th in the Kentucky Oaks and Unlimited Budget, 3rd in the Kentucky Oaks out for a run with the boys on June 8th or to send one or both out for the GI Mother Goose Stakes here on June the 22nd!
Ladies in the Belmont Stakes, not since Rags to Riches upended Curlin in the 2007 edition in a spine-tingling throw down stretch duel!
So we count 16 names above for 14 GI Belmont Stakes gates, so something has got to give here. But, it does appear, at the very least, we will be getting a pretty full field of 3yo’s here at Belmont Park come June 8th for the 145th GI Belmont Stakes on Belmont Park’s richest racing day of the season.
Penn National Racecourse was alive with big race day fever today, along with some late spring heat too, as they inaugurated the first ever $500,000, Penn Mile Stakesturfer, for 3yo’s only, going a 2-turn mile over a well-groomed the Penn National turf course this afternoon.
Rydilluc, became the first edition winner of this $500k, turfer in a snappy 1:33.4 and not far off the course record either, winning this 1-mile dust up by 3/4 of a length over;
A pair of Todd Pletcher trainees, Charming Kitten, 2nd and Jack Milton, 3rd
separated by a nose at the line, were hot on Rydilluc‘s heels at the finish as Pitch N Roll, was 2 3/4 lengths further back to fill out today’s superfecta!