Belmont announces major stakes probables
Other stakes for Belmont Stakes weekend are beginning to take shape, with the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap headlining Friday's card. The Brooklyn is expected to serve as a Belmont Stakes tryout of sorts for jockey Mario Gutierrez, who is slated to ride Doug O'Neill trainee Boxeur de Rues in the 1 1/2-mile race. Last year's Brooklyn winner, Birdrun is likely to mount a title defense, and is expected to face Arthur's Tale, Balladry, Eldaafer, Eye On Jacob, Golden Gulch, Hailstone, Kentucky Reign, Not Abroad, Praetereo, and Redeemed.
Friday's card also includes the Grade 3, $150,000 Jaipur at seven furlongs on turf. Right One, trained by Christophe Clement for Ghislaine Head, aims for his second straight Jaipur win. In his most recent start, he was third behind Jaipur probables Lonesome Street and Bergerac in the Grade 2 Commonwealth at Keeneland. Boots Ahead, Leave of Absence, Shintoh, Upgrade, and Yield Bogey are also probable.
Next Saturday, the Grade 1 Just a Game, a one-mile turf contest for fillies and mares worth $500,000, is expected to draw last year's Grade 1 Garden City winner Winter Memories, who will have an opportunity to renew her sometime rivalry with Hungry Island, recent winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. Also pointing for the race, according to NYRA Stakes Coordinator Andrew Byrnes, are Dancinginherdreams, La Reine Lionne, Sylvestris, and Tapitsfly, with Roxy Gap and Wallis possible.
In the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan, a $500,000 turf handicap, multiple graded stakes winner Boisterous will try for his first Grade 1 score against Chilean import Omyad, a multiple Group 1 winner in Chile, as well as Al Khali, Brilliant Speed, Desert Blanc, Hudson Steele, Humble and Hungry, Papaw Bodie, and Top Suprize. Hailstone was listed as possible for the race.
In the Grade 2, $400,000 True North Handicap at six furlongs, Giant Ryan is slated to make his first start in the Empire State since his victory in last October's Grade 1 Vosburgh over the True North's course and distance. Trained by Bisnath Parboo for his son, Shivananda Parbhoo, the 2011 New York-bred champion sprinter enters the race off an eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint and a fifth in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. He's expected to face Crossbow, Hamazing Destiny, Justin Phillip, Pacific Ocean, and Royal Currier. Caixa Eletronica, Diski Dance, Ponzi Scheme, and W. W.'s Lady's Man are possible.
The Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens, run at seven furlongs for three-year-olds, is shaping up to be a competitive heat with speedy Trinniberg, a dual graded stakes winner at the distance, set to face last year's juvenile champion, Hansen, last year's Grade 1 Hopeful winner Currency Swap and Grade 3 Derby Trial winner Hierro. Also expected are Bourbon Courage, Brian, Hardened Wildcat, Laurie's Rocket and Power World.
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