A nose second when making his U.S. debut in the Maker’s Mark Mike (G1) in mid-April, Masen will make his third U.S. appearance when lining up for Saturday’s $250,000 Poker (G3) at Belmont Park.
The Chad Brown-trained gelding tops a field of five turf milers, and Masen exits a five-length romp in the May 22 Seek Again S. over the Widener Turf at Belmont. The Poker represents another potential confidence-builder before upcoming Grade 1 targets.
Masen won thrice from six starts in Ireland, including a stakes last fall, before being sent stateside by owner/breeder Juddmonte, and he’s a probable odds-on favorite Saturday with Flavien Prat.
Brown will also send out multiple Grade 2 victor Public Sector, who will look to rebound from an unplaced effort in the May 7 Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs. The four-year-old colt captured October’s Hill Prince (G2) in his last Belmont appearance, and Jose Ortiz takes the mount.
Sanctuary City, fourth in last year’s Poker (G3) will make a return engagement following a second in the May 30 Kingston S. for New York-breds. Kendrick Carmouche rides the confirmed closer for James Ferraro.
Appleton (G3) runner-up Wolfie’s Dynaghost is part of the mix for Tom Albertrani, and Penalty will make his second start of the year for Bill Mott.