July 13, 2024

Nations Pride jets in for Man o’ War; Whitebeam, Aspray resurface in Beaugay

Nation's Pride at Woodbine in the Canadian Internationa
Nations Pride justified favoritism in the Canadian International (Photo courtesy of Michael Burns Photography)

The theme of Saturday’s graded turf stakes at Aqueduct is double-handed trainers. Godolphin’s frequent flyer Nations Pride and Silver Knott give trainer Charlie Appleby a one-two punch in the Man o’ War (G2), while Chad Brown’s formidable duo of Aspray and Whitebeam return in the $175,000 Beaugay (G3).

Man o’ War (G2) – Race 7 (3:39 p.m. ET)

Nations Pride left quite an impression in his previous visit to Aqueduct, crushing the 2022 Jockey Club Derby (G3) in a course-record 2:24.14 for 1 1/2 miles. The son of Teofilo was unlucky not to sweep New York’s Turf Triple that year, placing second in the Belmont Derby (G1) before setting the record straight in the Saratoga Derby (G1).

Fifth behind stablemate Rebel’s Romance in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland, Nations Pride stuck to slightly shorter distances in 2023. His world tour featured victories in the Dubai Millennium (G3) during Meydan’s Carnival, the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (G1), and Canadian International (G1), but he regressed to seventh in the Nov. 17 Bahrain International Trophy (G2).

“Nations Pride is going into this on the back of a disappointing run in Bahrain,” Appleby told Godolphin.com, “but has enjoyed a nice break since. He is the horse the rest of the field have to beat, providing he turns up on his A game. He will come on for his first run of the year, but his preparation has gone well and he looks great.”

Assistant Christiane Harley echoed Nations Pride’s well-being in her comments to NYRA publicity.

“He loves to be away from home and to travel around. For a colt, he’s very good. He loves it. He’s doing really good and has worked well,” Harley said. “I have taken him around before, so I know him. He seems as good as he’s always been.”

Frankie Dettori, aboard for his Jockey Club Derby, renews acquaintance aboard the presumptive favorite in the 1 3/8-mile test. Drawn on the outside in post 9, Nations Pride will flank stablemate Silver Knott in post 8.

Silver Knott just upstaged another Appleby runner, Bold Act, in the 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland, but he was arguably overdue for a try at that distance. Since his near-miss in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), Silver Knott at times appeared outpaced when placing in the Pennine Ridge (G2), Secretariat (G2), Twilight Derby (G2), and Hollywood Derby (G1). The son of Lope de Vega and stamina-laden God Given relished the stretch-out in the Elkhorn, and he keeps Flavien Prat in the saddle.

Greek Order is intriguing in his second stateside appearance for Bill Mott. This is a more suitable distance than the one-mile Keeneland allowance where he checked in sixth. A full brother to Sangarius, hero of the 1 1/4-mile Hampton Court (G3) at Royal Ascot in 2019, Greek Order bolted up in a Newbury handicap at that trip. That made him the favorite in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket, where he wound up a troubled second. The lightly-raced grandson of 2001 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) champion Banks Hill has upside, and he gets six pounds from 124-pound highweight Nations Pride.

Kertez, who carries 122 pounds like Silver Knott, captured his U.S. debut in the March 30 Pan American (G2). Along in time to edge Harry Hood and fellow Christophe Clement charge Tawny Port, Kertez was providing a prompt return on investment after selling for $158,604 at Arqana’s Arc Sale. The Wertheimer et Frere-bred had been a stakes bridesmaid in France, where he placed in several Group events to the likes of globetrotter Addeybb, Simca Mille, and Haya Zark.

The Mark Hennig-trained Harry Hood was testing stakes company for first time in the Pan American, but Tawny Port has been a fairly consistent presence in division since switching to turf at Saratoga. Two starts back, Tawny Port just missed in the Mac Diarmida (G2).

The Man o’ War pace figures to be honest. Ohana Honor, second in the Gio Ponti S. here last October, romped on the step up to 1 1/2 miles in Keeneland allowance. The crafty Kendrick Carmouche takes the call for Shug McGaughey. So High, the tearaway pacesetter in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) who held third as a 90-1 shot, wired an April 26 allowance in his comeback. He’s joined by another longshot from the Naipaul Chatterpaul barn, Rocket and Roll, who was just claimed for $20,000 out of a front-running score on dirt.

Beaugay (G3) – Race 2 (1:04 p.m. ET)

Stablemates Whitebeam and Aspray loom large in the 1 1/16-mile affair on the outer turf course. Six others entered, but half are hoping that it’s rained off the turf, leaving only three rivals to the Brown team if race conditions hold.

Whitebeam, best known for upsetting stablemate In Italian in last summer’s Diana (G1), was fourth in her subsequent starts in the First Lady (G1) and Matriarch (G1). Interestingly, Irad Ortiz Jr., who hasn’t ridden her since her Gallorette (G3) victory a year ago, regains the mount.

Prat stays on Aspray, last seen landing the Aug. 19 Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga over eventual Matriarch winner Surge Capacity. Aspray’s only loss came in the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Oaks (G1), suggesting that the Quality Road filly can continue her winning habit at this trip.

Spirit and Glory is the lone turf-intended runner with race fitness on her side. The Robert Falcone trainee has won two of her three outings this term, most recently delivering a five-length wire job in the April 21 Plenty of Grace S. over the course.

Neecie Marie brings fine local form from her sophomore campaign, as the close runner-up in the Jockey Club Oaks (G3) and Sands Point (G2) (to Godolphin invader Eternal Hope). The Butch Reid pupil can be forgiven her non-threatening fifth in the off-the-turf Mrs. Revere (G3) at the end of the season. Also resuming is Quarrel, who must improve from a fifth in the Jockey Club Oaks and a sixth in the Sands Point.

Three main-track-only entrants round out the field. Linda Rice has the first two – Movie Moxy, runner-up in both the Heavenly Prize S. and Top Flight S. this season, and multiple New York-bred stakes-placed Bustin Bay. Clement entered the streaking Ocean Gateway, by his 2014 Belmont (G1) hero Tonalist, for a potential stakes debut.