A lovely days racing in prospect at Belmont Park for the Stars and Stripes meeting, a beautiful track out on New York’s Long Island where we had a very pleasurable visit for Belmont Stakes Day. Whilst today’s card can’t boast the eight Grade 1’s of a few weeks ago it does nevertheless dish up a pair of Grade 1’s, a pair of Grade 2’s and a Grade 3, quality.
Belmont Stakes day saw the running of the G1 Metropolitan Handicap over a mile. It was a high-class affair won by Mitole from McKinzie and Thunder Blue. Promises Fulfilled ran fourth, drops to 7f in the G2 John A. Nerud Stakes today while Pavel sixth, steps up in distance to 1m2f in the other G2, the Suburban Stakes, both are capable of capitalising on the drop in grade.
The Belmont Oaks Invitational over 1m2f on turf has attracted a trio of Europeans fillies and a Japanese filly to take on five American fillies.
Of the traveling pack Pascal Bary’s Olendon brings the best form, second over the distance to Siyarafina in May in the G1 Prix Saint Alary at Lonchamp. Aidan O’Brien is double-handed, Just Wonderful and Coral Beach have made the trip across the pond, neither yet have matched expectation at three, they nonetheless boast some good juvenile form. Just Wonderful took the G2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket while Coral Beech took the G3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown.
They’ve both had three runs this year, Just Wonderful contested the Newmarket Guineas, the Irish Guineas and Coronation Stakes, all at G1 level. Coral Beech contested the French and Irish Guineas and was then dropped into handicap company for the Sandringham Stakes. Both have raced exclusively over a mile this season and it is hoped the step up in trip here will suit as it did Iridessa (behind Just Wonderful at Newmarket), who won the G1 Pretty Polly at the Curragh last weekend. In the Irish Guineas, there was just a ½L between the pair when seventh and eight behind Hermosa.
The Japanese filly Jodie put in her best performance when third in the G2 Flora Stakes in Tokyo, however she’ll have to be forgiven finishing well down the field in the Yushun Himba, the Japanese Oaks last time out.
Chad Brown’s Newspaperofrecord, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner like the Ballydoyle pair has to overcome a disappointing start to the season, beaten twice she’s got to overturn her run with stablemate Cambier Park in the Wonder Again Stakes here in June. The unbeaten twice raced Cafe Americano also joins the fray for Chad Brown.
Concrete Rose has a 4-5 record including the G2 Jessamine at Keenland last year and Dyna Passer justified favoritism in a juvenile maiden here also.
It could be a big day for Ballydoyle with Magical taking on Enable at Sandown in the Coral-Eclipse, only ¾L separated them in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year, Magical has race fitness on her side, having 3-4 record this term, the soft ground against her at Ascot last time, Enable the dual Arc winner makes her much-anticipated return.
In the other G1, The Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes, Aidan O’Brien is represented by Cape Of Good Hope and Blenheim Palace. They’ll face a quartet of Chad Brown runners led by the unbeaten Digital Age, a G2 winner of the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs in May and Demarchelier, also unbeaten in three runs including here in the G3 Pennine Ridge Stakes where he had a neck over the reopposing Seismic Wave. Japan is also represented by Master Fencer, last seen in the Belmont Stakes where he was a staying on fifth to Sir Winston. A return to turf could see him go close here.
G1 Coral-Eclipse: Magical 3/1 win
G1 Belmont Oaks Invitational: Coral Beach 25/1 ew
G2 John A. Nerud Stakes: Promises Fulfilled 6/4 win
G1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes: Master Fencer 25/1 ew
G2 Suburban Stakes: Pavel 14/1 ew
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