Five Key Takeaways from Belmont’s Stars & Stripes Festival

Posted 1 year ago by Patrick Munuve | posted in Uncategorized | Post RSS 2.0

IMPRESSIVE RETURN: Code of Honor, competing for the first time since he had been raised to second behind Country House when stewards disqualified Maximum Security for interference in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, claimed himself at the wide-open 3-year-old branch with an easy victory at the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes. “I am excited for the remainder for the summer,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “This was our game plan and, up to now, step one functioned ” The following step would be the July 27 Jim Dandy Stakes as a prep for the Aug. 24 Runhappy Travers Stakes. McGaughey is optimistic his Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes winner can emerge as leader of this class. “I believe he is as good as any of these,” he explained. “He is going to have to keep improving as we go along, but I believe he will do that.” TIMELY BREAKTHROUGH: Though Henley’s Joy had been unable to break through in his first six graded-stakes begins, including a remote 13th-place end in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, proprietor Jeffrey Bloom and coach Mike Maker were convinced he belonged at the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes. Their faith was rewarded when the Kitten’s Joy colt delivered in 20.80-1 in the opening leg of the Turf Trinity with Jose Lezcano aboard. “It’s such a big race to acquire and it is so important,” Bloom said. “But with this particular horse, he has had the worst racing chance and he’s been so honest, so many demanding trips. It was just so gratifying to see him have the ability to show everybody how gifted he is.” PERFECT TIMING: Trainers grapple with how much time to give a horse between starts. George”Rusty” Arnold wasn’t any different when he decided to point Concrete Rose toward the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes after her emphatic victory in the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 3. He opted to forego a prep race. “She’s a slight filly. There is not a whole lot to her,” he clarified. “I don’t have to train her down to nothing.” His openness was rewarded with an emphatic win at their inaugural Turf Tiara’s opening leg. The Twirling Candy filly will not have the luxury of too long for the next start. Arnold is focused on the middle leg of their Turf Tiara, the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks on Aug. 2 at 1??3/16 miles at Saratoga Race Course. “We’ll run in another one, if there’s not an issue,” he explained. “It’s a great series. We wish to support it”

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