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 because he had been raised to second behind Country House when stewards disqualified Maximum Security for hindrance in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, claimed himself in the wide-open 3-year-old division with an easy victory at the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes. “I am excited for the rest for the summer,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “This was our game plan and, up to now, step one functioned ” The next 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 portion of the course. “I believe he is as good as any of these,” he explained. “He’s going to have to keep improving as we go along, but I think he’ll do this.” TIMELY BREAKTHROUGH: Although Henley’s Joy had been unable to break through in his first six graded-stakes starts, including a distant 13th-place end in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, proprietor Jeffrey Bloom and trainer Mike Maker were convinced he belonged in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes. Their faith was rewarded when the Kitten’s Joy colt delivered at 20.80-1 in the opening leg of their Turf Trinity with Jose Lezcano aboard. “It’s such a major race to win and it is so significant,” Bloom said. “However, with this particular horse, he’s 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 talented he is.” PERFECT TIMING: Trainers. George”Rusty” Arnold wasn’t any different when he chose 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 chose to forego a prep race. “She is a slight filly. There is not a whole lot to her,” he clarified. “I do not need to train her down to nothing.” His openness was rewarded with a powerful win at the opening leg of their Turf Tiara. The Twirling Candy filly won’t have too long for her next start’s luxury. 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 fantastic series. We want to support it.”

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