Belmont Turf takes center stage on Saturday

by Stefanie Grimm & Patrycja Szpyra

With the July 4 holiday weekend in the rear view mirror, the summer turf season kicks into high gear starting with a pair of Grade Is at Belmont Park on Saturday. The home team takes on a new wave of European challengers in the 1 1/4 mile GI Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational S., the first leg of the Caesars Turf Triple Series.

Tiz the bomb (Hit It a Bomb), last seen finishing ninth behind GI Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice), finally returns to the surface on which he has already shown great success. Tiz the Bomb picked up back-to-back grass wins at the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S. Sept. 6 and Keeneland’s GII Castle & Key Bourbon S. Oct. 10. He ended his 2-year campaign with only a half-long loss to Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) at the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in Del Mar on November 5, his final trial on grass.

After an unsuccessful debut as a 3-year-old in the GIII Holy Bull S., Tiz the Bomb returned to form with two victories on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park, winning both the John Battaglia Memorial S. Mar. 5 and the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks S. April 2. He beat eventual Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice) in the latter.

“We gave him a chance in the Kentucky Derby,” coach Ken McPeek said. “He ran respectably, but he’s definitely not as good on dirt as he is on grass.”

McPeek will also saddle the Kentucky Derby 11th Classic pavement (Giant’s Causeway), which will take its first steps on the grass. GIII Sam F. Davis S. and GII Tampa Bay Derby winner, previously trained by Brian Lynch, finished third in the GIII Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 25.

Leading the European contenders is Godolphin homebred Pride of Nations (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), who, apart from his feeble efforts most recently in the G1 Cazoo Derby at Epsom on June 4, had already won four straight, including a seven-length victory in the Newmarket S. 29 April over the same 1 1/ 4 mile distance he will attempt on Saturday.

Stone Age (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), dismissed at post 13, also comes off a disappointing performance like his aforementioned rival in the Cazoo Derby. Prior to that, he showed good form taking the G3 Derby Trial S. at Leopardstown on May 8 and also finishing second in the 2021 G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

Also on the Belmont turf course on Saturday is the 1 1/4-mile GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S., which features a similar mix of American and European-bred competitors. Chad Brown offers a trio of options starting with Rising Star TDN‘Haughty (Empire Maker), who finished their Juvenile season with just a three-quarter loss to Pizza Bianca (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) at the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 5 in Del Mar.

McKilick (GB) (frankel {GB}) enters for Brown after a second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile GIII Regret S. at Churchill Downs on June 4. She was also second behind fellow rival Oaks new year’s eve (The joy of the kitten) in the GII Edgewood S. May 6.

Completing Brown’s entries is consumer spending (more than ready), who participates having won four of his last five starts. Although there was no match for Pizza Bianca in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, she started her 3-year-old season with straight wins. She knocked down pizza Bianca in Aqueduct’s Memories of Silver S. on April 24, then added the GII Wonder Again S. in Belmont on June 9.

Originally from Aidan O’Brien’s barn, Concert Hall (Ireland) (Dubawi {Ire}) is listed as the 3-1 favorite in the morning. The winner of the G3 Weld Park S. 2021 was lengthened remotely at the age of 3 years. His form this season includes a third place in the G1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas on May 22, a fourth place in the G1 Cazoo Oaks on June 3 and a fifth place in the G1 Pretty Polly S. at Curragh on June 26. .

Five lines for Suburban

Belmont Land will feature older horses racing 1 1/4 miles in the GII Suburban S. Shug McGaughey brings ‘Rising Star TDNfirst captain (Curling), who achieves a career-best performance in the GIII Pimlico Special S. May 20. A Dynamic (Union Cloths) is listed as the 7-5 morning line favorite in the field of five. After being given seven months off following his seventh place finish in the GI Travers S. on August 28, he returned at the age of 4 with increasingly positive results. He finished third in the GIII Challenger S. layoff in Tampa on March 12, finished second in the GIII Ben Ali S. on April 23, and recently won the Blame S. June 4 at Churchill. The field also includes the defending champion from the suburbs Max player (honor code).

The Belmont card also includes the GIII Victory Ride S. for 3 year old fillies. Marylou Whitney Stables pretty bird (Bird Song) finished second in his last two, completing the exacta behind Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile) in the GII Eight Belles S. May 6 and Wicked Halo (gun runner) in Leslie’s Lady Overnight S. June 12. The field also includes happy soul (Run happy), penultimate time in Pimlico’s GIII Miss Preakness S. on May 20.

The graduated stakes of the smaller circuits attract the big names

Horseshoe Indianapolis – formerly Indiana Grand – may have changed its name, but industry heavyweights came with their runners alike for the GIII Indiana Derby and GIII Indiana Oaks, which were to be the final two races from the menu.

In the nightcap contest for foals, 75-1 longshot GII Rebel S. Conqueror An Ojo (Laoban) is coming back from a three-month layoff in his first attempt for coach Robertino Diodoro. Kenny McPeek’s GISW Conditioner Rattle N Roll (Relate) is entered here and in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows after ending his five-game losing streak last weekend in the July 2 American Derby at Churchill Downs. Texas Derby winner Ottoman King (Curling), trained by Steve Asmussen, and the trained by Brad Cox Best actor (Flatter) – a $330,000 KEESEP purchase for Gary and Mary West – around a talented, albeit lightly run, field.

The Indiana Oaks are shaping up to be a battle of coaches as McPeek and Cox send a pair each. Juddmonte raised at home Patna (Into Mischief) and GI Ashland S. third interstate reverie (Classic Empire) will fly the flag of the latter. First winner by nine lengths silver foil (Speightster) and rapid improvement woman on the run (gun runner) will look to cap off a potentially big day for McPeek.

Moving on to Prairie Meadows for the evening, the GIII Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. caught the evergreen gelding R-rated Superstar (Kodiak Kowboy), looking to bounce back from a pair of disappointing efforts, most notably in Lone Star’s GIII Steve Sexton Mile S on May 30. This race was won by the inside horse, the re-opposing silver prospector (Declaration of war). To guarantee (Constitution), penultimate to GII Brooklyn H. on June 11 and second to GI Santa Anita H. on March 5, is aiming for his first win of the season.

A field of eight fillies will fight for the GIII Iowa Oaks crown, led by Todd Pletcher, trained Falconet (Uncle Mo) and the local victory of Panther S. Butter bean (Klimt). candy raid (candy tower {Arg}), surprise winner of the April 2 Bourbonette Oaks, is committed to the Indiana Oaks.

Marathon runners ring from Delaware

A big race weekend will also take place at Delaware Park with a 10-line field to take on the GIII Robert G. Dick Memorial S. turf, with more than half of the Keertana S. field, including first and second . Temple City Terror (temple city) and stand up straight (Uncle Mo).

Marathon filly and main track mare will also spend their day in the (most likely absent) Delaware sun in the GII Delaware Handicap, with heroine Serena’s Song S. and Obeah S. Miss Leslie (Payer) leading the charge.