Godolphin Racing's Man o' War (gr. IT) winner Fantastic Light heads a field of 12 entered in Saturday's $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old son of Rahy, though, has not scared away many of his Man o' War rivals as the second- through sixth-place finishers from that race return in the Turf Classic. In addition to the Man o' War runners, Fantastic Light will also face two-time Turf Classic winner Val's Prince and European import Commander Collins.
Fantastic Light has won two of five races on the year, defeating Caitano and High-Rise in the Dubai Sheemah Classic (UAE-III) in March as well as the Man o' War. In the latter race, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee was an easy one-length winner under Jerry Bailey.
"He wasn't fully cranked up for that race," said assistant trainer Eric Coatrieux. "We're taking the road to the Breeders' Cup one race at a time with him. We don't want him peaking in October."
Godolphin's top jockey Frankie Dettori will ride Fantastic Light in Saturday's 1 1/2-mile race. Bailey picks up the mount on Subtle Power.
Subtle Power will be making his North American racing debut and racing on Lasix for the first time Saturday. Subtle Power won his racing debut in May and has since taken the King Edward VII Stakes (Eng-II). The 3-year-old son of Sadler's Wells will be saddled by Bill Mott for the first time Saturday.
Commander Collins has won two of nine career races but has never won beyond a mile. The 4-year-old son of Sadler's Wells is winless since winning the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) in October of 1998. Commander Collins had also been under consideration for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere (Fr-I). Edgar Prado will guide the John Gosden trainee from post position 12.
The field for the Turf Classic -- with jockeys, weights, and morning-line odds -- will consist of:
1--Fantastic Light, Frankie Dettori, 126, 9-5
2--Subtle Power, Jerry Bailey, 121, 8-1
3--Drama Critic, John Velazquez, 126, 15-1
4--John's Call, Jean-Luc Samyn, 126, 12-1
5--Ela Athena, Joe Bravo, 123, 10-1
6--Val's Prince, Jorge Chavez, 126, 8-1
7--Timboroa, Pat Day, 126, 15-1
8--Gritty Sandie, Robbie Davis, 126, 20-1
9--Northern Quest, Chris McCarron, 126, 5-1
10--Chimes At Midnight, James Heffernan, 121, 20-1
11--Craigsteel, Jose Santos, 126, 20-1
12--Commander Collins, Edgar Prado, 126, 8-1