Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin looks to have a strong hand in the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Oct. 9, as he sends out a pair of grade III winners to head a field of 11 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the grass.
Krypton, by Rock Hard Ten, is the 118 pound highweight and is seeking his first win since taking the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) at a mile at Belmont Park in June. He followed that victory with third-place efforts in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) at 1 1/4-miles at Colonial Downs in July and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga in August, in which he was beaten a head. All three of Krypton’s career wins have come at a mile or less. Edgar Prado rides Krypton for the first time for owners Harvey Clarke and Ron Winchell.
McLaughlin’s other entrant, Lethal Combination, a son of Broken Vow , exits a gutsy victory in the Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) at 1 3/16 miles at Saratoga Sept. 5, in which he overcame a wide trip to win by a half-length. Prior to that race, Lethal Combination was beaten a length in a fourth-place finish in the Quick Call Stakes at the Spa in July.
Turf Melody, by Maria's Mon, will be making just his fourth start on grass. He finished a close fifth in the Quick Call, and before that effort ran unplaced in the Bourbon (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland last fall. Graham Motion trains him for Earle I. Mack, and Alex Solis rides.
Irish-bred Fantastico Roberto, trained by Todd Pletcher for Team Valor International, began his career with two wins in Italy. The son of Refuse To Bend collected his first victory following his overseas arrival in Monmouth’s Choice Stakes July 5 at the Jamaica distance. The colt, who wore blinkers in three starts before the Saranac, will regain the equipment for the Jamaica. J.R. Velazquez will ride Fantastico Roberto for the second straight time.
Teaks North and Beau Choix will be making their first start since finishing one-two in the Restoration Stakes on grass at Monmouth Aug. 28. Trained by Justin Sallusto for owner Jules Boutelle, Teaks North carries a two-race winning streak into the Jamaica. Jose Valdivia Jr. will ride the son of Northern Afleet for the second straight time.
Beau Choix, a length behind in the Restoration, has finished in the top three in all seven turf starts. Trained by Barclay Tagg for Belle Meadows Farm and Lael Stable, the son of Elusive Quality will be ridden by C.H. Velasquez for the first time.
Two Notch Road, by Partner's Hero, is another with turf experience. He ran fourth in the Jersey Derby on turf Aug. 1 in his last start and before that was fourth in the Virginia Derby and third in the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIT). His sole stakes win came last year on dirt in the Continental Mile at Monmouth.
Completing the field are Admiral Alex, last in the Travers Stakes (gr. I); Citrus Kid, fifth in the Saranac; Center Divider, who has not raced since a allowance victory at Keeneland in April; and Prince Will I Am, a game winner of an optional claimer at Saratoga in September.
$250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT, Race 7, 4:11 p.m.), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, (Turf)
Post. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Citrus Kid J L Espinoza 114 J P Terranova II
2. Admiral Alex C Hill 114 L J Blusiewicz
3. Beau Choix C H Velasquez 116 B Tagg
4. Center Divider D Cohen 114 C Clement
5. Turf Melody A O Solis 116 H G Motion
6. Lethal Combination A Garcia 117 K R McLaughlin
7. Prince Will I Am J Lezcano 114 M Nihel
8. Two Notch Road S Uske 117 G R Thompson
9. Krypton E S Prado 118 K R McLaughlin
10.Teaks North J Valdivia Jr. 116 J Sallusto
11.Fantastico Roberto J R Velazquez 117 T A Pletcher