Trainer H. Graham Motion hopes to get his Breeders' Cup weekend off to a strong start when he sends Donald Adams' Express News out to tackle a talented group of juveniles in the $100,000 Nashua (gr. III) at one mile at Belmont Park Friday.
Motion will have four Breeders' Cup starters in Funfair (Mile), Film Maker (Filly & Mare Turf), defending Turf champ Better Talk Now and his `rabbit' Shake the Bank.
Express News, a Storm Cat
colt, comes into the Nashua off two nice wins, including a first-level allowance at Keeneland where he rallied from an outside post and won by three lengths.
"His race at Keeneland was a very good effort and the Nashua seems like a logical next step after running 6 ½ furlongs," said Motion.
Express News was fourth in his debut at Saratoga against the highly regarded Dr. Pleasure. Second time out, he broke his maiden as the favorite at Delaware Park.
"He really benefited from his first race at Saratoga," Motion said. "I really don't crank my two-year-olds up for their first start and he ran into a buzz saw that day in Dr. Pleasure. This is a colt that we've always liked and think he will continue to improve."
The Nashua boasts a number of horses coming off impressive maiden wins and others with stakes experience.
WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat drew off to win by 6 ½ lengths after vying for the lead in a seven-furlong maiden heat Sept. 24, which was the colt's first start for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Robert LaPenta's Great Point was another sharp maiden winner. The Point Given
colt drew off to win his debut by 8 ¾ lengths in a handy score for trainer Nick Zito.
Too Much Bling was part of a suicidal pace in the Champagne (gr. I) earlier this month, battling with Henny Hughes before tiring in a race that set up perfectly for Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) favorite First Samurai. The Rubiano colt also had to deal with First Samurai and Henny Hughes in his start two back, the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Southern Success has won going short and long for trainer Tim Ritchey at Delaware Park. On Sept. 28 he drew off to an easy maiden score going six furlongs, then 10 days later returned to go gate-to-wire as the favorite over a sloppy track in the $100,000 Dover.
Darley Stable's Changing Weather drops out of Belmont's Futurity (gr. II) after contesting the pace and getting beat nine lengths by Breeders' Cup Juvenile contender Private Vow.
The Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT) scheduled for Friday has been moved to Sunday to protect the turf course for the Breeders' Cup races on Saturday afternoon.$100,000-added Nashua (gr. III), 2-year-olds, 1 mile
PP. HORSE, TRAINER, JOCKEY, WGT.
1. Congo King, Richard Dutrow Jr., Cornelio Velasquez, 116
2. Changing Weather, Eoin Harty, Garrett Gomez, 116
3. Bluegrass Cat, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 116
4. Express News, H. Graham Motion, Edgar Prado, 118
5. Bear Character, Dale Greenwood, James McAleney, 122
6. Diabolical, Steve Klesaris, Ramon Dominguez, 116
7. Southern Success, Tim Ritchey, Jeremy Rose, 122
8. Great Point, Nick Zito, Eibar Coa, 116
9. Political Force, H. Allen Jerkens, Jose Santos, 116
10. Too Much Bling, Bob Baffert, Jerry Bailey, 116Changing Weather will race without blinkers.