Anstu Stable's Balto Star has developed a very noticeable racing pattern. Since last year, the Todd Pletcher-trained 5-year-old has followed every bad race with a very good race. And, since last out he ran last in the Pimlico Special (gr. I), his rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Oceanport Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth better have their running shoes on.
When he arrives at the New Jersey track Saturday morning from Pletcher's Belmont headquarters, Balto Star will be in the care of Anthony Sciametta Jr., Pletcher's assistant at Monmouth and Gulfstream Park.
Sciametta and his wife Madeleine had Balto Star in their care for more than a month in Florida. They had him from Jan. 4, when Balto Star finished eighth in the Appleton Handicap until Feb. 9, when the gelding won the Whirlaway Handicap (gr. III) at the Fair Grounds.
Balto Star returned to Pletcher's barn at the Palm Meadows training center after that. The horse went to Fair Grounds, where he ran ninth behind Mineshaft in the New Orleans Handicap, then went back to New York, where he ran a close second in the Excelsior Handicap (gr. III). He followed with the poor outing in the Pimlico Special.
Madeleine Sciametti, who galloped Balto Star during his stay in their barn, said, "He's been running one good one, one bad one, so he's due for a good one in the Oceanport. And it seems he runs better when he ships."
Balto Star, who shares high weight honors of 119 pounds with Burning Roma, faces a full field Saturday that is loaded with potential upsetters.Oceanport Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3 & up, 1 1/16 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. French Charmer (KY), 114, Jose C. Ferrer
2. Balto Star (KY), 119, Jose A. Velez, Jr.
3. Sardaukar (GB), 115, Jeremy Rose
4. Tam's Terms (MD), 116, Horatio Karamanos
5. Saint Verre (FL), 118, Charles C. Lopez
6. Strategic Partner (KY), 115, Dale V. Beckner
7. Political Attack (KY), 115, Abdiel Toribio
8. Private Ryan (KY), 114, Jeremy Rose
9. Autonomy (IRE), 114, Carlos M. Cruz
10. Burning Roma (KY), 119, Joe Bravo
11. Union One (NY), 114, Edwin L. King, Jr.
12. Patrol (KY), 117, Julian Pimentel
13. Trademark (SAF), 114, Elvis TrujilloMain track only
14 Runspastum (KY), 113, Julian Pimentel
15 Short Hair (KY), 111, Edwin L. King, Jr.