On Track in New York
Date Posted: 9/24/2003 5:13:34 PM

Edited from track notes

Godolphin Racing's Sulamani, the likely favorite in Saturday's $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at a mile and a half, breezed six furlongs over Belmont's "good" inner turf course this morning in 1:16. The "dogs," cones that protect the inner portion of the course, were up.

"He's doing extremely well," said Tom Albertrani, assistant trainer to Saeed bin Suroor. "He wasn't asked for much."

Winner of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) via disqualification in his last start, Sulamani is five for eight at the Turf Classic's 12-furlong distance. Overall, this four-year-old son of Hernando has earned more than $3 million.

"Distance is going to make the difference," Albertrani said. "He'll run well at a mile and a quarter, but a mile and a half suits him better."

The Turf Classic lost one major player on Wednesday when trainer Neil Drysdale withdrew Storming Home from consideration. Yet, Sulamani will face a good field that includes group/grade I winners Sabiango and Lunar Sovereign.

"You gotta take them all serious. Everybody is going over there to win it," Albertrani said. "We know what our horse is capable of. Hopefully, he has a good trip."

Moon Ballad, the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner who is bound for the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), galloped over the main track today. Albertrani said the colt might work tomorrow morning.

"We might give him a little blowout; something to stretch his legs," Albertrani said. "He's been fine since he arrived."

Moon Ballad arrived at Belmont Park on Sunday afternoon.With the defection of Empire Maker, Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey has picked up the mount on Moon Ballad.


Sabiango, a group I winner in Germany and perhaps the biggest threat to take down Sulamani in the Turf Classic, breezed a half-mile over the "yielding" inner turf in :50 this morning.

"I'm happy, but he didn't do anything special," said Sabiango's trainer, Andreas Wohler.

Wohler doesn't start many horses in the U.S., but handicappers should take him seriously when he ships across the Atlantic. Two years ago, he saddled Sabiango's half brother, Silvano, to a victory in the Arlington Million. Silvano also finished second to With Anticipation in Belmont's Man 'o War Stakes (gr. IT).

"It's hard to compare (Silvano and Sabiango)," Wohler said. "Sabiango is a stayer; he wants a mile and a half. Silvano didn't want to go beyond a mile and a quarter. That's how With Anticipation got us in the Man 'o War."

Jockey David Flores is scheduled to ride Sabiango for the first time in the Turf Classic.


Walzerkoenigin, a stakes winner in France, Germany and Italy, got her first feel for the Belmont turf this morning when breezing five furlongs over the inner course in 1:05 under jockey Edgar Prado. Walzerkoenigin makes her Belmont Park debut in Saturday's grade I, $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at a mile and a quarter. Prado has the mount.

"We're very happy," said Paul Harley, the racing manager to her owner, Gestut Schlenderhan. "She'll probably have some light exercise tomorrow, but she might not leave the barn."

Walzerkoenigin's trainer, Peter Schiergen, is expected to arrive in New York this evening.


The Vosburgh, Flower Bowl Invitational, Turf Classic Invitational and Jockey Club Gold Cup, races 7-10, respectively, will make up a Pick 4 that will have a guaranteed $500,000 pool. Additionally, all fans attending Belmont Park on Saturday will receive a free Belmont Park T-shirt with each paid admission, while supplies last.


Joe Bear, third behind Stroll and Kicken Kris in last Sunday's grade II Jamaica Handicap, will remain in New York while he recovers from an injury sustained in that race.

"He tweaked the tendon in his near (left) fore," said Don Sainsbury, who accompanied the horse to America. Sainsbury works for trainer Philip Mitchell, and rode races for Mitchell's father, Cyril, years ago. "He's not lame at all," Sainsbury continued. "We'll stand him a few more days and see how he's doing. He is a young horse, and with some rest, he should be able to recover from this."

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