Laura and Eugene Melnyk's Speightstown, who surprised Congaree with a convincing win in the May 1 Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II), is the 119-pound high weight in Saturday's $200,000-added True North Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
The seventh race on the program, the six-furlong True North attracted an evenly matched field of 10.
Since returning from a 21-month layoff earlier this year, Speightstown has won three of four for trainer Todd Pletcher, including the March 27 Artax Handicap at Gulfstream Park by 4 1/2 lengths prior to the Churchill Downs Handicap.
The 6-year-old son of Gone West
went gate-to-wire in his last start at seven furlongs and was never challenged while posting a 3 1/2-length margin in 1:21 1/5 on a "good" Churchill Downs surface. Speightstown, who will be ridden again by John Velazquez, sports a 7-1-2 record in 12 starts and earnings of $410,216.
Pohave, another 6-year-old, ended an eight-race losing streak with his first graded stakes victory in the six-furlong L.A. Times Handicap (gr. III) for trainer Doug O'Neill at Hollywood Park on May 8. He was clocked in 1:08. Pohave ran third to Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) winner Pico Central in the San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita in March.
A gelding by Holy Bull
, Pohave carries 117 pounds and will be ridden by Jon Court, who was aboard in the L.A. Times.
Canadian Frontier, the runaway 3 3/4-length victor in the Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park May 8 is also a leading contender. Key Deputy and First Blush, second and third, respectively, in the Bold Ruler, are also in the field.
Richard Migliore will ride Cat Genius, who won the Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds in March.$200,000-added True North Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr.II), 3 & up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey Name
1. First Blush (KY), 113, Michael J. Luzzi
2. Buzzy's Gold (KY), 111, Cornelio H. Velasquez
3. Speightstown (KY), 119, John R. Velazquez
4. Cat Genius (FL), 116, Richard Migliore
5. Canadian Frontier (KY), 115, Javier Castellano
6. Sing Me Back Home (FL), 112, Ramon A. Dominguez
7. Gracious Humor (KY), 112, Edgar S. Prado
8. Key Deputy (KY), 114, Jerry D. Bailey
9. Pohave (KY), 117, Jon Kenton Court
10. Maybry's Boy (KY), 111, Pat Day