Eight stakes winners are among the entrants for the $150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the grass May 5 at Belmont Park, with Boisterous the 5-2 morning line choice.
The Fort Marcy, at 1 1/16 miles, is the co-feature with the Beaugay Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on Belmont’s Kentucky Derby Day card. The Fort Marcy, race 9 on the program, is set for a 5:06 p.m. EDT post.
Heading the field of nine is the Phipps Stable’s Boisterous, who closed out his 2011 campaign with back-to-back wins in the Knickerbocker (gr. IIIT) at Belmont and the Red Smith (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct Racetrack. The handsome 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor has made one start this year, finishing fourth in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park March 18. His connections are hoping he will have an impact on some of the bigger stakes in New York this summer.
“He has been training very, very well and there’s no reason he shouldn’t run well on Saturday,” said Robbie Medina, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “If he does, races like the Manhattan (gr. IT on June 9) would be considered. The 1 ¼ miles of the Manhattan suits him more than the Fort Marcy, but he is doing very well.”
Alan Garcia will be aboard Boisterous, who carries 120 pounds from post 5.
The well-traveled Silver Medallion, a stakes winner at Gulfstream, Calder Casino & Racecourse, Golden Gate Fields, and Santa Anita Park, will be making his Belmont Park debut in the Fort Marcy.
The Badge of Silver colt, a half-brother to 2005 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) winner Sweet Talker, made a brief foray onto the Triple Crown trail last year but returned to the turf after a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Sold privately to Black Rock Stable over the summer and sent to trainer Todd Pletcher, Silver Medallion won the Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder and the Fort Lauderdale (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream over the winter. Most recently, he was seventh as the favorite over a “good” course in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) Feb. 11.
Junior Alvarado will ride Silver Medallion. The second choice at 3-1 on the morning line and the high weight with 123 pounds leaves from post 3.
Desert Blanc, who won a listed stakes in France in 2011 and finished third, beaten just a length, in the Prix du Prince d’Orange (Fr-III) at Longchamp, will be making his first American appearance in the Fort Marcy for new trainer Chad Brown.
“He’s been right there in group races, and he’s been holding good company over there,” said Brown of Desert Blanc, who carries the colors of Swift Thoroughbreds. “He’s run as far as a mile and a quarter over there, but I think I think this is a good comeback, a mile and a sixteenth, to see where we’re at with him.”
Hall of Famer Edgar Prado will be aboard Desert Blanc, third choice at 7-2 on the morning line, from post 8.
Six-year-old Sal the Barber will be making his third appearance in the Fort Marcy, having finished third in 2011 and fifth the previous year. A steady performer at the Fort Marcy distance for trainer Christophe Clement, Sal the Barber will be looking for his first victory since November 2010, when he won the 1 1/16-mile Three Coins Up at Aqueduct over a “good” turf.
“He’s been a consistent horse for us,” said Clement. “I think he should enjoy the turf on Saturday. We’ll try.”
$150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIt, Race 9, 5:06 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Boots Ahead (KY), E Castro, 116, G Weaver
2. Top Surprize (KY), J L Espinoza, 116, N Chatterpaul
3. Silver Medallion (KY), J Alvarado, 123, T A Pletcher
4. Upgrade (KY), F Jara, 116, M Nihei
5. Boisterous (KY), A Garcia, 120, C R McGaughey III
6. Beau Choix (KY), D Cohen, 116, B Tagg
7. Gourmet Dinner (FL), R Napravnik, 116, B R Brown
8. Desert Blanc (GB), E S Prado, 116, C C Brown
9. Sal the Barber (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, C Clement
Main Track Only
10. Trickmeister (KY), C H Velasquez, 120, R E Dutrow Jr.