O'Brien Sends Treasure Beach After Man o' War
by Steve Haskin
Date Posted: 7/11/2012 4:36:44 PM
Last Updated: 7/14/2012 1:23:02 PM

Treasure Beach won the 2011 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.
Photo: Four Footed Fotos

If Americans are going to have any chance against the mighty Europeans in this year's Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), they're going to have to show what they're made of–and they can start this weekend in the $600,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.

Big-name turf stars in America have been few and far between, and it will be up to several hard-knocking horses to repel the challenge of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Treasure Beach in the 1 3/8-mile turf event July 14.

 

O'Brien used last year's Man o' War Stakes as a launching pad for a three-race coup by Cape Blanco, who made an unprecedented three transatlantic flights in less than four months, scoring victories in the Man o' War, Arlington Million (gr. IT), and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT).

 

Like Cape Blanco, Treasure Beach won the Irish Derby (Ire-I), but his two best races since that score were in North Americaa victory in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington and a third in the Canadian International (gr. IT) at Woodbine. His two starts this year were dreadful performances in the Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines (UAE-I) and the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I).

 

But the son of Galileo is a classic winner and was second in the Investec English Derby (Eng-I), and if he is in any kind of form, he is going provide a major test for the Americans. He will be ridden by Jamie Spencer, who has been aboard in both his starts this year.

 

Of the seven American-trained horses entered, the most formidable foe looks to be the Shug McGaughey-trained Point of Entry  , who has won three of his last four starts and last two, including a victory in the Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland Apr. 27. Jose Lezcano will ride for the first time.

 

The son of Dynaformer, owned by the Phipps Stable, will renew his rivalry with the Brazilian-bred Tahoe Lake, who finished second to him in the Elkhorn and in an allowance race two weeks earlier. Tahoe Lake has since finished third in the Louisville Stakes (gr. IIIT) and a disappointing seventh in a Belmont allowance/optional claimer in his last start.

 

If there is a danger on the front end it could be the Todd Pletcher-trained Hudson Steele, who attempted to wire his field in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT). The son of Johannesburg led to the eighth pole, but wound up fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths. Prior to that, he won the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) on Preakness day and the Henry Clark Stakes, also at Pimlico. He gets Joe Bravo for the first time.

 

The other horses with stakes accomplishments are Newsdad, from the Bill Mott Stable, who captured the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) back in March and was beaten a nose in the Macdiarmida Stakes (gr. IIT); and Center Divider, who placed in last year's grade II Bowling Green Handicap and Sycamore Stakes. He also was in the Elkhorn, but stumbled at the start, unseating his rider. Rose Napravnik gets the mount.

 

$600,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 4:34 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1.Tahoe Lake (BRZ), E. Castro, 116, K G McPeek
2.Center Divider (KY), R. Napravnik, 116, C C Brown
3. Point of Entry (KY), J. Lezcano, 118, C R McGaughey III
4. Newsdad (KY), J. Alvarado, 118, W L Mott
5. Treasure Beach (GB), J.P. Spencer, 120, A P O'Brien
6. Game Ball (KY), D. Cohen, 116, N Chatterpaul
7. Hudson Steele (KY), J. Bravo, 118, T A Pletcher
8. Philly Ace (PA), I Ortiz Jr., 116, C Clement



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