Zayat Stables’ Justin Phillip, a close second in his last two graded attempts in New York, was installed the 3-1 morning line favorite for the $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (gr. I). The six-furlong event, which goes as race 7, is one of five grade I races on the “Super Saturday” program at Belmont Park.
Justin Phillip, a son of First Samurai out of the Cryptoclearance mare Ava Knowsthecode, just failed to catch 36-1 Poseidon's Warrior in the Aug. 6 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course last time out. In early June, Justin Phillip was run down in the final strides by Caixa Eletronica in the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont.
Both Poseidon’s Warrior and Caixa Eletronica are entered in the Vosburgh.
Barry Schwartz’s 3-year-old The Lumber Guy, winner of the Jerome Stakes (gr. II) in April, and Black Swan Stable’s Sean Avery, winner of the 2011 Vanderbilt and a minor stakes winner in his lone 2012 start, will go as an entry in the Vosburgh. They are pegged at the 7-2 second choice.
The 4-year-old Justin Phillip will break from the outside in the field of 10. The $400,000 Keeneland September sale yearling has only one win from six starts this season but has run second three times. He owns a 3-1-0 mark over Belmont’s “Big Sandy” main track. Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard in the Vanderbilt, returns.
He is trained by Steve Asmussen, who will also send out Padua Stable’s homebred Rothko. A tiring fifth in the Vanderbilt, Rothko won the Aristides Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in his 2012 debut back on June 2.
Poseidon’s Warrior won the Vanderbilt in his first graded stakes try since finishing sixth in last year’s King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I). Trainer Robert Reid Jr. sent out the son of Speightstown to back-to-back stakes wins last fall at Delaware Park and Parx Racing. Irad Ortiz Jr. returns in the saddle.
Caixa Eletronica, a crafty claim by Mike Repole, has two stakes wins this year, the closing victory in the True North and a big win in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II) going nine furlongs. The 7-year-old, the lone stakes winner by his sire Arromanches (by Relaunch), has earned more than $940,000 this year alone.
The Lumber Guy isn’t the only sophomore in the field. Fred Brei’s Fort Loudon, second to outsider Willy Beamin in the seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, won the Carry Back Stakes (gr. III) during Calder’s Summit of Speed earlier this summer. He’ll be making his Belmont debut and has been training steadily over the Saratoga training track. He fired a half-mile in :47 4/5 Sept. 23 for Saturday’s Vosburgh.
The Vosburgh is a "Win and You're In" event for the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
$400,000 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (gr. I, Race 7, 4:04 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML
1, Poseidon’s Warrior, I. Ortiz Jr., 124, R Reid Jr., 4-1
2, Little Drama, R. Maragh, 124, M. Mareina, 12-1
3, Zero Rate Policy, J. Lezcano, 124, T. Pompay, 30-1
4, a-Sean Avery, J. Bravo, 124, A. Iwinski, 7-2
5, a-The Lumber Guy, J. Velazquez, 122, M. Husion, 7-2
6, Fort Loudon, C. Nakatani, 122, N. Zito, 6-1
7, Rothko, J. Leparoux, 124, S. Asmussen, 6-1
8, Royal Currier, S. Elliott, 124, P. Farro, 15-1
9, Caixa Eletronica, J. Casellano, 124, T. Pletcher, 6-1
10, Justin Phillip, R. Dominguez, 124, S. Asmussen, 3-1
All carry 124 pounds.