Headed by defending champ Balto Star, a total of 27 older horses have been nominated to the $750,000 United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) to be run on July 3 at Monmouth Park.
Anstu Stables' Balto Star, tough to beat when he runs his best, and Richard Violette Jr.'s Man From Wicklow, who knows how to win going long on the local grass, top a field of eight in Sunday's $250,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at a mile and three-eighths on the turf.
Front-running Balto Star and jockey John Velazquez took advantage of his deliberate pace to spurt away in the stretch en route to an easy 3 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) over soft going on the Aqueduct turf.
Anstu Stable's Balto Star, a 37-1 shot making the most of his inside post, took command at the start and repulsed all challengers in the stretch to score an upset victory in the $750,000 United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
Anstu Stable's Balto Star has developed a very noticeable racing pattern. Since last year, the Todd Pletcher-trained 5-year-old has followed every bad race with a very good race. And, since last out he ran last in the Pimlico Special (gr. I), his rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Oceanport Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth better have their running shoes on.
In addition to its eight-race Breeders' Cup Day card Saturday, Arlington Park will run three additional $100,000 handicaps – an early stakes double before the headline races and a turf course nightcap afterward.
Trainer Ramon "Mike" Hernandez could have the post-time favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Maid of the Mist for juvenile fillies in Beautiful America.
I'm All Yours and Reluctant Groom, the top two finishers in last year's West Point Handicap, will resume their rivalry on Friday in the 23rd running of the $75,000-added West Point Handicap for 3-year-olds and older New York-breds at nine furlongs on the turf.
Irving's Baby will attempt to become broodmare Irving's Girl's second offspring in six days to win a graded stakes race when the 5-year-old mare by Quiet American faces six rivals in Friday's $100,000 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
New York media magnate Stuart Subotnick belongs to an elite group: he's one of America's 500 richest people. He also belongs to a more exclusive clique of the super-wealthy who own Thoroughbred racehorses. Subotnick, 59, did not grow up around a racetrack, and he's not a gambler. He got into Thoroughbred racing at the urging of a friend and found the game intoxicatingly competitive as well as financially challenging.
Left Bank beat Squirtle Squirt by a half-length to win Saturday's $300,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second stakes wins on the card.
Those who thought Balto Star's romping win in the March 24 Spiral Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park was a fluke better think again. It appears Balto Star is indeed a star. Under Mark Guidry, Balto Star danced away from what was thought to be a competitive field of 11 3-year-olds April 14 in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Finely tuned by trainer Todd Pletcher, Balto Star went fast early and late and drew off to a 4 1/2-length win in the slop. He covered the nine furlongs in a solid 1:49.04.
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