With forecasts calling for a strong chance of thunderstorms Saturday, five of the 11 horses entered for the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) – the first scheduled turf stakes event of the season at Aqueduct – are present for the main track only.
Old favorites Funny Cide and Evening Attire need top efforts to have an impact in an evenly matched 94th running of the $200,000-added Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Aqueduct.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Buzzards Bay, off since June, returns to action on the Breeders' Cup undercard at Belmont Park Saturday in the $250,000-added Emirates Airline Discovery Handicap (gr. III) for three-year-olds.
Rain ruined what looked to be a competitive Jamaica Handicap, a grade II event for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf. The race was switched to the sloppy main track and all but three of the nine entered were scratched. That worked out well for trainer Patrick Reynolds, whose mud-loving Watchmon posted a 1 3/4-length win.
Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the favorite for Saturday's Belmont Stakes, settled into his new barn without a problem. John Shirreffs, the affable trainer of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo, seemed nice and relaxed just one day before the rubber match at 1 1/2 miles.
Cash is King Stable's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex was installed the 6-5 morning-line favorite when 11 horses were entered for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the third leg of the Visa Triple Crown.
Watchmon, a son of Maria's Mon who is expected to be one of the longest prices on the board in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), breezed five furlongs over the main track at Belmont Park Tuesday morning in 1:00.09.
Afleet Alex completes serious training for Belmont Stakes (gr. I)... Chekhov works at Saratoga... Romans searching for jockey to ride Nolan's Cat... Watchmon, likely Belmont starter, to work Tuesday.
With less than a week until the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the mile and a half race looks like this: Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo, and the rest of them.
The field for the 137th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11 continues taking shape.
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