Force the Pass won the Belmont Derby Invitational on July 4.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Force the Pass won the Belmont Derby Invitational on July 4.
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Goldstream, Force the Pass Head Secretariat

Undefeated Italian Derby winner, Belmont Derby winner face off Aug. 15.

Undefeated Italian Derby (Ity-II) winner Goldstream will make his first start for Australian Bloodstock Aug. 15, when he faces Belmont Derby Invitational (gr. IT) victor Force the Pass in the $450,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington International Racecourse.

The Martino Alonso colt, a perfect 5-for-5, was purchased by his new connections following his three-length triumph May 17 in Rome, and was in steady training in Germany for new trainer Andreas Wohler. He is expected to arrive at the Illinois oval around midnight Aug. 12, and will have Australian jockey Brenton Avdulla in the irons from post 3 as the third choice on the morning line at odds of 9-2.

Force the Pass, favored in a group of seven 3-year-olds at 2-1 on the morning line, is coming off a career-best score in the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby July 4, in which he stalked the pace along the rail and quickened away to a 3 3/4-length win under jockey Joel Rosario. He upset the race at odds of 10-1 when stretching out for the first time, has won four of six lifetime starts, and has never been worse than second with earnings of more than $1 million.

"He does everything right," Goldberg said. "Right now he's doing the same as he's always done. He's a good work horse and excellent on the racetrack."

Rosario comes in to ride the Speightstown  colt for trainer Alan Goldberg and owner Richard Santulli from post 2 in the 1 1/4-mile Secretariat. Force the Pass has two graded scores in a row to his credit, having won the May 30 Penn Mile Stakes (gr. IIIT) at 9-1 as a springboard to his Belmont Derby victory. 

"I thought he was a little high-priced (in the Belmont Derby)," Goldberg said. "You're always worried (whether they can get the distance), but he has a big, nice, long stride and has the mind for it."

Adding to the international competition for Force the Pass is the Galileo colt Highland Reel, who has the distinction of cutting back in distance for the Secretariat following a win in the 1 1/2-mile Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes (Eng-III) July 29 at Goodwood. Seamie Heffernan rides from post 6 for trainer Aidan O'Brien, a three-time winner of this race. Highland Reel races for Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Michael Tabor, for whom his best win to date was a victory last year in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (Eng-II). He is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Another of interest is War Dispatch, who was bred in Kentucky by his owner, Joseph Allen, but to date has only raced in France, winning the group III Prix de Guiche three starts back before consecutive placings in the Prix du Jockey Club (group I, French Derby) and Prix Eugene Adam (Fra-II). Ioritz Mendizabal rides for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget from post 7.

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, owners of 2013 Arlington Million (gr. IT) winner Real Solution , are represented here by Granny's Kitten, who won the first two starts of his career before third- and eighth-place finishes behind Force the Pass in the Penn Mile and Belmont Derby. Irad Ortiz rode Granny's Kitten in the Penn Mile and returns here for trainer Mike Maker from post 5.

"He was sick after the race, so it is obvious that he wasn't 100%," Ramsey said of Granny's Kitten's Belmont Derby. "He's a better horse than that, and we are giving him a chance to show it."

The sire of Granny's Kitten, champion Kitten's Joy , won the 2004 Secretariat Stakes for the Ramseys.

Godolphin Racing's Crittenden, second in the July 11 American Derby (gr. IIIT) for trainer Eoin Harty, and WinStar Farm's Closing Bell, trained by Bill Mott and fourth in the Belmont Derby, complete the field.

The 39th running of the Secretariat kicks off a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 3, and is part of both the $150,000 guaranteed Pick 4 that begins one race earlier with the American St. Leger (gr. IIIT), and the $100,000 guaranteed Pick 5 that begins two races prior with the Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT). The $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) and $1 million Arlington Million (gr. IT) conclude all three guaranteed pool wagers.