Ironicus shoots for his second straight graded stakes score in the Poker Stakes.

Ironicus shoots for his second straight graded stakes score in the Poker Stakes.

Maryland Jockey Club

Ironicus Targets Poker Stakes

Homebred Distorted Humor son seeks second straight graded score June 13 at Belmont.

Stuart S. Janney III's Ironicus  shoots for his second straight graded stakes score in the $500,000 Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park on June 13.

The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor  out of Meghan's Joy upset the May 16 Longines Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico Race Course when he rallied from 10th through the lane under jockey Javier Castellano before prevailing by 2 3/4 lengths for his first graded win.

Bred in Kentucky by Janney, Ironicus has won three of eight career starts with $272,790 in earnings.

After finishing 12th in his debut on the main track at Aqueduct Racetrack on Nov. 30, 2013, Ironicus found a home on the grass, breaking his maiden in his second career start on New Year's Day of 2014 at Gulfstream Park.

Since the moving to the grass for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, Ironicus has hit the board in all seven turf starts, including the powerful victory in the Longines Dixie.

The 4-year-old colt has breezed twice since the Dixie score for McGaughey and will carry 122 pounds in the Poker. He drew post seven in the 10-horse field and will be ridden again by Castellano in this one-mile contest.

Finishing fourth as the favorite in the Dixie after a wide trip was Long On Value, who is back for revenge in the Poker, drawing post two and is the starting high weight in the field carrying 124 pounds.

The multiple graded stakes winner has won six of 17 career starts for Wachtel Stable and George Kerr, with earnings of $552,198.

Sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the Dixie, Long On Value ran an even fourth throughout, finishing four lengths behind Ironicus after racing six-wide into the stretch. Joel Rosario rode the colt in the Dixie and is back aboard for the Poker.

Last year, Long On Value won the Oct. 31 Twilight Derby (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park and began this year with a victory in the Feb. 21 Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) from Gulfstream. He was bred in Virginia by Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds and is by Value Plus out of Long Message.

Besides Long On Value, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will also saddle multiple graded stakes winner Vyjack in the Poker.

Vyjack, a 5-year-old gelding by Into Mischief , has dropped his last five starts and now moves into the care of Mott, trying the grass for the first time in his career. He was trained by Rudy Rodriguez to begin his career, taking the 2013 Jerome Stakes (gr. II) and the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) before finishing 18th in the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), then eventually returning from an illness to win the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) last September.

Owned by David Wilkenfield's Pick Six Racing, Vyjack has won six of 19 career starts with earnings of $1,011,500. Vyjack will break from the outside post under jockey Junior Alvarado carrying 122 pounds.

King Kreesa and Paris Vegas, along with Howe Great and Heart to Heart, are recognizable stakes contenders in the field.

Entries: Poker S. (G3T)

Belmont Park, Saturday, June 13, 2015, Race 5

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 3:24 PM (local)
11All Included (KY)John R. Velazquez116Todd A. Pletcher-
22Long On Value (VA)Joel Rosario124William I. Mott-
33King Kreesa (NY)Jose L. Ortiz120David G. Donk-
44Heart to Heart (ON)Luis Saez120Brian A. Lynch-
55Howe Great (KY)Manuel Franco116Thomas M. Bush-
66Il Campione (CHI)Irad Ortiz, Jr.120Chad C. Brown-
77Ironicus (KY)Javier Castellano122Claude R. McGaughey III-
88Paris Vegas (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCornelio H. Velasquez116Elizabeth Voss-
99In Speight Ofitall (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEric Cancel116Eugene Reiff-
1010Vyjack (KY)Junior Alvarado122William I. Mott-