Irish Mission

Irish Mission

Michael Burns

Beaugay, Fort Marcy Top Derby Bill at Belmont

Trainers Christophe Clement, Bill Mott, Chad Brown well represented in turf events.

Irish Mission and Orion Moon, both from the barn of trainer Christophe Clement, face off at Belmont Park in the $150,000 Beaugay (gr. IIIT), one of two graded turf stakes on the New York track's May 3 Kentucky Derby card.

The Beaugay, for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the Widener lawn, joins the $150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Kentucky Derby Day card at Belmont Park, where the first race post time is noon EDT. The well-traveled Manighar, who has raced in France, England, and Australia, will make his North American debut in the Fort Marcy, a 1 1/8-mile inner course turf event for older horses.

Owned by Robert S. Evans, Irish Mission will be making her first start for Clement and her 2014 debut on Saturday. As a 4-year-old with Mark Frostad last season, she finished second as the favorite in the Nassau (Can-IIT), third in the Orchid (gr. IIIT), and contested the grade I Northern Dancer (fourth) and grade II Sky Classic, both against males. To close out the year, she finished seventh in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) over a boggy Woodbine turf courseconditions she may encounter again over the weekend.

"She's been with us all winter and she's training very well," said Clement. "She's running, maybe a little bit short for herthe mile and a sixteenthbut if the ground is a bit tiring, (the distance) could become more of a stamina test."

Newly minted Hall of Famer Alex Solis will be aboard Irish Mission, 8-1 on the morning line, and the pair will depart from post position 9.

Orion Moon has the benefit of having a race this year, a fast-closing second by a head behind Coffee Clique at a mile over a rock-hard Gulfstream Park turf. Despite an abridged 2013 campaign, the daughter of French-based sire Manduro racked up two wins from three starts and finished fifth in the Speed Boat Stakes over "good" ground at Saratoga Race Course.

"She had a disappointing race last year on softer ground, but I don't think it was related to the ground," said Clement. "She's training well and she had a very good race at Gulfstream the other day."

Orion Moon, 7-2 on the morning line, will be ridden by Junior Alvarado and drew post 4.

Bill Mott will send out Byrama, who will be making her third start for the Hall of Fame trainer. The bay daughter of Byron kicked off her year in the Ten Palms Stakes at Gulfstream. Brought back in the Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, the 5-year-old mare failed to fire and finished seventh of eight over the Polytrack April 12.

Byrama has post 2 with Chris DeCarlo in the irons and sits at 4-1 on the morning line.

Trainer Chad Brown entered two in the Beaugay, Watsdachances (5-1) and Waterway Run (3-1). The former, unraced in 2014, placed in three graded stakes in 2013 and capped her year off with a win in the Summer Secretary at Aqueduct Racetrack. The latter has two runner-up finishes to her credit this year, including one in the Hillsborough (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.

Sunny Desert and Natalie Victoria were entered for the main track only.

The Fort Marcy attracted a field of 10, including 8-year-old Manighar, a gelded son of the French stallion Linamix. He is one of a trio of Fort Marcy entrants from Clement, who also will saddle multiple stakes winners Speaking of Which, sixth in the 2013 Fort Marcy in his first start for Clement, and Summer Front .

"Manighar came to us in Florida over the winterhe's a great horse, wonderful character, and very sound," Clement said of the 41-race veteran whose last appearance was in October at Caulfield, where he was 15th in the BMW Caulfield Cup (Aus-I). "He probably wants to go further than this, and he might need a race. Obviously, he hasn't run in a while. It's exciting."

Speaking of Which has made one start in 2014, finishing third in the Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 18. The 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Invincible Spirit closed out his 4-year-old campaign with a victory in the Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder Casino & Race Course.

Clement, who won last year's Fort Marcy with Lubash, said that Summer Front, winner of the Fort Lauderdale (gr. IIT) Jan. 11 at Gulfstream, likely would run only if the course was firm.

With Julian Pimentel aboard, Manighar will leave from post 9 at 15-1 on the morning line. Speaking of Which, 5-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by Junior Alvarado from gate 6, while Summer Front, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, drew post 3 under Solis.

Mott, will be represented by a pair of runners. Tetradrachm has two seconds, a third, and three fourths since winning an optional claimer at Saratoga in his first start for Mott, and Unbridled Ocean, most recently third in an allowance at Keeneland.

Ghurair, an English import for Shadwell Stable, makes his North American bow at 3-1 for Brown.

$150,000 Beaugay Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:20 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Widener Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Watsdachances (IRE), K Carmouche, 119, C C Brown
2. Byrama (GB), C P DeCarlo, 119, W I Mott
3. Assateague (KY), E Castro, 119, M R Matz
4. Orion Moon (FR), J Alvarado, 115, C Clement
5. Natalie Victoria (FL) (MTO), J Lezcano, 115, M Nevin
6. English Class (KY), M Franco, 115, B A Lynch
7. Waterway Run (PA), J Lezcano, 115, C C Brown
8. Sunny Desert (NY) (MTO), no rider, 115, B N Levine
9. Irish Mission (ON), A O Solis, 115, C Clement
10. Scampering (KY), C H Velasquez, 115, C R McGaughey III

$150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 5:48 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Swift Warrior (KY), M Franco, 121, J P Terranova II
2. Unbridled Ocean (KY), E Castro, 115, W I Mott
3. Seal Cove (KY), C H Velasquez, 115, C R McGaughey III
4. Summer Front (KY), A O Solis, 119, C Clement
5. Ghurair (KY), J Lezcano, 115, C C Brown
6. Speaking of Which (IRE), J Alvarado, 115, C Clement
7. Tetradrachm (KY), C P DeCarlo, 115, W I Mott
8. Five Iron (KY), M J Luzzi, 119, B A Lynch
9. Manighar (FR), J Pimentel, 115, C Clement
10. Sky Blazer (KY), K Carmouche, 115, B Tagg