Lucky Shamrock Stable's Declan's Warrior will try to extend his win streak to four races when he starts in what appears to be a strong edition of the $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) June 8 at Belmont Park.
Declan's Warrior enters the race for 3-year-old sprinters off a hard-fought victory in the Gygistar Stakes May 22 at Belmont, contested at the Woody Stephens distance of seven furlongs. Moved to the five path at the eighth pole by regular rider Jose Lezcano, Declan's Warrior passed three horses in the final furlong to improve to 2-for-2 at Belmont.
The victory marked a second straight narrow stakes win for Declan's Warrior after registering a head victory over Swale Stakes (gr. III) winner Clearly Now in the Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The Majestic Warrior colt rallied from seventh that day. Clearly Now also is entered in the Woody Stephens.
Trained by Nick Zito, Declan's Warrior has won four of his five career starts and has earned $268,770.
Awaiting Declan's Warrior will be Zee Bros, who registered an eye-catching win on the front end of the Chick Lang Stakes May 18 on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico Race Course. That effort marked the first stakes win for Zayat Stables' son of Brother Derek.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out the top two finishers from the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) in Perretti Racing Stable's Forty Tales, who edged Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Capo Bastone by a neck.
"I think they're very evenly matched," Pletcher said. "Capo Bastone got back a little further than probably is ideal in his last start, but I think he has probably found his niche in one-turn races coming from a little bit off the pace. Forty Tales has consistently run well in these types of races."
$400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (race 9, approximate post time 4:41 p.m.) 3YOs, 7 furlongs
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Declan's Warrior (KY), J. Lezcano, 123, N. Zito
2. Salutos Amigos (KY), J. Leparoux, 117, E. Guillot
3. Capo Bastone (KY), J. Velazquez, 117, T. Pletcher
4. Retreive (FL), I. Ortiz Jr., 117, J. Englehart
5. Honorable Dillon (KY), J. Alvarado, 123, E. Kenneally
6. Zee Bros (KY), R. Napravnik, 123, B. Baffert
7. Forty Tales (KY), J. Rosario, 123, T. Pletcher
8. Tenango (KY), D. Cohen, 117, D. Jacobson
9. Clearly Now (KY), L. Saez, 123, E. Cotterill
10. Merit Man (FL), K. Desormeaux, 123, R. Hess Jr.
11. Let Em Shine (KY), E. Maldonado, 117, A. Kitchingman