I Want Revenge, scratched on the morning on the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), makes his long awaited return to racing in the $300,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park July 3.
The son of Stephen Got Even became the first morning-line favorite to scratch on the day of the Derby when he had swelling in his right front ankle. After MRIs and ultrasounds later showed the colt had significant ligament damage, he underwent surgery and was shelved for more than 10 months.
Earlier this month, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said I Want Revenge came to his Aqueduct barn in April in good shape and was impressed by his fitness level. He has made 10 official works since returning to training, including a four-furlong breeze in :48 3/5 at Belmont June 29.
I Want Revenge, who was previously trained by Jeff Mullins, last raced in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 4, 2009 and overcame a bad start to win in impressive fashion. Prior to that, he romped by more than eight lengths in the Gotham (gr. III) in his first start on dirt. The dark bay/brown colt had made the first six starts of his career in California on synthetics.
Regular rider Joe Talamo will fly in from California for the mount on 4-year-old I Want Revenge, who is now owned by IEAH Stables. They drew post 4 and face six rivals in the event, which was shortened from 10 furlongs to nine for the first time this year and is now run at one turn. The lesser distance is a major reason Dutrow decided to race his charge in the Suburban off a lengthy layoff.
“He doesn’t train like he needs a race to show up,” Dutrow said. “If he gets a little tired, that’s OK, not a big deal.
"Talent-wise, he stacks right up there as far as his training goes. It seems like he’s ready to run. He’s a good one, and he’s supposed to be with these kind of horses. He’s been developing the way you want a 4-year-old to develop. Every day has been a good day with him."
I Want Revenge, the 119-pound high weight, is 3-1-4 from eight starts with earnings of $816,000. He was bred by his previous owner, David Lanzman, and is out of the Roy mare Meguial.
Dutrow will also saddle Pictural for IEAH as part of a coupled entry that is the 7-5 choice. The 6-year-old son of El Prado rides an eight-race losing streak into the Suburban, having last won an optional claimer in February 2009. Most recently, he was sixth in a $50,000 claimer June 18 at Churchill Downs.
Also returning from an extended layoff is Godolphin’s Regal Ransom, who finished eighth in that 2009 Kentucky Derby. Regal Ransom has not raced since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) last November at Santa Anita. The son of Distorted Humor wintered in Dubai but did not race there and was returned to New York this spring.
Regal Ransom has worked steadily at Belmont since his return to the U.S., last breezing five furlongs in :58 4/5 June 26. As a 3-year-old, he won the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group UAE Derby (UAE-II) in Dubai and later in the season captured the Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs.
Alan Garcia will ride Regal Ransom, the 2-1 second choice, for Saeed bin Suroor.
“It’s not the easiest spot, going nine furlongs coming back off a layoff, but if you had to run one off the bench, he’s the one,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to bin Suroor. “We know he likes this track as well.”
Other Suburban contenders include Haynesfield and Convocation. Haynesfield enters on a three-race win streak, including a wire-to-wire victory June 13 in a one-mile optional claimer at Belmont in his 4-year-old debut. A New York-bred son of Speightstown, 4-year-old Haynesfield earned his lone graded stakes win last November in the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct. He is 7-1-1 from 10 career starts. Ramon Dominguez will ride for Steve Asmussen.
Convocation was fourth, beaten seven lengths by Quality Road most recently in the grade I Met Mile May 31, which was the third start of his 4-year-old campaign. The Pulpit colt won his season debut impressively in February, romping by five lengths in a one-mile, first-level allowance event. He was also the runner-up in the Westchester (gr. III) at Belmont April 30. Kent Desormeaux will be aboard for Jimmy Jerkens.
Eldaafer has been no worse than third in all six of his starts at Belmont, with three victories, including last year’s Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/2 miles. With Jose Valdivia Jr. up, the 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy will break from the rail.
$300,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 5:16 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Eldaafer (KY), J Valdivia Jr., 114, D Alvarado
2. Convocation (KY), K J Desormeaux, 115, J A Jerkens
3. Pictural (KY), M J Luzzi, 110, R E Dutrow, Jr.
4. I Want Revenge (KY), J Talamo, 119, R E Dutrow Jr.
5. Unbridled Danger (KY), J Rodriguez, 108, R S Young
6. Regal Ransom (KY), A Garcia, 118, S bin Suroor
7. Haynesfield (NY), R A Dominguez, 115, S M Asmussen