A field of seven 3-year-olds led by WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer, was drawn for the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), which now serves as the local prep for next month’s Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The 1 1/8-mile Dwyer replaces the Peter Pan (gr. II) as the main tune-up for the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown, which will be run June 5. In recent years, the Dwyer was held in early July but the Belmont Park stakes schedule has undergone several recent changes during NYRA's recently announced stakes cuts.
Post time for the May 8 Dwyer is slated for 5:17 p.m. EST. and it is the ninth of 10 races on the program.
WinStar was hopeful that Drosselmeyer would be among its starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but despite turning in two solid preps the Distorted Humor colt fell short on graded earnings. Things worked out well for WinStar, of course, when homebred Super Saver went on to take the roses at Churchill Downs last weekend. Drosselmeyer, a long-striding colt who takes a while to get revved up, may be better suited for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont anyway.
Drosselmeyer broke his maiden by six lengths last fall at Churchill and was an impressive allowance winner at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut in January. In his two Derby preps at Fair Grounds, the chestnut colt never received an ideal trip, finishing fourth by less than two lengths in the Feb. 20 Risen Star (gr. II) and then third by a length in the March 27 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) when breaking from post 13.
Since the Louisiana Derby, Drosselmeyer has had three works at Keeneland, including a seven-furlong breeze May 1 when clocking 1:27. The Bill Mott trainee drew post 2 and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux once again.
Drosselmeyer, a $600,000 Keeneland September 2008 yearling sale purchase, was bred in Kentucky by Aaron U. Jones and Mary D. Jones. The 2-1 morning-line favorite is out of the Moscow Ballet mare Golden Ballet.
Also coming out of the Louisiana Derby is Richard Pell’s Fly Down, who finished ninth and will try to give trainer Nick Zito his third Dwyer victory. Fly Down, by Mineshaft, broke his maiden going two turns at Churchill in November and scored a nine-furlong allowance contest at Gulfstream Feb. 21. He was never a factor during a troubled trip in the Louisiana Derby.
Fly Down worked a bullet four furlongs in :47 3/5 May 3 at Churchill in preparation for the Dwyer. Jose Lezcano has the mount.
Zito won the Dwyer in 1992 with Agincourt and in 2000 with Albert the Great.
Carrying top weight of 121 pounds will be Earle Mack’s Turf Melody, who amazingly will be making his 10th career start at his 10th different racetrack. The only black-type winner in the field, Turf Melody won the Springboard Mile at Remington Park in December. As a sophomore, he has been off the board in the Lecomte (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct, and Illinois Derby (gr. III) at Hawthorne. Rajiv Maragh will be aboard for the first time for trainer Graham Motion.
"He came out of the race fine, and he’s had plenty of time to recover from that trip,” said Motion. "The track at Hawthorne seemed to be cuppy, and I don’t think he handled it well, if I were to make an excuse.
“The thought process is that this isn’t as tough of a group as the one going to the Preakness, and it’s a chance to run over the track. If he handles the competition and the surface, we’ll look at the Belmont Stakes in four weeks.”
Likely to be part of the early pace is Carnivore, who starts along the rail under Ramon Dominguez. The son of Giant's Causeway led after a half-mile before finishing runner-up April 29 in an allowance race at Pimlico. The James Delozier trainee was fifth in the Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Completing the field is Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) fifth-place finisher Codoy, who makes his debut on dirt; Remand, third last out in the Bay Shore (gr. III), and Soaring Empire, who comes out of an eighth-place effort in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
$200,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 5:17 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Carnivore (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, J W Delozier, III
2. Drosselmeyer (KY), K J Desormeaux, 116, W I Mott
3. Turf Melody (KY), R Maragh, 121, H G Motion
4. Soaring Empire (KY), E Castro, 116, C M Gambolati
5. Remand (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, J P Terranova, II
6. Codoy (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, M Hubley
7. Fly Down (KY), J Lezcano, 116, N P Zito