The undefeated Hull, and Regal Ransom, who turned in a surprising victory over stablemate Desert Party in the UAE Derby (gr.II), are among nine 3-year-olds entered in the $250,000 Woody Stephens (gr.II) at Belmont Park June 6.
The Team Valor International-owned Hull, the likely favorite, enters the seven-furlong Woody Stephens following a convincing score in the Derby Trial (gr. III) at Churchill Downs April 25. A son of Holy Bull, Hull is a perfect 3-for-3. Following a maiden score in February at Fair Grounds, the Dale Romans-trained colt followed with a win at Turfway Park in an allowance race.
In the Derby Trial, Hull showed early foot, as he had in his previous starts, and surged to a four-length victory under Miguel Mena, who has the return mount from post 9.
Darley Stable’s Regal Ransom has trained sharply since his eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr.I). With two bullet works under his belt, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee will, like Hull, make his Belmont Park debut. The white-hot Alan Garcia rides Regal Ransom, a front-runner, from post 4.
Trainer Tim Ritchey, who saddled Afleet Alex to victory in the 2005 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), ships in from Delaware Park with the undefeated Everyday Heros for Cash Counter Stables. The Awesome Again colt has an unblemished record in four starts. He won his stakes debut at Pimlico on Preakness Day in the Hirsch Jacobs (gr.III). Everyday Heros, another speedy type in the Woody Stephens field, drew post 8, and will be ridden by Jose Caraballo.
Hello Broadway, second earlier this year to the accomplished Capt. Candyman Can in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr.II) for trainer Barclay Tagg and owner Elizabeth Valando, finished fourth behind Charitable Man in the Peter Pan (gr.II). The turn-back in the Woody Stephens to seven furlongs should prove helpful for Hello Broadway, a son of Broken Vow .
Munnings , a sometime workmate for Belmont Stakes starter Dunkirk, makes only his second start of the year in the Woody Stephens. The Michael Tabor-owned colt finished second in a first-level allowance race at Churchill Downs May 1 in his first effort since an off-the-board finish in the Bessemer Cup Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr.I). Last year, the Todd Pletcher-trained Munnings finished second in the Champagne (gr.I) at Belmont Park in his third career start.
California shipper Triumphant Flight, a speedy son of Chullo, used his speed to wire the field of the San Miguel Stakes at San Anita in March.
This Ones for Phil, who has tactical speed, will benefit from a lively pace. Paul Pompa Jr.’s multiple stakes winner became the official winner of the Swale (gr.II) at Gulfstream Park upon the disqualification of Big Drama, who interfered with This Ones for Phil.
$300,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 3:59 p.m.), 3, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. This Ones for Phil (FL), G K Gomez, 123, R E Dutrow, Jr.
2. Gone Astray (KY), E S Prado, 117, C R McGaughey III
3. Munnings (KY), J R Velazquez, 117, T A Pletcher
4. Regal Ransom (KY), A Garcia, 123, S bin Suroor
5. Triumphant Flight (CA), K J Desormeaux, 121, J E Kruljac
6. Hello Broadway (KY), R A Dominguez, 117, B Tagg
7. Kensei (KY), R Albarado, 117, S M Asmussen
8. Everyday Heroes (KY), J C Caraballo, 123, T F Ritchey
9. Hull (KY), M Mena, 123, D L Romans