Stakes Winner Bittel Road Heads Pilgrim

Son of Stormy Atlantic goes for automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out stakes winner Bittel Road as the likely favorite in a field of nine for the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Belmont Park inner turf Oct. 1, a race that carries implications for the upcoming Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

The winner of the 1 1/16-mile Pilgrim earns a berth in the Juvenile Turf Oct. 25 at Santa Anita as a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" challenge series race. The race, along with the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) for juvenile fillies on the grass, was rescheduled from Sept. 28 after heavy rain hit the New York region.

Bittel Road, owned by James Scatuorchio, has won both of his starts to date, including the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga in his last start Aug. 29. Sent off as the 11-10 choice in the 1 1/16-mile turf event, the son of Stormy Atlantic  was bumped at the break but passed four horses in the stretch under strong urging from jockey John Velazquez to win by a head in a game effort.

The dark bay also has experience over Belmont's inner turf course, breaking his maiden in front-running style by more than three lengths at six furlongs in his debut July 11 with Velazquez in the irons.

Velazquez, who won the 4,000th race of his career Sept. 28, will be aboard once again, and they will break from post 8.

Zayat Stables' Herr Mozart finished third in the With Anticipation, 1 1/2 lengths behind Bittel Road, in his racing debut. The Bill Mott-trained son of Mr. Greeley saved ground and finished willingly for jockey Rajiv Maragh.

Elusive Bluff, trained by William Badgett Jr. for Pegasus Dream Stable, won at first asking Sept. 5 over the Belmont turf going one mile at odds of 32-1. Southern California-based jockey Michael Baze takes over on the Elusive Quality colt, who won his bow by 1 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:35.04 on firm going.

The Great Britain-bred Duke of Homberg, owned by Padua Stables, invades from France where the son of Dynaformer won an allowance race at Maisons-Laffitte by three lengths in his last start July 3.

Relatively Ready graduated in his last start impressively over a Saratoga lawn rated "good" Aug. 20. David Donk trains the More Than Ready  colt for owner Charles K. Marquis.

Our Sugar Bear Stable's Show Me the Cash is also a last-out maiden winner, scoring over Belmont's inner turf against state breds at six furlongs Sept. 11 for trainer Bruce Brown.

Scientist defeated New York-bred turf sprinters at Saratoga. Maidens Giant Talent and Pynaformer complete the field.

$150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:45 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Giant Talent (KY), 118, Alan Garcia
2. Scientist (NY), 118, Michael J. Luzzi
3. Elusive Bluff (KY), 118, Michael C. Baze
4. Pynaformer (KY), 116, Jean-Luc Samyn
5. Duke of Homberg (GB), 118, Edgar S. Prado
6. Herr Mozart (KY), 116, Rajiv Maragh
7. Show Me the Cash (NY), 118, Javier Castellano
8. Bittel Road (KY), 122, John R. Velazquez
9. Relatively Ready (NY), 118, Cornelio H. Velasquez