Saeed bin Suroor sends out Emirates to Dubai in the Jaipur Stakes.

Saeed bin Suroor sends out Emirates to Dubai in the Jaipur Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Jaipur: 10 Seek First Graded Stakes Win

Emirates to Dubai and First Defence may have the upper hand June 15 at Belmont

A well-matched group of turf sprinters will each seek their first graded stakes score June 15 at Belmont Park, as 10 go to post in the $150,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT). The six-furlong contest will be held on the inner turf.

Among those with a chance at reaching the winner’s circle are Godolphin Racing’s Emirates to Dubai, who enters off a victory in the May 21 Red Wing Dream Stakes at Belmont; Michael Dubb and Robert Joscelyn’s Salute the Count, an 8-year-old gelding who was second in last year’s Jaipur; and Mohegan Sky and Silver Timber, a pair of starters saddled by Linda Rice.

Also to consider is Juddmonte Farms’ First Defence. The son of Unbridled's Song was in contention in the grade I Metropolitan last month at Belmont and will likely appreciate the cutback in distance. Finally, 6-year-old gelding True to Tradition should have a decent chance at taking top prize, as he enters off a neck defeat in the May 17 Old Mutual Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico after being steadied into the turn.

Emirates to Dubai will be the likely favorite and carry a race-high 122 pounds, spotting the rest of the field four to five pounds. Two of his four lifetime wins have come on the Belmont turf going six furlongs, including the Red Wing Dream, where he came from fifth at the top of the stretch to run down the leaders under Garrett Gomez. The 5-year-old son of Storm Cat--Morn of Song, by Blushing Groom has come from off the pace in all four of his victories.

Bred in Kentucky by Darley, Emirates to Dubai is trained by Saeed bin Suroor. He will get Gomez again and break from post four.

In a race void of a lot of early speed, First Defence could find himself on the lead in the Jaipur. The 4-year-old colt has gone wire-to-wire in three of his four lifetime wins, including last year’s Long Branch Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park. First Defence also enjoys the Belmont grass, as he has won twice over the surface – one of those by 8 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, First Defence was only a half-length back at the top of the stretch in the one-mile Metropolitan before tiring in the final furlong. He also has a runner-up performance in the King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) on his résumé, that coming last summer at Saratoga. Javier Castallano, who has ridden First Defence in all nine of his lifetime starts, will get the mount.

Rice’s two entries (uncoupled) are both coming off nice efforts in stakes competition. Larry Enterline’s Mohegan Sky was runner-up in the state-restricted Dynamic Lisa two weeks ago at Belmont, and won the Music Prince on May 3 going six furlongs. Invictus Farm’s Silver Timber was second by a head in the Music Prince, and most recently, was fourth, but only 1 1/2 lengths behind in the May 31 Pebo Guy at Belmont.

Salute the Count is the veteran of the group. The son of Count the Time has produced an 11-9-5 mark from 41 career starts. Since Rick Dutrow Jr. took over training duties two years ago, Salute the Count went from winning a $20,000 claiming event to triumphing in stakes competition on three different occasions. Most recently, he was only a length back of Mr. Nightlinger in the May 2 Aegon Turf Sprint Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs – his first try in graded stakes company since the 2007 Jaipur.

$150,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:15 p.m.), 3 & Up, Six Furlongs (Turf)
1. Salute the Count (KY), 118, Edgar S. Prado
2. Port Royal (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez
3. Mohegan Sky (NY), 117, Alan Garcia
4. Emirates to Dubai (KY), 122, Garrett K. Gomez
5. Silver Timber (NY), 118, Cornelio H. Velasquez
6. First Defence (KY), 118, Javier Castellano
7. Frisco Star (FL), 118, Jorge F. Chavez
8. Metro Meteor (NY), 118, Michael J. Luzzi
9. True to Tradition (KY), 118, Eibar Coa
10. Hollywood Left (FL), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux