The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid -- who won the 1999 Travers (gr. I) -- has been assigned top weight of 122 pounds among 12 entered for the 49th Baruch, contested at nine furlongs. Cosmonaut will be after his third win in 2007. In his last start, Flying Zee Stable's Cosmonaut dominated his rivals in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park July 21 and seemed poised for a shot at the Million.
“He ran a very good race,” said Biancone of the 2 1/4-length triumph. “We were really pleased with his effort. After it, we were hoping to run him in the Arlington Million, but he had an abscess on his foot and he missed a week of work. But he has been training well here, and we are looking forward to running him. He is ready.”
Beside his two victories in 2007, Cosmonaut placed second May 19 in the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico, where he was beaten only three-quarters of a length by multiple graded stakes winner Remarkable News. Cosmonaut’s only finish out of the money this season came when he was fourth in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont June 9, finishing behind Better Talk Now, English Channel and Shakis. The latter shows up in the Baruch as well.
“He has never run a bad race,” Biancone said. “When he ran in the grade I, he was just behind some of the best turf horses. He has the talent and has shown it over and over.”
Cosmonaut broke his maiden at Saratoga in 2005 and has three graded stakes victories on his resume. Edgar Prado, who has ridden Cosmonaut for three of his six lifetime wins, will once again take the mount. They figure to be prominent on the early pace, and Biancone likes what he has seen from Cosmonaut since his last start.
“He’s been working very well and he is in good form,” Biancone said. “We are very happy with him, and we expect him to run good.”
Drum Major comes out of the Fourstardave, where he was second, only three-quarters of a length behind the winning Silver Tree. Before that, the son of Dynaformer took third in the Bob Harding Memorial Stakes at Monmouth Park July 14, his first start in 2007.
“We figured he might have needed a race," trainer George Weaver said. "We took a shot in the Fourstardave, and he ran very well. He came out of it well, so we are looking forward to running him again.”
Drum Major’s last win came in the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT) last November at Aqueduct.
Also coming in off the Fourstardave is Woodlander, a threat from slightly off the pace for trainer Gary Contessa. Woodlander ran fourth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in the Fourstardave, when the 5-year-old son of Forestry and jockey Mike Luzzi were the victims of a paceless race. Woodlander hasn't won since the Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct in April 2006, however.
“Last time out, there was no pace in front of him, and he had to make up too much,” Contessa said. “But this is a horse who can be a part of the pace if you just ask him to be. Luzzi just needs to be more aware of the pace situation.
“He belongs with these horses. He’s danced every dance. As long as the pace scenario is a little better, I think we will be tough.”
Shakis, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, finished a half-length in front of Cosmonaut in the Manhattan and most recently took fourth in Belmont Park’s Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT).
The 9-year-old gelding Evening Attire is entered for the main track only.
$200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT Race 7, 4:20 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Shakis (IRE), 116, Alan Garcia
2. Big Prairie (KY), 115, Javier Castellano
3. Drum Major (KY), 116, Rafael Bejarano
4. Linda's Lad (GB), 117, Julien R. Leparoux
5. Outperformance (KY), 115, Eibar Coa
6. Cosmonaut (KY), 122, Edgar S. Prado
7. Karelian (KY), 114, Calvin H. Borel
8. Stay Close (GB), 115, John R. Velazquez
9. Silver Whistle (KY), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
10. Woodlander (KY), 114, Michael J. Luzzi
11. Ballast (IRE), 116, Ramon A. Dominguez
12. Gun Salute (KY), 115, Cornelio H. Velasquez
Main Track Only
13. Evening Attire (KY), 124, (No Rider)