Rested since his 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Sponsored by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Elizabeth Valando’s Nobiz Like Shobiz will likely be the favorite anyway in the $150,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park Wednesday.
Belmont presents a 10-race Independence Day card highlighted by the Dwyer and the Tom Fool Breeders’ Cup (gr. II).
The Dwyer, at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of six, with Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz, Sightseeing and Any Given Saturday the proven commodities.
Nobiz Like Shobiz, the son of Albert the Great, needed time to recoup, trainer Barclay Tagg said.
“I wanted to freshen him up,” said Tagg, who returned to New York Sunday morning after winning the Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) at Prairie Meadows with Dry Martini Saturday. “He’s had four hard races this year with the Kentucky Derby and three major preps. That’s tough on a young horse.”
Prior to the Derby and Wood, Nobiz Like Shobiz won the Holy Bull (gr. III) and ran third in the Fountain Of Youth (gr. II) while wintering at Gulfstream Park.
Tagg said he has been pleased with Nobiz Like Shobiz’s training over the past eight weeks and will remove blinkers Wednesday. The colt employed blinkers in his last two starts.
“I wasn’t going to keep them on forever in the first place,” Tagg said of the equipment change. “I’m not sure he really needed them anyway. We put them on in the Wood and they worked to help him focus more, but he’s doing that on his own now.”
Regular rider Cornelio Velasquez will pilot Nobiz Like Shobiz from post two.
Any Given Saturday has gotten a little down time as well since running eighth in the Kentucky Derby. Owned by WinStar Farm and Padua Stables, Any Given Saturday was beaten 3 3/4 lengths by Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Wood.
Any Given Saturday is probably best known for his race in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) earlier this year when he gave Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and eventual Derby winner Street Sense all he could handle, coming up a nose short after an intense stretch battle.
Garrett Gomez will ride Any Given Saturday, who has trained regularly since the Derby for Todd Pletcher.
Phipps Stable’s Sightseeing split Nobiz Like Shobiz and Any Given Saturday in the Wood Memorial, but did not come back and run in the Derby. He won his last race, the Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont, by a nose May 20th.
Despite winning his last start and having never run in blinkers, Sightseeing will have blinkers on for the Dwyer.
“I’ve been wanting to do it,” said trainer Shug McGaughey. “I was a little concerned about him not finishing up when he was asked in the Peter Pan. When (Edgar Prado) asked him the other day, it kind of took him a little while. He’s had a couple of good works in blinkers, so we thought we’d give it a try.”
On paper, McGaughey thinks the Dwyer could set up perfectly for Sightseeing.
“Nobiz Like Shobiz and Any Given Saturday are probably going to be watching each other,” McGaughey said. “Hopefully we can lay in behind them and maybe it will set up right for us.”
Juddmonte Farms’ First Defence will get some play in the Dwyer as he makes his first start in a stakes race Wednesday. The son of Unbridled’s Song won an entry-level allowance impressively at Belmont May 26 at seven furlongs for trainer Bobby Frankel.
$150,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 5:15 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Helsinki (KY), 117, Corey S. Nakatani
2. Nobiz Like Shobiz (KY), 123, Cornelio H. Velasquez
3. Sightseeing (KY), 121, Edgar S. Prado
4. Believeinmenow (FL), 117, Michael J. Luzzi
5. First Defence (KY), 117, Javier Castellano
6. Any Given Saturday (KY), 121, Garrett K. Gomez