Corinthian Out to Make Case in Suburban Handicap

Corinthian Out to Make Case in Suburban Handicap
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Met winner Corinthian seeks validation in the Suburban.
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The Suburban Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park may have lost its top star when Invasor was retired following an injury sustained in a June 23 workout, but that doesn’t mean the race has lost intrigue.

The Suburban, which will be contested Saturday, was to pit the Invasor, the reigning Horse of the Year, against the rising 4-year-old Corinthian. Instead, Corinthian will have the opportunity to validate himself as the East’s best handicap horse.

The $400,000 race for 3-year-olds and up will serve as a rematch between Corinthian and Political Force, the respective first- and second-place finishers in the May 28 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont. In the Met Mile, Corinthian, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, held off the wide late rally of Political Force, trained Allen Jerkens, his Hall of Fame father.

The Jerkens duo will tackle an additional quarter mile and four opponents in the Suburban. Neither 4-year-old colt has raced at the Suburban’s distance of 1¼ miles.

The Met Mile was Corinthian’s first grade I win. He entered the race off a disappointing fifth-place finish in which he hopped at the start as the odds-on favorite in the Excelsior Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) at Aqueduct in April.

Corinthian won his two other starts of 2007-- the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) in March and an allowance race in February, also at Gulfstream. The Gulfstream Park Handicap was at 1 3/16 miles, the longest distance Corinthian has raced in his career.

Corinthian has sharp tactical speed, which helps him attain good position, but he willingly sits off the pace. That ability should help Corinthian and jockey Kent Desormeaux negotiate added distance without a problem.

“I think he will rate kindly,” Jimmy Jerkens said. “For a horse who has only run nine times, he has a lot of experience going a route of ground.”

Centennial Farms owns Corinthian, by Pulpit out of the Easy Goer mare Multiply. Corinthian, a $385,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase, was bred in Kentucky by Gracefield Equine and Hargus Sexton.

Corinthian was a prospect for the Triple Crown during his 3-year-old campaign, having finished first in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) before he was disqualified and placed third for interference.

Corinthian was sidelined with a hairline fracture in his left hind ankle following the Fountain of Youth and raced just once more in 2006, finishing third in an allowance race at Saratoga. The winner of that race was Hesanoldsalt, who has subsequently become a graded stakes winner and has placed in multiple graded stakes, including the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream.

Political Force still seeks his first stakes win but has come close to attaining that elusive victory in his last three starts. Prior to the Met Mile, the Joseph Allen homebred son of Unbridled’s Song finished second in the Westchester Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont before he was disqualified and placed third for interference. Political Force entered the Westchester off a third-place effort in the Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

Political Force has never won beyond a mile, but Allen Jerkens isn’t concerned with the 10-furlong distance of the Suburban.

“I don’t think it will be a big problem for him,” Jerkens said. “He seemed to rate well in the Met and finish up good. His breeding is good. He’s by a son of Unbridled out of a mare (Glitter Woman) who won at a mile and an eighth.”

Team Valor’s Fairbanks is expected to set the pace in the Suburban. The Todd Pletcher trainee enters the Suburban off a dominant 6 ¼-length win in the Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park in March.

Nine-year-old Evening Attire will make his fourth start in the Suburban, having finished fourth in 2002 and fifth in 2003 and 2005. Malibu Moonshine, a six-time stakes winner, completes the field, which follows with post positions, weights, and jockeys:

1 Political  Force 116  Cornelio Velasquez
2 Hesanoldsalt  117  Eibar Coa
3 Malibu Moonshine 114  Channing Hill
4 Corinthian  119  Kent Desormeaux
5 Fairbanks  116  Richard Migliore
6 Evening Attire 114  Edgar Prado




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