(from Belmont Park report)
The well-traveled Weigelia returns to one of his favorite courses Sunday when he takes on 11 rivals in the $100,000-added Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT) at six furlongs on the Belmont Park inner turf course for trainer Mike Trombetta.
The versatile 6-year-old horse has won 13 of 19 races in four seasons of campaigning and is only about $25,000 shy of the $1 million mark in career earnings. He's won on dirt and turf from five furlongs to seven. And the grandson of Danzig ran the fastest six furlongs ever over the inner course when he won an allowance race in a scorching 1:07 nearly a year ago.
“I don’t have anything else like him,” Trombetta said. “He’s one of a kind.”
Since setting the mark, Weigelia has raced 10 times -- all stakes -- at six tracks. For Sunday, he has drawn post 8 with jockey Eddie Castro. This season, Weigelia owns a win, a second, and a third from four starts.
On the final Saturday of April, he scored a near-career-best victory in Calder’s Ponche.
“He’s doing really well and from his recent training he should run well,” said Trombetta, who currently has strings in Maryland and Delaware. “He came out of his last race at Calder in good shape. The one thing with him: he loves the Calder main track and the inner turf at Belmont.
“He’s been stabled at Delaware, so he doesn’t have that far a ride to New York. As far as the race, he doesn’t care how it sets up; he can sit off horses if he has to. As long as he gets a clean start, he’ll be there.”
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has two horses in Carnera and Museeb. Carnera, a 4-year-old by Old Trieste, appears the stronger of the two. Purchased for $550,000 as a yearling, Carnera has gone on to win four of 14 starts, including the A in Sociology at Saratoga Race Course last summer. As a 3-year-old, Carnera finished third in the Hill Prince and second in the Lexington, a pair of grade III stakes run over the Belmont Park turf.
Carnera, however, will race with two bar shoes in the Jaipur.
Museeb, a 5-year-old son of the late Danzig, is winless in four turf races since he took a Belmont Park allowance sprint last June. Museeb, whose last two races have come over Keeneland’s Polytrack, has drawn post 4 with jockey Fernando Jara.
Trainer Howie Tesher has entered Baron Von Tap in the Jaipur with the hopes the horse can get up going six furlongs. Baron Von Tap, a four-time winner on the turf who was better than ever this winter at Gulfstream Park, has never raced at the Jaipur distance.
Baron Von Tap, who does own a victory on the Belmont Park grass, is picking up jockey Garrett Gomez.
Red Storm Stable’s Congo King owns the best recent turf sprint form of anyone in the Jaipur after running second in Keeneland’s Shakertown (gr. IIT) and third in Churchill’s Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT). Congo King, a 4-year-old son of Horse Chestnut, has drawn post 6 with jockey John Velazquez. The colt is conditioned by trainer Patrick Biancone.
$100,000 Japur Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:56 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Salute the Count (KY), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux
2. Baron Von Tap (KY), 118, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Metro Meteor (NY), 118, Alan Garcia
4. Museeb (KY), 118, Fernando Jara
5. Carnera (KY), 120, Eibar Coa
6. Congo King (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez
7. Will He Shine (KY), 118, Edgar S. Prado
8. Weigelia (FL), 120, Eddie Castro
9. Silver Timber (NY), 118, Cornelio H. Velasquez
10. Retribution (NY), 120, Eddie M. Martin, Jr.
11. Ecclesiastic (KY), 118, Javier Castellano
12. Southern Missile (KY), 118, Channing Hill