Hill Prince Starts Big Belmont Stakes Weekend

(from Belmont Park report)
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin packs a solid one-two punch in Spider Power and Carnera, part of a puzzler that kicks off Belmont Park's big stakes weekend on Friday in the $100,000 Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) on the turf.

A full field of 12 was entered for the one-mile test for 3-year-olds, plus three more entered for the main track only.

McLaughlin has one of the leading contenders in Jazil for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) the following day.

As for the Hill Prince, Spider Power prefers rallying from off the pace while Carnera tends to put himself in the game early.

Spider Power, an Irish-bred, steps into the Hill Prince on the heels of a determined allowance victory on the Belmont grass on May 18, which was his first U.S. win in five starts for McLaughlin. Last of eight early, Spider Power launched a powerful move on the far turn before gamely putting away Outperformance in the final 100 yards. Outperformance was also entered in the Hill Prince.

Jockey Garrett Gomez rode Spider Power in his last start, but chose the Nick Zito-trained Giant Basil for the Hill Prince. Jockey Jose Santos has picked up the mount aboard Spider Power, who drew post 3.

Carnera, a colt by Old Trieste, is 2-for-3 on turf and enters the Hill Prince in search of his third consecutive victory after winning a maiden special weight and entry-level allowance. McLaughlin says he was particularly impressed with Carnera's last victory on April 30, a wire-to-wire score over 2-5 shot Galantas.

Trainer Bobby Frankel also entered a pair of colts in the Hill Prince and one of them, To Sender, is arguably the horse to beat.

To Sender, a British-bred owned by Juddmonte Farms, went undefeated in two races at Santa Anita over the winter, taking an optional claimer and the ungraded Pasadena. He is out to make amends for his last place finish as the favorite in Keeneland's Transylvania (gr. IIIT). To Sender just about ran off in the early stages of the Transylvania before tiring and might deserve another chance.

Frankel also entered a maiden in Preah Kahn, a Florida-bred who has raced exclusively in France up to this point He has three seconds from three career starts.

Champion trainer Todd Pletcher has an uncoupled entry of Black Snake and Tahoe Warrior. Black Snake, a son of More Than Ready , won his first and only start of 2006 at Gulfstream Park in March. Tahoe Warrior owns a win, a second and a third from five starts this year and came close to winning Keeneland's Forerunner in April.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. decided to freshen up Mr. Silver for the Hill Prince after the colt won Tampa Bay's Sophomore Turf on April 8.

Mr. Silver was a narrow fourth to eventual Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro in the Tropical Park Derby in January.

Giant Basil and Noble Deeds were impressive in their respective out-of-town wins and have a shot to take home the money in an absolutely wide open race.

$100,000 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 5:40 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Black Snake (KY), 116, John R. Velazquez
2. Giant Basil (FL), 116, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Spider Power (IRE), 118, Jose A. Santos
4. Tahoe Warrior (KY), 116, Christopher P. DeCarlo
5. Mr. Silver (FL), 123, Abel Castellano, Jr.
6. Outperformance (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
7. Carnera (KY), 116, Eibar Coa
8. Noble Deeds (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
9. Transit of Venus (KY), 116, Ramon A. Dominguez
10. Glory for Gold (NY), 116, Fernando Jara
11. To Sender (GB), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux
12. Preah Kahn (FL), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
Main Track Only
13. Saint Daimon (FL), 118, Jean-Luc Samyn
14. Platinum Couple (NY), 123, Jose L. Espinoza
15. Tasteyville (KY), 116, (No Rider)