(Edited NYRA release)
Four graded stakes will play the supporting role to the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park Saturday. Post time for the True North, the first graded stakes race on the day, is 3:52 p.m (EDT).
Full entries for all four stakes races appear at the bottom.
A year ago, trainer Bobby Frankel nailed his first Manhattan Handicap (gr. I) title thanks to the brilliant front-running efforts of Beat Hollow. After entering Denon in Saturday's Manhattan, Frankel will be odds on to win his second Manhattan Handicap in as many years.
Owned by Edmund Gann, Denon is set to square off against 11 others in the 102nd running of the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap. The Manhattan will be run at 1 1/4 miles on Belmont's inner turf course. Post time for the Manhattan, race 10 on Saturday's 13-race card, is 5:55 p.m.
Also entered is With Anticipation, who proved best in two tight photos over Denon while winning Monmouth's United Nations and Saratoga's Sword Dancer last year. Denon, however, countered with a victory over With Anticipation in Belmont's Turf Classic.
Denon enters the Manhattan off a second-place finish to Storming Home in Hollywood Park's Jim Murray Handicap nearly four weeks ago.
Augustin Stable's With Anticipation, a multiple Grade 1 winner on the Belmont turf, makes his second start of the season in the Manhattan. With Anticipation was a non-threatening fifth in his eight-year-old debut in Churchill Downs' Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby Day.
Although his gelding has a good amount of miles on his equine odometer, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard - whose former assistant is Funny Cide's trainer, Barclay Tagg – said there are no signs of With Anticipation slowing down.
"I'm delighted with him," Sheppard said. "Our training with him has been hindered a little with the weather, but he's still enthusiastic; he's happy.
"I thought he ran well in the Woodford Reserve. He didn't have a prep and he was far back. Win or lose, the Manhattan will get us to the United Nations. I'm going to follow the same exact schedule we had last year."All Eyes on Midas Eyes in Riva Ridge
Some 90 minutes before teaming up with Empire Maker Saturday in the Belmont Stakes, trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey will team up with Midas Eyes in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Stakes.
Run at seven furlongs, the $200,000 Riva Ridge attracted a field of eight 3-year-olds. Four of them are graded stakes winners.
Midas Eyes, a multiple stakes winner, drew post 3 and is the co-highweight at 123 pounds with Posse, Alysweep and Halo Homewrecker.
Last Sunday, Midas Eyes worked six furlongs over Belmont's main track in 1:12 4/5. Bailey was aboard for the move.
"I'm expecting him to run really well," Bailey said on Wednesday morning. "I don't know how he'll handle an off track, but he's got a lot of class."
Midas Eyes finished second in his debut last August at Calder but has won three straight since.Contenders From All Over Shipping in for True North
Godolphin Racing's State City, upset winner of Dubai's $2 million Golden Shaheen in March, is set to make his stateside debut in the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs.
State City, a son of Carson City, carries top weight of 121 pounds under jockey Jerry Bailey. This will be his first start outside the United Arab Emirates
"Every horse is different, but after a few weeks in this country they start doing better," assistant trainer Tom Albertrani said. "He seems to have acclimated well. I don't think the ship over from Dubai is so bad when you're only going one way. It appears to take something out of the U.S. horses that come over for World Cup night because they have to ship over and back in a short amount of time."
There is no wagering in Dubai, but if there were, State City would've been a big price in the Golden Shaheen. That night he faced a bulky field of Group 1 quality sprinters, one that included U.S. horses Avanzado, My Cousin Matt and Captain Squire. Prior to the Golden Shaheen, State City hadn't been much of a factor in a trio of group efforts.
"I think he's always been a nice horse," Albertrani said. "He's always had potential; everything came together on World Cup night. Of course, he's still got to prove himself over here. He's ready to run."
Trainer Frank Monteleone is looking forward to saddling Giovannetti in the True North. A California-bred gelding, Giovannetti was scheduled to arrive in New York on Thursday. Most recently, the Memo gelding finished a stubborn third to Hombre Rapido in Hollywood Park's Grade 3 Los Angeles Times on May 10th.
"I had ran him two weeks apart in February and March and we planned on giving him more time off than we did," Monteleone said. "Believe me, I hadn't done much with him before the race."
A $20,000 claim by Monteleone and owner Bernard Schiappa last September, Giovannetti has compiled a 5-1-1 record from eight starts, including a pair of listed stakes wins.
"I actually trained his older brother Rio Oro. He won a few stakes for us and a lot of money," Monteleone said. "We thought $20,000 for him looked a little suspicious, but the owner is a Vegas card dealer; he's a gambler. We took a shot."East's Best Turf Females Meet in the Just A Game
Wonder Again, Delta Princess and Voodoo Dancer, the top three finishers in Aqueduct's Grade 3 Beaugay on May 3rd, square off again in Saturday's Just A Game. Grade 1 winner Riskaverse, a game winner in her four-year-old debut, was also entered.
The Just A Game is a Grade 3, $200,000-added race is run at a mile over the Widener Turf Course.
The field for the Manhattan Handicap in post position order with trainer, jockey, and weight:
1. With Anticipation, Jonathan Sheppard, Pat Day, 122
2. Requette, Bobby Frankel, Edgar Prado, 116
3. Patrol, Bill Mott, John Velazquez, 114
4. Caesarion, Jean de Roualle, Richard Migliore, 115
5. Shaanmer, Christophe Clement, Jose Santos, 116
6. Dr. Brendler, Graham Motion, Gary Stevens, 116
7. Gritty Sandie, Jimmy Toner, Jean-Luc Samyn, 113
8. Irish Colonial, Randy Schulhofer, Javier Castellano, 114
9. Macaw, Barclay Tagg, Shaun Bridgmohan, 114
10. Denon, Bobby Frankel, Jerry Bailey, 122
11. Honor in War, Paul McGee, David Flores, 117
The field for the Riva Ridge:
1. Battle Won, Frank Brothers, Willie Martinez, 117
2. Bishop Court Hill, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 117
3. Midas Eyes, Bobby Frankel, Jerry Bailey, 123
4. Midnight Charlie, Leah Gyarmati, Heberto Castillo Jr., 117
5. Posse, Steve Asmussen Cory Lanerie, 123
6. Epic, Richard Dutrow Jr., Mike Luzzi, 115
7. Alysweep, Pat Reynolds, Jorge Chavez, 123
8. Halo Homewrecker, Mark Hennig, Gary Stevens, 123
The field for the True North:
1. State City, Saeed bin Suroor, Jerry Bailey, 121
2a. Highway Prospector, Mark Shuman, Jose Santos, 115
3a. Pioneer Boy, John Robb, Rick Wilson, 115
4. Giovannetti, Frank Monteleone, Gary Stevens, 115
5. Here's Zealous, Richard Dutrow Jr., Edgar Prado, 114
6. Vodka, John Hertler, Heberto Castillo Jr., 112
7. Shake You Down, Scott Lake, Mike Luzzi, 118
The field for the Just A Game:
1. Love n' Kiss S., Christophe Clement, Pat Day, 114
2. Repository, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens, 114
3. Wonder Again, Jimmy Toner, Edgar Prado, 119
4. Carib Lady, Todd Pletcher, Jerry Bailey, 115
5a. Cozzy Corner, Pat Kelly, Shaun Bridgmohan, 112
6b. Voodoo Dancer, Christophe Clement, Jose Santos, 119
7. Silver Rail, Linda Rice, Eibar Coa, 113
8. Delta Princess, Bill Mott, Mike Luzzi, 117
9b. Mariensky, Christophe Clement, Jose Santos, 116
10a. Riskaverse, Pat Kelly, John Velazquez, 119
11. Lady of the Future, Tom Greene, Jorge Chavez, 113
12. Quick Blue, Linda Rice, Jean-Luc Samyn, 113