From the NYRA press office:
When studying the past performances for Saturday's grade III, $150,000 Lawrence Realization for 3-year-olds at 1 1/2 miles on the turf, handicappers will have a difficult task trying to separate Chiselling, Finality, and Irish Colonial, the top three finishers from the Lexington over the summer.
Dogwood Stable's Finality, a New York bred, has improved since his nose defeat to Chiselling in the Lexington and he loves the turf courses at Belmont Park. In five starts over Belmont grass, the son of 1993 juvenile champion Dehere owns four victories and one second. Recently, he turned the tables on Chiselling, defeating that one en route to a win in the grade II Jamaica.
"He's done little wrong, especially over the turf courses here," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "Even though the only stakes win he's had is the Jamaica, he's always been right there."
Finality's only poor race since last fall came at Saratoga in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes. "The turf was a little soft that day and I think we got a little caught up in making sure Patrol didn't get loose on the lead," Pletcher said.
After finishing third in the Lexington and Saranac, trainer Randy Schulhofer decided to sit the Jamaica out and wait for the Lawrence Realization with Fred Martin's Irish Colonial.
"I didn't want to run him back in the Jamaica because it was too short," Schulhofer said. "I think a mile and a half could be his best race ever."
Irish Colonial is by Colonial Affair, a horse Schulhofer's father, Hall of Famer Flint "Scotty" Schulhofer, trained to a 1993 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victory.
"His dam ran long on the turf, so the pedigree is there," Schulhofer said. "Now, we just need the right pace scenario."
Juddmonte Farms' Chiselling reeled off consecutive nose wins over the summer in the Lexington and Secretariat, but was not particularly impressive in either race. He was beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Finality in the Jamaica.
Jockey Frank Lovato Jr. will be coming home to ride Ronald Lepinski's Extra Check in the Lawrence Realization. Lovato's last New York ride was a spot appearance at Saratoga Aug. 15, 2001. His last New York win was on February 11, 2000.
"It's very exciting to come home," said Lovato, who has a wife and
three children living in the New York area. "It will be great to see my fellow riders and the people I've worked with for over 20 years. Fortunately, I have great communication with my family and we try to visit each other as much as we can."
With business slumping in New York, Lovato shifted his tack to
Midwest tracks where he has done well over the last couple years."
One of Lovato's top clients is trainer Michael Stidham, who sends Extra Check in from Chicago. The colt finished third behind Chiselling in his last start, the Aug. 17 Secretariat.
The field, in post order:
Extra Check, 115, Frank Lovato Jr.
Racey Dreamer, 112, Norberto Arroyo Jr.
Irish Colonial, 115, Shaun Bridgmohan
Van Minister, 115, Michael Luzzi
Macaw, 115, Jean-Luc Samyn
Battier, 112, Victor Carrero
Finality, 118, John Velazquez
Chiselling, 120, Javier Castellano
Entered for the main track only:
Deeliteful Guy, 118
Fisher Pond, 116