A lot will be on the line when Belmont Park opens its fall season this weekend. The meet offically opens Friday, but things get rolling Saturday when three grade I events will be contested, and all figure to have implications on Belmont's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 27. The Woodward
(gr. I), a 1 1/8 mile race carrying a $500,000 purse, is the centerpiece of the day. It features a showdown between defending Horse of the Year Tiznow, multiple grade I winner Albert the Great, Whitney Handicap (gr. I) winner Lido Palace and 2000 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Red Bullet.
Turf runners also take center stage in the $500,000 Man o' War
(gr. IT), going 1 3/8 miles. Expected to start are: Ela Athena, Forbidden Apple, Fusaichi Zenon, John's Call, Mutafaweq, Silvano, Slew Valley, and With Anticipation.
The final stakes on Saturday's card is the $250,000 Gazelle
(gr. I) going 1 1/8 miles on the main track for 3-year-old fillies. Champion Caressing, Exogenous, Fleet Renee, Nasty Storm, Real Cozzy, Starrer, and Trancendental are definite. Dancethruthedawn, Indy Pick, Two Item Limit, and Zonk are possible. Woodward Notes
Tiznow jogged over the main track Wednesday morning with a pony by his side. Last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner will be making his first start since winning the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in March. He has been sidelined because of a back problem. Trainer Jay Robbins worked the grade I winner in California prior to his shipping east.
Whitney winner Lido Palace jogged over the main track Wednesday morning. In the Whitney, Lido Palace upset Albert the Great and the two will hook up again in the Woodward.
Preakness winner Red Bullet went six furlongs in 1:12 on Sunday in his final Woodward prep. The son of Unbridled made a successful return to the races in an allowance contest during the opening week of Saratoga after not having run since the 2000 Dwyer.