Irish War Cry (outside) works in company with Ascend at Fair Hill Training Center

Irish War Cry (outside) works in company with Ascend at Fair Hill Training Center

Maggie Kimmitt

Irish War Cry Returns to Worktab; Belmont Run Possible

Trainer Graham Motion will monitor son of Curlin before making final decision.

Isabelle de Tomaso's homebred Irish War Cry continues to prompt trainer Graham Motion to have second thoughts regarding his original summer plans for the son of Curlin .

In his first workout since finishing 10th in the May 6 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), Irish War Cry kept the door open for a start in the June 10 Belmont Stakes (G1) when he covered five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in company with stablemate Ascend at Fair Hill Training Center May 27. 

Venturing to New York for the final leg of the Triple Crown wasn't initially part of Motion's plan for the chestnut colt following his Derby outing, in which he surged up three-wide to challenge eventual winner Always Dreaming on the final turn, but weakened in the lane under jockey Rajiv Maragh. In the wake of that outing, Motion toyed with freshening the New Jersey-bred graded stakes winner for a run in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) in August. That was until Cloud Computing—the horse Irish War Cry finished seven lengths in front of with his Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G2) score—captured the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) by a head over champion Classic Empire.

"He went well today. I wasn't looking for anything too flashy," Motion said of Irish War Cry's move. "I wasn't hinging anything based on how he worked today. I just want to kind of see how he does this week and then I'll breeze him again next week and do something more serious.

"When you sit and watch the Preakness and you see horses he's beaten pretty squarely finish first and second, you have to think about it. It's a classic race and I just felt like I'm not doing justice to the horse and my owners to just say 'I'm not going (to the Belmont)' without even thinking about it. But I don't feel like I have to do it either."

If Irish War Cry follows his up-and-down pattern of results this season, the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes would fall in line as his next big showcase.

At the start of prep season, the then-unbeaten colt captured the Feb. 4 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2) in gate-to-wire fashion by 3 3/4 lengths, besting a group that included multiple graded stakes winner Gunnevera and Classic Empire. A head-scratching seventh-place effort in the March 4 Xpressbest Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) followed, balanced out by an emphatic 3 1/2-length win in the Wood Memorial when he and Maragh—who was aboard for Saturday's work—were paired for the first time.

Irish War Cry initiated the bumping chain of events at the start of the Kentucky Derby when he broke inward from post 17 and prompted McCraken, in post 15, to slam into Classic Empire, who broke slightly outward from post 14. Motion was grateful his charge emerged from that run none the worse for wear physically. He added the colt's energy in the coming week will be the deciding factor on whether he puts him on a van to Belmont.

"If things go well, he's definitely a possible. But I wouldn't say I'm jumping up and down to do it right now," Motion said. "I just want to monitor him (and) monitor the race. If he's doing well, I think we'll take a shot. If I feel like he needs the time, I won't."