Sadler's Joy works at Palm Meadows Training Center

Sadler's Joy works at Palm Meadows Training Center

Dana Wimpfheimer

Balanced Group Comes Together for Man o' War Stakes

Grade 1 winner Sadler's Joy faces familiar foes in 1 3/8-mile test.

Parity has been the name of the game in the turf male ranks thus far in 2018, as a handful of well-seasoned runners have taken turns trading shots at one another.

The 10-horse assembly for the $700,000 Man o' War Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park May 12 is a testament to such, highlighted by grade 1 winner Sadler's Joy and several familiar rivals aiming to one up each other once more with top-level accolades on the line.

Consistency can pay strong dividends in a division without a clear leader, and Sadler's Joy certainly brings that to the table as he readies for his third start of the year. The Tom Albertrani-trained son of Kitten's Joy  has only been worse than fourth once in 16 starts. His career highlight to date was a score in the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course over fellow Man o' War entrant Money Multiplier in August.

In his season debut, the 5-year-old chestnut horse bested One Go All Go by three-quarters of a length in the March 3 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) at Gulfstream Park. But he couldn't get his late kick going in time last out in the March 31 Pan American Stakes (G2T), when he wound up fourth behind race winner Hi Happy, who is also back in for Saturday's 1 3/8-mile test.

"The pace looked strong (in the Pan American), but I think the track was favoring the speed that day," Albertrani said. "The leader just kind of got out there, and I think we may have been a little farther back than we could have been, or maybe should have been. I still think he ran well. He still made up five lengths. I just think he was a little further back, and I think (jockey) Julien (Leparoux) kind of knew when he turned for home that he had a lot to make up, and it just didn't work out."

Owned and bred by Woodslane Farm, Sadler's Joy was third in last year's edition of the Man o' War Stakes and boasts six wins with $1,355,288 in earnings.

"The horse always runs well," Albertrani added. "He always comes with a big kick. Naturally, the pace scenario could set up better for him if it's a good, stronger pace, but he always runs a big race. I think he does better with a little bit of time in between, and the horse is doing well … that's what I like to see going into a race."

One Go All Go is another honest sort, but he was developing a bridesmaid complex during a 12-race losing skid that dated to Oct. 2016. The Scooter Dickey-trained son of Fairbanks broke out of that lull last time out, however, when he headed every point of call en route to victory in the April 21 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2T) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland.

"He ran a big race (in the Elkhorn)," said Dickey. "We're very proud of him. He's ran really hard and got beat a couple of close ones, you know, but he's doing very well. He came out of the race in good shape, and he's training well."

Dickey noted that One Go All Go bled slightly following the Elkhorn, adding that the horse hasn't shown anything to cause concern since.

"It was very, very slight," he said. "He was on the vet's list for 14 days, but it was nothing we're concerned about."

Not surprisingly, trainer Chad Brown will be represented by multiple members of his barn in the Man o' War, sending out Money Multiplier, Call Provision, and Wake Forest. Money Multiplier—second in the 2016 Man o' War—most recently acquitted himself well overseas when third in the Feb. 24 H.H. The Emirs Trophy Presented by Longines (G1) in Doha, Qatar.

Entries: Man o' War S. (G1T)

Belmont Park, Saturday, May 12, 2018, Race 11

  • Grade I
  • 1 3/8m
  • Inner turf
  • $700,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 6:50 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Postulation (KY)Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.119Edward L. Graham20/1
22Sadler's Joy (KY)Julien R. Leparoux124Thomas Albertrani3/1
33Scholar Athlete (ON)Trevor McCarthy116H. Graham Motion20/1
44Catcho En Die (ARG)Junior Alvarado116Naipaul Chatterpaul50/1
55Wake Forest (GER)Javier Castellano121Chad C. Brown6/1
66Call Provision (NY)Jose L. Ortiz116Chad C. Brown9/2
77Hi Happy (ARG)Luis Saez121Todd A. Pletcher5/2
88Bigger Picture (KY)Kendrick Carmouche124Michael J. Maker12/1
99One Go All Go (VA)Keeneland Sales GraduateChris Landeros121Charles L. Dickey6/1
1010Money Multiplier (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.121Chad C. Brown10/1