Turbo Compressor , winner of last month's Colonial Turf Cup, will attempt to give trainer Todd Pletcher his fourth victory in the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) July 7 at Monmouth Park.
Pletcher previously won the U.N. in 2003 with Balto Star and in 2006-07 with male turf champion English Channel . Turbo Compressor, a six-time winner in 13 lifetime starts, will be shooting for his first graded stakes victory in the 11-furlong grass test.
The record for most victories in the United Nations Stakes by a trainer is held by MacKenzie Miller with six.
This year's United Nations carries a $500,000 purse, down from its previous $750,000 level. The race, which attracted a field of seven, is scheduled as the 11th on the Monmouth program with a 5:48 p.m. EDT post. The United Nations is a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event, with the victor earning an all-expenses paid starting berth in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Turbo Compressor, owned by P and G Stable and Off the Hook, led from start to finish in capturing the 1 3/16-mile Colonial Turf Cup as the 5-2 favorite June 16. The Florida-bred 4-year-old ridgling son of Halo's Image defeated the rallying Air Support, the 2011 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) winner who was also entered in the U.N.
“He ran a very good race last time out,” said Pletcher of the 2-1 morning line pick. “We’re bringing him back on a little bit of a short rest but he’s coming up to the race very well. I think that stretching him out a little further will suit him.”
Joe Bravo retains the mount on Turbo Compressor, who drew the rail.
The 120-pound high weight in this year's U.N. is Slim Shadey, looking to lock up his first grade I win after consecutive runner-up efforts in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT). Slim Shadey is 3-1 on the early line.
Trained by Simon Callaghan for owner Phil Cunningham, the British-bred 4-year-old finished one length behind 2011 champion older male horse Acclamation in the 10-furlong Whittingham at Betfair Hollywood Park June 9. Regular rider David Flores will be aboard the only West Coast shipper in this year's U.N. field.
Slim Shadey, who has two wins and three seconds in six starts since transferring to the United States for the 2012 campaign, captured the 10-furlong San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) in February at Santa Anita Park. This will be the Val Royal gelding's first try at the 1 3/8-mile distance.
Brilliant Speed is the lone grade I winner in the field, that victory coming on Polytrack in Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland in April 2011. Live Oak Plantation's 4-year-old homebred son of Dynaformer comes out of a fifth-place finish in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 9. Brilliant Speed has dropped five races in a row since his last victory in the Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga Race Course Sept. 4.
“It doesn’t look like there’s an awful lot of speed in the race,” said Tom Albertrani, who trains Brilliant Speed, who is pegged at 5-2 on the morning line. “As long as my horse gets a clean trip and it’s an honest pace, I expect him to run his race.”
Joel Rosario replaces the injured John Velazquez aboard the Florida-bred.
Also coming out of the Manhattan is sixth-place finisher Al Khali. The outsider could give trainer Bill Mott his third U.N. victory after Yagli in 1999 and Down the Aisle in 2000. The 6-year-old by Medaglia d'Oro has just one win in his past 13 starts, that coming in an allowance tilt on the Keeneland turf April 7.
Stuart Janney III's homebred Air Support made a nice closing run in the Colonial Turf Cup after being impeded at the start. Trained by Shug McGaughey, the 4-year-old Smart Strike colt won Keeneland's Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) last year as well as the Virginia Derby.
Rounding out the field are the locally stabled Eldaafer and Freud's Honour.
Eldaafer, a distant second to Redeemed in the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) on the Belmont main track June 8, won the 2010 Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. III). He ran sixth in last year's United Nations.
Freud's Honour, a New Jersey-bred, won the Choice Stakes one year ago on the Monmouth turf. He and Turbo Compressor are the only horses in the field with a win over the local sod.
$500,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Turbo Compressor (FL), J Bravo, 118, T A Pletcher
2. Brilliant Speed (FL), J Rosario, 118, T Albertrani
3. Slim Shadey (GB), D R Flores, 120, S Callaghan
4. Al Khali (KY), R Napravnik, 118, W I Mott
5. Freud's Honour (NJ), A Serpa, 118, G D Sacco
6. Eldaafer (KY), P Lopez, 118, D Alvarado
7. Air Support (KY), A O Solis, 118, C R McGaughey III