Palace Tops Belmont Sprint Championship Field
Palace, a resolute winner of the June 6 True North Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park, looks to build his winning streak for trainer Linda Rice July 5 in the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. III) at the New York oval.
Formerly a $20,000 claimer, the 5-year-old City Zip New York-bred came off the bench to secure the True North for owner Antonio Miuccio, his first in a grade II stakes. He had not raced since a fourth in the Feb. 17 General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park after bleeding, but came back from a 60-day vacation to eke out the victory by three-quarters of a length over 2-1 favorite Bakken.
Palace, 7-2 on the morning line in the Belmont Sprint Championship (known as the James Marvin Stakes previously), breaks from the outside in a field of nine older horses. Cornelio Velasquez takes over the mount as part of a 122-pound assignment. Palace was ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. in the True North, but that rider will pilot 124-pound highweight Dads Caps.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, Dads Caps comes off a troubled fifth in the True North after winning the April 5 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at 10-1 odds, his initial stakes score and first victory of the season. The 4-year-old Discreet Cat colt departs post 5 at 10-1 on the morning line.
Salutos Amigos also exits the True North, where he was third in his return to stakes competition for David Jacobson and Southern Equine Stable. The 4-year-old son of Salute the Sarge raced in graded stakes company as a 3-year-old when campaigned solely by Southern Equine Stable, and was third in the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course last year. He drew post 7 under 120 pounds, including Corey Lanerie, and is 5-1 on the morning line.
Central Banker , winner of the May 3 Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II), and grade III winners Declan's Warrior and Clearly Now are also in the lineup. Minor stakes winners Moonlight Song and Big Screen, and allowance winner Mezzano complete the field.
$400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. III, Race 6, approximate post time 4:01 p.m. EDT), 3YOs & Up, seven furlongs (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Declan's Warrior (KY), J. R. Velazquez, 116, N P Zito, 15/1
2. Central Banker (KY), C. S. Nakatani, 122, A M Stall, Jr., 5/2
3. Clearly Now (KY), J. Lezcano, 116, B A Lynch, 3/1
4. Moonlight Song (NY), J. L. Ortiz, 118, C Baker, 12/1
5. Dads Caps (KY), I. Ortiz, Jr., 124, R R Rodriguez, 10/1
6. Mezzano (KY), J. Castellano, 118, A E Goldberg, 15/1
7. Salutos Amigos (KY), C. J. Lanerie, 120, D Jacobson, 5/1
8. Big Screen (KY), J. Alvarado, 116, T Albertrani, 20/1
9. Palace (NY), C. H. Velasquez, 122, L Rice, 7/2
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