Las Vegas, NV - The 140th running of the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap is on tap for this Saturday, June 9th from Belmont Park, site of the potentially historic 144th Belmont Stakes. Horses three years old and up will race 1 ¼ miles on Belmont Park's turf track for a portion of the $500,000 purse.
Eight entries will go in race 10 on Belmont's Saturday Card - right before the main event of the day - the Belmont Stakes. Post time is 5:37 PM for the Manhattan. Here is a glimpse into the recent performances of all eight ahead of this Grade 1 event.
Hudson Steele - Todd Pletcher gelding Hudson Steele has had success placing in nine of ten career starts including wins in five of her last seven on grass and two seconds over that stretch. Last time out was an impressive win in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on May 19th to follow up a win at the Henry S. Clark Stakes on April 28th. Hudson Steele's other graded stakes action resulted in a decent second on this track in the Grade 3 Fort Macy Stakes last May. Hudson Steele is peaking and is definitely the class of this race.
Brilliant Speed - has placed in and won multiple graded stakes races in the last year - the most impressive result being a win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes last April. He followed that up with a seventh in the Kentucky Derby and a third in the Belmont Stakes. Since then, Brilliant Speed has had some more impressive results - a win in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes, a second in the Grade 2 Jamaica Stakes and a third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf. In 2012 He finished fifth in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream on March 31st and most recently was third in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. Brilliant Speed is battle-tested and is a serious threat to Hudson Steele.
Boisterous - has been very good as of late with three wins in his last four starts - at the Grade 3 Fort Macy Stakes last time out on this track, at the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap in November and the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes here in October. Boisterous may not be one of the bigger names in the field but he could be the surprise.
Desert Blanc - will make his second US appearance after a short but successful career in Britain. In his only race in North America he led but eventually fell to second behind Boisterous in the Grade 3 Fort Macy Stakes on this track on May 5th. Not much is known about this colt except that he is very competitive.
Omayad - Chilean colt that won his first seven starts before a second in his homeland followed a second in an Allowance race at Hollywood Park in his North American debut. He is unheralded and is a bit of a mystery ahead of the Manhattan.
Papaw Bodie - had never raced in graded stakes action before 2012 but came on strong right away. On January 28th Papaw Bodie won the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston and followed it up with a very respectable second in the Grade 3 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial at Fair Grounds. Last time out was a sixth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve.
Al Khali - won the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap on this track in 2010 and actually finished 2011 off is decent form with a third in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational and a third in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes. 2012 hasn't been so kind - he did win an Allowance at Keeneland but also had a 10th in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and an 11th last time out in the Grade 1 Woodford.
Top Surprize - raced to a decent third in his only start of 2012 - the Grade 3 Fort Macy Stakes and has some other OK results at Belmont - notably a fourth in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap in October. Top Surprize is as familiar with this course as any other entry.
Race 10 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:37 PM.
||C. McGaughey III
||Desert Blanc (GB)