OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes is on tap from this Saturday, July 13 from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Horses three years old and upward will be after their share of the generous $600,000 purse when they go 1 3/8 miles on Belmont Park's inner turf track.
A field of eight older horses has been confirmed for the Man o' War - race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card. Post time is 5:17 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performances of all eight combatants for this important Grade 1 stakes.
Boisterous -has won six of his last 12 starts for trainer Shug McGaughey including the 2011 and 2012 Grade 3 Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct and the 2011 and 2012 Knickerbocker Stakes also at Aqueduct. His lone poor performance the last couple years came in August - a ninth in the Grade 1 Arlington Millions but he won two straight after that. He had a pair of good seconds - in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes last time out at Keeneland April 21 after the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs November 5 before a terrific win last time out in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes. He now has three wins and two seconds in his last five starts overall and looks very good ahead of the Man O' War. He will be after his first Grade 1 win and is the co-highweight for the Man o' War. John Velazquez will get the mount.
Optimizer - finished eleventh in last year's Kentucky Derby, sixth in the Preakness and tenth in the Belmont Stakes and finished the fourth in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby after that. He went on to a disappointing eleventh in the Breeders' Cup. In 2013 he won the Grade 2 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap and the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap February 23 to start his year and stumbled a tad after that. He rebounded with a second in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 4 - beaten by only reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan and he followed that with a third in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 18. Last time out was another good result - a second in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap behind Point of Entry June 8. Optimizer hasn't tasted victory since the winter but he has faced the best in the land and has fared very well. He should be Boisterous's main competition Saturday.
Speaking Of Which - Christophe Clement trained Irish bred colt made his North American debut with a second in the Grade 2 Twilight Stakes at Santa Anita November 2 and followed that with an ugly fourteenth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park November 25. He was a Group 3 winner in Ireland before shipping to North America and is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score last time out at Monmouth Park June 21. Before that was a sixth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park May 4. He has been inconsistent but there is a little optimism after his win last time out. The Man o' War seems to be a good distance of Speaking of Which who takes a huge step up in class Saturday.
Twilight Eclipse - won his first two career starts but then fell off to a sixth in the Equalize Stakes, a fifth in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes and a second in the minor Temperance Hill Stakes at Belmont Park October 21. He bounced back in a big way with a nice win by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder November 24 but followed that with a fourth in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida February 16. Twilight Eclipse bounced back yet again with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream March 23. His last outing was a disappointment however - a fifth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park June 8. He has been up and down in his career but when on has looked very, very good.
Man o' War Stakes betting at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Al Khali - had a pair of good seconds last summer - in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine in September and in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 18 to follow a decent third in the Grade 1 United Nations. He was out of action nearly six months and returned in March to an Allowance score at Tampa Bay Downs but followed that with a disappointing fifth in another Allowance at Keeneland April 6. Last time out was another poor result - a seventh in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 26.
Finnegans Wake - Dale Romans trained colt is won an Allowance at Churchill Downs June 30 and has placed in only three of six since including a third in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby and a second in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park August 18 He also had a fourth in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in September and a seventh in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes in November. Last time out was a fourth in the competitive Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap June 8 after a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs May 18.
Exclusive Strike - has five starts in 2013 with two straight wins heading into the Man O' War and two other seconds with no races in stakes company. The Jason Servis gelding is a true veteran - 35 career starts with 12 wins against mostly lesser competition.
Folk Singer - Kathleen O'Connell trainee races in stakes company for the first time Saturday after 16 career starts yielded four wins, tow seconds and two third place finishes. He has won two of his last four starts heading into the Man o' War - both Claiming races at Tampa Bay Downs.
Race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:17 PM.
|1||Optimizer||J. Rosario||D. Lukas|
|2||Speaking of Which (IRE)||J. Lezcano||C. Clement|
|3||Folk Singer||J. Espinoza||N. Chatterpaul|
|4||Twilight Eclipse||J. Castellano||T. Albertrani|
|5||Finnegans Wake||L. Saez||D. Romans|
|6||Boisterous||J. Velazquez||C. McGaughey III|
|7||Al Khali||J. Alvarado||W. Mott|
|8||Exclusive Strike||I. Ortiz, Jr.||J. Servis|
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