OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - Belmont Park in Elmont, New York will be the scene of a trio of Grade 1 stakes on Saturday June 8 - one of the races on the Belmont Stakes undercard is the $500,000 Manhattan Handicap. Horses three years old and upward will be featured as they go 1 1/4 miles on Belmont Park's turf track.
A strong field of 10 has been confirmed for the Manhattan Handicap. It is race 10 on Belmont Park's packed Saturday schedule - right before the main event Belmont Stakes and has a post time of 5:40 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 10 entries for this Grade 1 stakes.
Point of Entry - is one of the premier grass horses in the nation and had won five straight races with relative ease heading into the Breeders' Cup Turf where he finished second to Little Mike. The wins include the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in September, the Grade 1 Sword Dancer in August, the Grade 1 Man o`War Stakes on July 14 and the Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 27. Last time out he rebounded from his second in the Breeders' Cup with another typically easy win in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap February 9 over Animal Kingdom in his only start of 2013. He is the overwhelming favorite at 3-5 odds for the Manhattan and trainer Shug McGaughey feels Point of Entry is poised for a huge race.
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 won the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park and an Allowance Optional Claiming and 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 followed that with a third last time out in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 18. Optimizer is a multiple graded stakes winner on grass, has been in some huge races with mixed results and enters the Manhattan in so-so form.
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 last time out with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream March 23. He has not competed since establishing a world record 2:22.63 for 1 1/2 miles on the turf in the Pan American.
Quick Casablanca - Argentinean trained entry had 11 career starts in Argentina with three wins, six seconds and two third place finishes. He won two of his last three starts in Argentina before shipping to North America including a Group 1 race at Hipodromo Argentino De Palmero last March. He made his return to the track after a year away with an OK third in the minor Good Reward Stakes on this track May 15.
Manhattan Handicap betting at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Real Solution - highly regarded Chad Brown trained Italian import had five starts in at home with three wins to start his career, a sixth and a second in his last race overseas. He made his North American debut last time out with an OK fourth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes here May 4 after being out of action since September.
Bombaguia - made his stakes debut with a very good third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green in September and followed that with a fifth in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker. He concluded his year with a sixth in the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct in November and was second in an Allowance Optional Claiming March 30 at Gulfstream. In his only other start this year Bombaguia was a very nice second in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes here May 4 in blazing fashion. He has three wins, four seconds and three third place finishes in 21 career starts. He has been close in graded stakes action and may be prime for a breakout Saturday.
Speaking Of Which - Christophe Clement trained Irish bred colt made his North American debut with a good 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. His only start this year was a sixth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes on this track May 4. He was a Group 3 winner in Ireland before shipping to North America but has been less-than-impressive in two of three starts on North American soil.
Side Road - has raced just two graded stakes race for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin - a ninth in last year's Grade 3 Gotham Stakes and a good second last time out in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 26. Before his latest graded stakes action he concentrated on Allowance Optional Claiming races. Four straight starts at Gulfstream produced a win March 30, a second February 17, a fifth and a seventh place finish. He also has a MSW score among his nine career starts.
Finnegan's Wake - Dale Romans trained colt is won an Allowance at Churchill Downs June 30 and has placed in three of five since - a third in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby, a second in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park August 18, 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 his only start in six months - a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs May 18.
Plainview - makes his stakes debut for trainer Gregory DiPrima after 21 starts produced five wins, two seconds and three third place finishes. He is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score here May 3 after a ninth in a similar race in December. He won three straight races in New York during the summer but appears to be outclassed in this one!
Race 10 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:40 PM.
|1||Point of Entry||J. Velazquez||C. McGaughey III|
|2||Quick Casablanca (CHI)||J. Alvarado||C. Clement|
|3||Side Road||G. Stevens||K. McLaughlin|
|4||Real Solution||J. Leparoux||C. Brown|
|5||Optimizer||J. Rosario||D. Lukas|
|6||Plainview||I. Ortiz, Jr.||G. DiPrima|
|7||Bombaguia||E. Prado||J. Kimmel|
|8||Twilight Eclipse||J. Castellano||T. Albertrani|
|9||Finnegans Wake||J. Lezcano||D. Romans|
|10||Speaking of Which (IRE)||G. Gomez||C. Clement|
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