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Las Vegas, NV - Belmont Park in upstate New York opens once again this weekend for its spring. One of the stakes races on the opening weekend is the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes for horses three years and upward. A purse of $150,000 will be in the line for those willing to go one mile on Belmont Park's main track.
A field of eight will line up in the Westchester - race 9 on Belmont Park's Spring Meet's Opening Saturday card. Post time is 4:58 PM. Here is a brief glance into the past performances of all eight combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.
Flat Out - won the 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup and repeated that score September 29 on this track. He was a decent third in the Breeders' Cup Classic and also had a very good second in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup July 7 before an OK third in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap August 4. He has finished off the board in his last two starts after placing in four straight stakes - a fourth in the Grade 1 Donn February 9 was followed by a fifth last time out in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds March 30. Flat Out always saves his best for Belmont and despite being third choice on the morning line is the one to watch Saturday.
Big Screen - has two Allowance Optional Claiming scores and a second place finish in three starts in 2013 and appears to be in the best form of his career although he hasn't raced in graded stakes company since June - a ninth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes here and a fifth in May in the Grade 2 Peter Pan also on this track. He is the morning line second choice and based on recent form should challenge the bigger names Saturday.
Cross Traffic - Todd Pletcher trained colt has just two career starts - both wins at Gulfstream Park and is the least experienced of all the starters for the Westchester. He broke maiden in his debut January 24 and followed that with a nice Allowance Optional Claiming score March 10 by 7 1/2 lengths.
Rattlesnake Bridge - Kiaran McLaughlin pupil recently returned from 16 months away from racing to a nice win in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream March 30. His last race prior was a ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November 2011 after a decent third in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in the leadup to the Breeders' Cup. He has just nine career starts with three wins, three seconds and a third place finish.
Westchester Stakes betting at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Mordi's Miracle - Todd Pletcher trained colt made his stakes debut March 23 with a good third in the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct after seven starts produced two wins (a MSW and an Allowance Optional Claiming) and one second place finish which came in an Allowance Optional Claiming here March 2. He has two wins and two seconds in his last four starts overall and could be a sneaky contender for the Westchester.
Winslow Homer - made his first start in 16 months February 23 and finished fourth in the minor Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs February 23. Among his graded stakes results are a decent third in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April 2011 and a nice win in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes in January 2010. He has four wins, a second and three thirds in 11 career starts but hasn't tasted victory since August 2010.
Pants On Fire - had a fifth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds last April 1 and followed that with a sixth in the 2012 Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. He did win the minor Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth in May but was sixth as favorite in the Delta Mile Stakes at Delta Downs November 17. Pants On Fire is coming had a nice Allowance Optional Claiming score in February after an OK third in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope here January 13 and is coming off an OK third last time out in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream March 30. He is one of the bigger names in the Westchester but races for the first time at Belmont on Saturday.
Norman Abjornson - has placed in nine of his last 10 starts for trainer Carlos Mancilla including a win last time out in the minor Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park March 16 after a second in the John B. Campbell Handicap[ February 16. His worst career effort came three back - a ninth in the minor Native Dancer Stakes in January which followed a pair of seconds in minor stakes action. He last raced in graded stakes company in March 2012 and finished a respectable third in the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct.
Race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:58 PM.
|1||Mordi's Miracle||C. DeCarlo||T. Pletcher|
|2||Cross Traffic||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher|
|3||Flat Out||J. Alvarado||W. Mott|
|4||Winslow Homer||R. Maragh||C. Brown|
|5||Rattlesnake Bridge||J. Lezcano||K. McLaughlin|
|6||Norman Asbjornson||J. Rose||C. Mancilla|
|7||Big Screen||I. Ortiz, Jr.||T. Albertrani|
|8||Pants On Fire||P. Lopez||K. Breen|
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