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Las Vegas, NV - Belmont Park in Elmont, New York will play host to the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes this Mother's Day Monday, May 11. Horses four years old and upward will be featured as they go one mile in search of the winner's share of the $150,000 purse.
A field of just four will go in the Westchester - race 3 on Belmont Park's Sunday schedule. Post time is 2:22 PM. Here is a look at the credentials of all four combatants for this Grade 3 stakes - a major prep for the Met Mile June 7.
Palace Malice - Todd Pletcher trained colt parlayed his enormous 3 1/4 length win at 13-1 odds in the Belmont Stakes June 8 with a win over Will Take Charge and Moreno by 9 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy July 27. This after a disappointing twelfth in the Kentucky Derby. He was fourth in the Grade 1 Travers in August but bounced back with a good second behind Ron the Greek in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup September 28. Palace Malice was a disappointing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic but has reeled off two straight graded stakes wins since - by 4 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap over Normandy Invasion at Fair Grounds March 29 and over Golden Ticket in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 8. He looks like he is back to top form, off two straight win and is the class of the Westchester field. He is the overwhelming 3-5 favorite Sunday and will have John Velazquez aboard from post 3.
Declan's Warrior - Nicholas Zito pupil has nine career stars with four wins and three seconds. He recently returned to a second in a Starter Allowance March 20 after a seven month layoff and a DNF in the King's Bishop Stakes August 24. He entered the Woody Stephens four back on a three race win streak - in the minor Gygistar Stakes over Tenango May 22 after an impressive win in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes over Clearly Now at Aqueduct April 6, and in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream March 6. He finished a good second to Forty Tales in the Woody Stephens and followed that with his worst career performance - a fifth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam here July 28. He is the 8-1 second choice on the morning line and will leave from the rail with Joe Bravo in the saddle.
Westchester Stakes betting at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Red Rifle - Todd Pletcher trained colt has seven career starts with three wins and a second place finish. Last time out was a distant ninth in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland April 18 after his first stakes score - the minor Maxxam Gold Cup by 2 3/4 lengths at Sam Houston March 1 and a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream in January. He has one other graded stakes start under his belt - an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park in June. Red Rifle looks to bounce back from an ugly performance last time out with Javier Castellano in the reins from post 4 at 10-1 odds.
I'm Steppin it Up - has 37 career starts with six wins, four seconds and six third place finishes. He is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score by 3 1/4 lengths at Calder March 23 (his first win since August 2012) after a fourth and a fifth in similar races. His last graded stakes action came December 7 - a seventh in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap. He is the longest shot in the field at 20-1 odds and he leaves from post 2.
Race 3 on Belmont Park's Sunday card with a Post Time of 2:24 PM.
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