Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes will be contested this Saturday, May 9 from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. A nice purse of $400,000 will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go 1 3/8 miles on Belmont Park's turf track.
Seven older horses have been confirmed for the Man o' War - race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:28 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all seven entries for this Grade 1 stakes.
Imagining - won two straight races in the summer of 2012 - both at Belmont Park and was out of racing for nine months. He looked good at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 - a win in last year's Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes in wire-to-wire fashion May 11 followed a second in the 2014 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and a two race win streak - the 2013 Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct November 16 and the overnight Bowl Game Stakes at Belmont Park that October. He enters off a terrific win March 28 in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes which followed an eighth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf February 7, a seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf, a third in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and a good second in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer August 18. Imagining has been hit and miss in his career but a win last time out has bought with it a renewed sense of optimism. He tries for the Man o' War repeat on a track he's won five of 10 career starts with Irad Ortiz in the saddle from the rail.
Twilight Eclipse - is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf. He won the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap at 12 furlongs December 28, 2013 in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths and went on to win the 2014 Mac Diarmida Stakes. He then took his show to Dubai where he finished a disappointing twelfth in a Group 1 stakes and returned to North America June 6 and finished a fourth in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational. He's placed in six straight ahead of this race however losing by a total of 2 1/2 lengths in the first four. He was third last time out behind Imagining in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes March 28 after a second in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes February 21, a third behind Main Sequence in the Breeders' Cup Turf, second behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Classic at Belmont Park September 27, an OK third behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17 and a decent second as favorite behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes July 6. He has 23 career starts with six wins, five seconds and three four place finishes but looks for his first win in his last eight starts overall. Twilight Eclipse is due, will be happy not to see 2014 Horse of the Year Main Sequence and will have Javier Castellano in the irons from gate 4.
Hardest Core - has 12 career starts with six wins and two second place finishes. He enters off an eighth place finish after setting the pace in the Breeders' Cup Turf which followed a three race win streak for trainer Edward Graham - the Grade 1 Arlington Millions at 11-1 odds in August, the minor Cape Henlopen Stakes in July and an Allowance Optional Claiming at Parx in June. He has won six of his last nine starts ahead of this weekend and looks for a strong bounceback this week. Luis Saez gets the call from gate 6.
War Dancer - Bill Mott trainee has 18 career starts with four wins, three seconds and four third place finishes. He won the 2013 Grade 2 Virginia Derby and has been up and down since. Last year he had a seventh in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes, a third behind Finnegan's Wake in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, a nice win in the 1 1/2 mile Grade 3 Louisville Handicap May 24 and a good second in the Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes in April. Last time out was a third in his only start this year - an Allowance at Keeneland April 4. It followed a seventh in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International, a decent third in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup September 13 and an OK fourth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17. He looks for his first win in a year (five starts) with Jose Lezcano in the irons from post 3.
Hyper - Chad Brown entry has 23 career starts with 10 wins, six seconds and two third place finishes and hits the track for the first time since an eighth place finish in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap way back in November, 2013. Before that he was scorching hot - placing in his other eight of his starts in 2013 including a good second in the prestigious Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 27, a win in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park September 7, a win in the minor John's Call Stakes at Saratoga July 31 and a very nice second in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup in June. Hyper hits the track for the first time in nearly 17 months Saturday but has shown good form in the past. Jockey John Velazquez has been named to shake off the rust from gate 2 Saturday.
Dynamic Sky - Canadian bred Mark Casse trained colt looked very good early in his career - highlighted by a second in the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October, 2012. He went on to a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a win in the minor Pasco Stakes and a good second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes in February 2013. He has been OK since. Last time out was a good second in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes April 18 which followed a sixth in the competitive Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7, a fifth in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes February 7, a sixth in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes here January 3, a good win in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct November 15, a solid third in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 19 and a second in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes September 14. Dynamic Sky has placed in seven of his last 11 starts but has failed to place in three of his last four. Cornelio Velasquez has been tabbed to get Dynamic Sky back into form from post 7.
Comes the Dream - George Weaver trainee has two wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 11 career starts and races in graded stakes company for the first time Saturday off a career worst performance - a tenth in the listed Belmont Gold Cup Invitational way back on June 6. He looks for his first win in 20 months in his first start in 11 months from post 5 with Junior Alvarado guiding him.
Race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:28 PM.
||I. Ortiz, Jr.
||C. McGaughey III
||Comes the Dream