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BELMONT PARK - Disco Partner will attempt to improve upon his stellar record over the Belmont Park turf when he faces seven opponents, including stablemate Pure Sensation, in the Grade 2, $400,000 Jaipur Invitational at six furlongs for 4-year-olds and up on Saturday.
The Jaipur, a six-furlong dash on the Widener course, is Race 6 on a packed Belmont Stakes Day card with a 2:43 p.m. scheduled post time. It will serve as the first leg of the $500,000 guaranteed Pick 6 and will broadcast live on NBCSN. The Jaipur also is a "Win and You're In" race for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in November at Churchill Downs.
Race 6 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 2:43 PM
|1||Stormy Liberal||3-1||Joel Rosario||Peter Miller|
|2||Pure Sensation||6-1||Kendrick Carmouche||Christophe Clement|
|3||Pocket Change||10-1||Jose Ortiz||Jason Servis|
|4||Conquest Tsunami||7-2||Victor Espinoza||Peter Miller|
|5||Disco Partner||5-2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Christophe Clement|
|6||Frisky Magician||20-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Jorge Abreu|
|7||Blind Ambition||5-1||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|8||Holding Gold||12-1||Tyler Gaffalione||Mark Casse|
Disco Partner has won 7-of-11 starts on turf at Belmont, including a record-setting victory in last year's Jaipur. The Patricia Generazio homebred was clocked in 1:05.67, a world record for six furlongs on turf. Pure Sensation - also owned by Generazio and trained by Christophe Clement - held the previous Widener course record of 1:06.67 and finished fourth.
Following the Jaipur, Disco Partner made two starts at one mile, winning the Forbidden Apple at Belmont and finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap - won by eventual Champion Turf Horse World Approval - at Saratoga Race Course. Clement decided to return Disco Partner to turf sprints after that, and the New York-bred responded by easily winning the Belmont Turf Sprint in October and finishing a fast-closing third by a half-length in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in November at Del Mar.
Disco Partner has raced once this year, finishing a non-threatening third in the Grade 2 Shakertown, which was contested over soft turf April 7 at Keeneland.
"He ran a good race over softer ground," said Clement. "We would have loved to win, but he actually ran well and he's been training well. The horse looks good, loves Belmont, and is doing well, so, let's go."
Disco Partner, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, drew post position 5 and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Pure Sensation, also owned and bred by Generazio, has two wins in three starts on turf at Belmont, including a victory in the 2016 Jaipur. The gray earned his fifth graded stakes victory in September when he won the Grade 3 Turf Monster at Parx Racing. He was fifth in the Breeders' Cup after setting the pace and raced once this year, finishing second in an optional claimer April 13 at Gulfstream Park.
"It was a nice race back," said Clement.
Kendrick Carmouche will ride Pure Sensation, 6-1, from post 2.
Trainer Peter Miller is bringing in a formidable pair from California in Stormy Liberal and Conquest Tsunami, respectively second and third in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on March 31 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
Stormy Liberal, claimed by Miller and owners Rockingham Ranch and David A. Bernsen for $40,000 in October 2016, finished eighth in the 2017 Jaipur before returning five months later to post a 30-1 upset in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar. He was 11th in the Hong Kong Sprint before launching his 2018 campaign with seconds in the Grade 3 Daytona in February at Santa Anita and in the Al Quoz Sprint.
Conquest Tsunami began his career with trainer Mark Casse before joining the Miller barn last fall. He easily won an optional claimer in January and the Grade 3 Daytona in February at Santa Anita before setting the pace and battling on well to finish third in the Al Quoz sprint.
"Conquest Tsunami is a very fast, speedy horse, while Stormy Liberal likes to come from a little off the pace," said Miller. "They complement each other."
Joel Rosario has the assignment aboard Stormy Liberal, the 3-1 second choice, from the rail. Victor Espinoza will guide Conquest Tsunami, the 7-2 third choice, from post 4.
Blind Ambition steps up in class and cuts back in distance off a two-length, gate-to-wire victory in the seven-furlong Elusive Quality on April 28 at Belmont. The Gainesway Stable color-bearer won his only other start on turf at Belmont, a six-furlong optional claimer last October.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Blind Ambition will leave from post 7 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons.
Pocket Change, a lightly raced 4-year-old, will put his unbeaten record at stake when he makes his stakes debut in the Jaipur.
After posting a debut win on dirt at Parx in October, Pocket Change concluded his brief 3-year-old campaign by leading at every call in a six-furlong turf allowance at Aqueduct Racetrack in December. The Unbridled's Song colt made his 4-year-old debut March 22, wearing down his opponent to win a five-furlong turf optional claimer at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Jason Servis for Gary and Mary West, Pocket Change was tabbed at 10-1 on the morning line and drew post 3. Jose Ortiz takes over riding responsibilities from his brother, Irad.
The field also includes Frisky Magician, fifth in the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint on May 4, and multiple stakes winner Holding Gold, seventh in the Al Quoz Turf Sprint.
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