Sadler's Joy Ready for G1 Man o' War at Belmont Park
BELMONT PARK - Woodslane Farm's Grade 1 winner Sadler's Joy has settled in at trainer Tom Albertrani's Belmont Park base ahead of his bid in Saturday's Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.
The 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy arrived Thursday from Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, where he worked five furlongs on the dirt in 1:03.20 on Tuesday in preparation for his first Grade 1 assignment of the season.
Last year, Sadler's Joy earned hard-fought victories in the Grade 2 Pan American and the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, ultimately closing out his year with a late-charging fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He returned to action in March at Gulfstream Park, winning the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida in his season opener.
Sadler's Joy most recently finished fourth as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 2 Pan American under jockey Julien Leparoux, charging from last to finish 4 ¾ lengths behind fellow Man o' War contender Hi Happy on March 31.
"The pace looked strong [in the Pan American], but I think the track was favoring the speed that day," said Albertrani. "The leader just kind of got out there and I think we may have been a little farther back than we could have been, or maybe should have been. I still think he ran well. He still made up five lengths, I just think he was a little further back and I think Julien kind of knew when he turned for home that he had a lot to make up and it just didn't work out."
Sadler's Joy has finished in the money in nine of 16 starts, including six lifetime wins, for more than $1.3 million in earnings.
"The horse always runs well," Albertrani added. "He always comes with a big kick. Naturally, the pace scenario could set up better for him if it's a good, stronger pace, but he always runs a big race. I think he does better with a little bit of time in between and the horse is doing well and that's what I like to see going into a race. You just need a little luck, that's all."
Others expected for the Man o' War are Bigger Picture, Call Provision, Hi Happy, Money Multiplier, One Go All Go, Postulation, and Wake Forest.
2018 Man o' War Stakes Odds & Entries
Race 11 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:50 PM
|1||Postulation||20-1||Jorge Vargas, Jr.||Edward Graham|
|2||Sadler's Joy||3-1||Julien Leparoux||Thomas Albertrani|
|3||Scholar Athlete||20-1||Trevor McCarthy||H. Motion|
|4||Catcho En Die (ARG)||50-1||Junior Alvarado||Naipaul Chatterpaul|
|5||Wake Forest (GER)||6-1||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown|
|6||Call Provision||9-2||Jose Ortiz||Chad Brown|
|7||Hi Happy (ARG)||5-2||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher|
|8||Bigger Picture||12-1||Kendrick Carmouche||Michael Maker|
|9||One Go All Go||6-1||Chris Landeros||Charles Dickey|
|10||Money Multiplier||10-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Chad Brown|
Hi Happy Favored in G1 Man o' War
La Providencia LLC's High Happy will face nine others as the 5-2 favorite in Saturday's Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf after his 2 ¾-length victory in the 1 ½-mile Grade 2 Pan American on March 31 at Gulfstream.
The Argentinian-bred by Pure Prize has four works since his last start at Palm Beach Downs, and will make his 13th career start on Saturday, but just his third start for Pletcher after being transferred to his care before his third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf on February 10.
"He's really a model citizen," Pletcher said. "Just a terrific horse to train, he's very straightforward, very professional. We were very pleased with his first run going a mile and an eighth. He does well, and we were looking forward to stretching him out. He did what we were hoping for in the Pan American and he's been pointing for this since then. I think a mile and a quarter-plus suits him well."
The 6-year-old had only three starts in 2017, which began with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 San Marcos at Santa Anita on February 4. Another fourth-place effort followed in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 11, and a game duel to the wire led to him to finish a neck behind for third to close out the year.
Unraced as a 2-year-old, Hi Happy was a multiple Grade 1 winner in Argentina before debuting in the United States with a seventh-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar.
One Go All Go ready to go for Man o' War
Rodney Paden's Grade 2 Elkhorn victor One Go All Go exited his final breeze for the Grade 1 Man o' War in good order, said trainer Charles Dickey on Sunday.
By Fairbanks, the 6-year-old Virginia-bred breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs on the morning of the Kentucky Derby. He is scheduled to fly to New York on Wednesday.
One Go All Go is exiting a three-quarter-length win in the 1 ½-mile Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 21 at Keeneland, where he took up his customary position at the front of the field and held off a late bid from Oscar Nominated to get his first victory since September 2016. In addition to the Elkhorn, One Go All Go hasn't finished worse than fourth this year, including close runner-up finishes in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale and Grade 2 Pan American.
"He ran a big race [in the Elkhorn]," said Dickey, who trained Flat Out to victory in the 2011 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. "We're very proud of him. He's ran really hard, and got beat a couple of close ones, you know, but he's doing very well. He came out of the race in good shape and he's training well."
One Go All Go was under consideration for the 1 1/8-mile Grade 1 Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill, said Dickey, who opted instead for the longer 1 3/8 miles of the Man o' War, where he will be ridden by his regular jockey Chris Landeros.
"He ran some great races in Florida too," Dickey said. "Those were tough horses, and of course that's what I'm going to be hooking in the Man o' War, what I ran against down there, but I like the distance. I'd rather go farther."
Dickey noted that One Go All Go bled slightly following the Elkhorn, adding that the horse hasn't shown anything to cause concern since.
"It was very, very slight," he said. "He was on the vet's list for 14 days, but it was nothing we're concerned about. I worked him yesterday morning and he came out of that fine too."
Wake Forest leads Chad Brown-trained trio in G1 Man o' War
Multiple graded stakes winner Wake Forest will try to duplicate his winning 2016 effort in a field of 10 in the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf Saturday at Belmont Park.
This year's Man o' War will be the third for the Chad Brown-trained Wake Forest. The 8-year-old German-bred by Sir Percy won the 2016 edition by three-quarters of a length over stablemate Money Multiplier and last year finished fifth to the Irish mare Zhukova over a yielding turf course.
Off nearly 10 months following a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan in June, Wake Forest returned to the races April 13 with a game runner-up effort in a talent-laden allowance contest at Aqueduct Racetrack. In that race, he caught heavy traffic in the final turn and had to wait for running room in the stretch, eventually navigating a late run to finish a neck behind fellow Man o' War entrant Scholar Athlete.
"It was a solid effort," Brown said of the return. "Hopefully, he got the race he needed to move forward and get back to his form from a couple of years ago when he won the Man o' War. We want to give him another shot at this race, so we were pointing here. He got the prep he needed, so hopefully he's good enough. The big key to him is running on firm ground."
Owned by Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners, and Bethlehem Stables, Wake Forest will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano from post 5.
Postulation looking forward to 2018 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park
Runnymede Racing's long-distance specialist Postulation is primed and ready to go for Saturday's Grade 1 Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf, said trainer Edward Graham.
The Man o' War will mark the 6-year-old Harlan's Holiday gelding's first try in a graded stakes since finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Canadian International at 1 ½ miles on soft turf in October at Woodbine. Last summer, Postulation posted a six-length score in the 1 ½-mile Cape Henlopen at Delaware Park and followed with a 2 ¼-length victory in the 1 11/16-mile Grade 3 American St. Leger at Arlington Park.
Postulation, based at Fair Hill Training Center, returned from a nearly six-month layoff on April 13 in a loaded optional-claiming race, where he finished a close third behind fellow Man o' War entrants Scholar Athlete and Wake Forest.
"He does well when he comes back fresh and he had the winter off, so I was very pleased with that race," said Graham. "I wanted to see how he was training and then that allowance race came up, so we went in it."
Graham added that the connections' hope is that Saturday's assignment sets up Postulation for his major spring goal, the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational at two miles on the grass as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on Friday, June 8.
"I want to get a couple of races in before that two-mile stakes because I think he'll like that distance," he said. "I like going a mile and three-eighths and then stretching out to two miles. He's made it obvious that he likes going long, especially after he won at Delaware going a mile and a half. He's been doing everything right in those kinds of races."
At 20-1 on the morning line in the Man o' War, Postulation will be ridden by Jorge Vargas, Jr. from the rail.