2020 First Defence Stakes at Belmont Park
Juddmonte trio faces Win Win Win in the $80,000 First Defence Stakes
Multiple stakes-winner Win Win Win will attempt to live up to his name when making his first start in 11 months against seven turf stakes winners in the $80,000 First Defence Stakes going seven furlongs over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park on Sunday, June 7.
Owned by Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, the 4-year-old dark bay son of Hat Trick was victorious is his last out turf debut in the Manila over the Belmont lawn defeating graded stakes winners Fog of War and Casa Creed for trainer Michael Trombetta.
Win Win Win captured the seven-furlong Pasco over the main track at Tampa Bay Downs in January 2019, and was a respective third and second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland before two unplaced efforts in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Preakness Stakes.
2020 First Defence Stakes Odds & Entries
Race 9 at Belmont Park on Sunday, June 07 - Post 5:36 PM
|Win Win Win
|Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Stan the Man
| Rider TBA
|John Terranova II
"I like how he got over it," Trombetta said of Win Win Win's turf debut. "His pedigree doesn't hurt him in that department either, but he's a horse that really could do either or. Like a lot of other horses right now, he hasn't raced in a while. This seems like a good spot to get him back going again. Hopefully, we get things started the right way."
A Florida homebred, Win Win Win is out of the Smarty Jones broodmare Miss Smarty Pants and comes from the same family as Unbridled Humor, a two-time stakes winner over the Belmont grass.
Win Win Win has put together a strong series of works at Trombetta's division at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, the most recent of which was a half-mile breeze in 49 seconds flat.
"We've got quite a bit of training into him, so he should put up a decent performance," Trombetta said.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount aboard Win Win Win who breaks from post 5.
Juddmonte Farms, who owned the race's Grade 1-winning namesake, has three horses entered in the event, including Seismic Wave who has not raced since winning the English Channel in October at Belmont. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Tapit chestnut will be making the largest distance cutback in his 11-race career, which included graded stakes placings in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont in June and the Grade 2 Saranac at Saratoga in August.
Trainer Chad Brown will send out Juddmonte's other two entrants in group stakes winner Delaware, who makes his North American debut, and Flavius.
Delaware, a Great Britain homebred by undefeated champion Frankel, previously raced for French conditioner Andre Fabre. He last raced in September when running ninth to Circus Maximus in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.
The Group 3 winner is out of Zatsfine - a half-sister to Group/Grade 1 winners Proviso and Byword.
Jockey Joel Rosario will be aboard from post 4.
Flavius [post 1, Jose Ortiz] has finished fourth in both of his North American starts, the most recent of which was a fourth-place finish to stable mate Instilled Regard in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale on December 14 at Gulfstream Park.
In his last outing, Flavius chased a slow pace, made a four-wide bid around the far turn toward the front and had his head in front at the final point of call before the finish, but was outkicked in the final furlong.
The lightly-raced son of War Front out of Starformer, a four-time graded stakes winner on turf, began his career in Ireland for trainer Dermot Weld.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle Sombeyay, who is a graded stakes winner on both surfaces. Owned by Starlight Racing, the Into Mischief colt will be cutting back from one mile after a close second to stable mate Social Paranoia in the Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream Park following a win in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf over the South Florida oval.
"I think this is the perfect distance," said Jack Wolf of Starlight Racing, who purchased the colt for $230,000 from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. "He turned out to be a nice horse and he's by Into Mischief who has been such an unbelievable stallion. The horse has been doing really well and is on a good breeze schedule. It's hard to find races right now, but we're optimistic."
Sombeyay began his career on the main track where he won the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga in July 2018, but he has been four times in the money in five starts over turf.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano was aboard for his stakes triumph on dirt, and will return to the saddle from post 2.
Graded stakes winner Hawkish [post 9, Kendrick Carmouche] will attempt to make amends following a lackluster ninth in his seasonal bow in Gulfstream Park's Sunshine Forever on May 9, where he broke a step slow at the start.
Owned by Robert LaPenta and trained by veteran conditioner Jimmy Toner, the son of Artie Schiller won last year's Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park and took the Grade 2 Penn Mile as a 3-year-old in June 2018.
Hawkish is out of the Unbridled broodmare Bridal Memories, an unraced half sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Winter Memories and graded stakes winner La Cloche.
Completing the field are Jakarta [post 3, Junior Alvarado]; Nicodemus [post 6, Jose Lezcano]; Skyler's Scramjet [post 8, Benjamin Hernandez]; Vici [post 10, Dylan Davis]; Honor Up [post 11 Manny Franco]; Majestic Dunhill [post 12, Reylu Gutierrez]; Lonhtwist [post 13, Pablo Fragoso]; and Therapist [post 14, Irad Ortiz, Jr.].
Complexity and Stan the Man are entered as main track only.