Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston returns to the scene of his spectacular score in the $80,000 Flat Out Stakes at Belmont Park on Thursday, June 11.
Last June, in front of a roaring crowd of 56,217 at Belmont Park, Sir Winston overtook pacesetter Joevia in the stretch and held off 9-5 favorite Tacitus for a one-length victory in the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes.
Although he was sent to post at odds of 10-1, jockey Joel Rosario said he rode the Awesome Again colt like he was the best horse in the race.
"He broke real good. I got into the spot where I wanted to be. I was able to save ground the whole time," said Rosario following the Belmont score. "I was in a good spot. After that, it was all him. I knew he was going to win the race, the way he was moving."
The victory capped a memorable Triple Crown run for trainer Mark Casse, who captured two-thirds of the Classic series with War of Will winning the Grade 1 Preakness.
Casse, a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame since 2016, was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame earlier this year and will be inducted in the summer of 2021.
On Thursday, three days after the one-year anniversary of his Classic coup, Sir Winston will return to action on Big Sandy, but this time without spectators, in the 1 3/8-mile Flat Out for 4-year-olds and upward.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
||You're to Blame
|Uriah St. Lewis
Sir Winston hasn't raced since capturing an optional-claiming tilt on January 31 at the Big A; a one-turn mile where he broke last of seven but rallied to win by 2 ¼ lengths while garnering a 93 Beyer Speed Figure.
In the interim, Sir Winston traveled overseas in March for the Dubai World Cup which was subsequently canceled.
Casse said the Flat Out will be a starting point for the chestnut colt, who has trained extensively at Belmont, en route to richer goals later this summer.
"He's doing well now, he's happy, the distance won't hurt him, and we all know that he loves Belmont. We're just trying to get started," said Casse.
The well-bred Sir Winston, a Kentucky homebred, is out of the Afleet Alex mare La Gran Bailadora, a three-time stakes winner which included a score in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff at Turfway Park and a third in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland.
Sir Winston will be reunited with Rosario from post 4 in Thursday's stamina test.
To capture the Flat Out, Sir Winston will have to topple a talented field of nine led by a trio of challengers from the barn of Todd Pletcher in Legit, Moretti and You're to Blame.
You're to Blame (Bortolazzo Stables) boasts a record of 27-6-6-4 with purse earnings of $657,178. The 6-year-old Distorted Humor bay made the grade in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx in September 2018. The stamina-tested horse, a rallying second last year in the 1 ¼-mile Grade 3 Pimlico Special, will be piloted by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from post 8.
Legit (Repole Stables), a 5-year-old Curlin chestnut, will travel beyond 1 1/16-miles for the first time in the Flat Out. Bred in Kentucky by David Greathouse II, Legit graduated at first asking by 7 ¼-lengths in April 2018 at Gulfstream Park and followed up with a four-length score in May of that year in a Pimlico optional-claiming route.
After missing all of his 4-year-old season, Legit has made three starts in 2020 including a last-out second on May 17 at Gulfstream in an optional-claiming mile.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. retains the mount from post 5.
Moretti (Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbreds) graduated in December 2018 at Aqueduct but was off-the-board in his follow-up effort in the 2019 Grade 3 Withers. The 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt, out of Grade 1-winner Rigoletta, is a half-brother to 2017 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile champ Battle of Midway. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will pilot Moretti from post 3.
Rocketry (Centennial Farms), a 6-year-old son of Hard Spun, will look to kick off his campaign on a winning note. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the long-distance specialist blasted to a memorable victory on September 30, 2018 in the Temperence Hill at Belmont, setting a track record of 2:40.18 for 1 ¾ miles, besting a record formerly held by Man o' War.
Rocketry followed that effort by making the grade in the Grade 2 Marathon at 1 ¾-miles in November 2018 at Churchill Downs.
Jose Ortiz has the call aboard Rocketry from post 2.
Adventist (Barbara Hutnyk), the 2019 Grade 3 Greenwood Cup champ and last-out Bernardini winner at the Big A, will exit the outside post under Manny Franco for trainer Uriah St. Lewis.
Rounding out a talented field are Prompt (post 1, Junior Alvarado), Expert (post 6, Jose Lezcano) and Blugrascat's Smile (post 7 Eric Cancel).
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