OTB Race Previews
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Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of formidable contenders in Unanimous Consent and Napoleonic War in search of his third score in the Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong inner turf test for sophomores at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 4.
The Pennine Ridge is a key local prep for the Caesars Turf Triple series for sophomores which kicks off with the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational on July 9. The Turf Triple continues with the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course and concludes with the $1 million Caesars Jockey Club Derby Invitational in September at Belmont.
Oscar Performance  and Catholic Boy  parlayed Pennine Ridge wins to Belmont Derby success.
Race 9 at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 4 - Post 5:12 PM
|1||Gilded Age||5-2|| Rider TBA
|3||Limited Liability||6-1||Jose Ortiz
|Claude McGaughey III|
|4||Napoleonic War||3-1||Flavien Prat
|5||Elizar (FR)||6-1||Joel Rosario
|6||Emmanuel||5-2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|7||Unanimous Consent (GB)||8-5||Manuel Franco
Brown, who won the Pennine Ridge previously with Camelot Kitten  and Peter Brant's Demarchelier , holds a strong hand in Saturday's renewal.
Klaravich Stables' Unanimous Consent, by Almanzor, is undefeated in three starts, including a 1 3/4-length score in the Woodhaven at 1 1/16-miles last out over firm footing at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Manny Franco saved ground aboard Unanimous Consent in the Woodhaven as Chanceux, who finished third in Sunday's Paradise Creek at Belmont, set moderate splits. Franco gained position down the backstretch and made a five-wide move in upper stretch to sweep to a comfortable score that garnered a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure.
Unanimous Consent has breezed back four times out of the Woodhaven win, including a five-eighths effort in 1:02.11 on May 13 in company with Masen, who posted a comfortable score in last Sunday's Seek Again at Belmont.
The Brant-owned Napoleonic War might also be undefeated if not for a troubled trip in the Grade 3 Transylvania in April at Keeneland. The War Front bay was shuffled back to last through the far turn before launching a wide bid to finish fourth, defeated 1 1/2-lengths by the victorious Sy Dog.
Napoleonic War, a debut dead-heat winner in January over the Tampa Bay Downs turf, exited the Transylvania to post a narrow nose score in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event on May 5 at Belmont.
Unanimous Consent will exit the outermost post 7 under Franco, while Flavien Prat will pilot Napoleonic War from post 4.
Stuart Janney III's multiple graded-stakes placed homebred Limited Liability enters from a visually-impressive allowance win on April 16 over good turf at Keeneland.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the Kitten's Joy grey rated last-of-12 in the 1 1/16-mile test before making an eight-wide move in upper stretch to arrive in the final strides for a narrow neck score.
"He ran good and you could kind of tell at the eighth pole that he was probably going to get there. It was a good race," McGaughey said.
Limited Liability, piloted through all four career starts by Jose Ortiz, rallied to a sharp debut win in July at Saratoga ahead of third-place finishes in the Grade 3 With Anticipation in September at the Spa and the Grade 2 Pilgrim in October at Belmont.
McGaughey said he will look for Limited Liability, out of the Blame mare Hold Harmless, to make a similar late charge.
"We brought him back and our game plan was to get him back [off the pace] and make the one run and that's what he did. That's what we'll try to do here," McGaughey said. "Any time they win, it helps their confidence. The older he gets, the better he'll get. He's by Kitten's Joy and out of a Blame mare."
Ortiz retains the mount from post 3.
WinStar Farm and Siena Farm's graded-stakes placed Emmanuel will make his turf debut for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.
The More Than Ready bay posted a pair of front-running scores to launch his career, graduating in December at Gulfstream by 6 3/4-lengths and following in January with a 4 1/2-length optional-claiming win at Tampa Bay Downs.
Emmanuel tried his luck on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series in his next two starts, finishing an even fourth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in March at Gulfstream and a pacesetting third last out in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Blue Grass on April 9 at Keeneland.
Emmanuel has posted his last two breezes over the Belmont inner turf, including a half-mile effort in :48 flat Sunday in company with graded-stakes placed sophomore filly A Mo Reay [:48.40].
"He's had two breezes now over the course. I thought the one yesterday was particularly good," Pletcher said. "He's got a lot of turf in his pedigree so it's something that's been on the back of our minds, but he had been doing well enough on the dirt that we felt like we had to continue on the Derby trail.
"He ran a solid race in the Blue Grass. That form held up pretty well," Pletcher added. "But we want to see where he fits on the grass and open up some options with him."
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call from post 6.
Rounding out the field are the stakes-placed Daunt [post 2, Trevor McCarthy] for conditioner Robert Ribaudo and Elizar [post 5, Joel Rosario], who makes his stateside debut for trainer Christophe Clement. Gilded Age is entered for the main-track only.
The Pennine Ridge is slated as Race 9 on Saturday's 10-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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