ELMONT, N.Y. - The Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer - to be run on the second annual Stars & Stripes Day at Belmont Park - will feature the return of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red, who has not raced since finishing second in the Grade 2 San Vicente on February 1 at Santa Anita Park.
The one-mile Dwyer is carded as the seventh race on Saturday, July 4, and is part of an 11-race program that features six graded stakes races anchored by the Grade 1, $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational and Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational.
Trained by Keith Desormeaux, West Coast invader Texas Red showed marked improvement throughout his 2-year-old campaign, breaking his maiden in his third start before placing third to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Grade 1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita. The bay colt then capped off a successful year with an emphatic 6 Â½-length triumph in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile over Kentucky Derby entrants Carpe Diem and Upstart.
"He's grown a ton since the Breeders' Cup. He's a big, strong colt and still growing," said Julie Clark, assistant to Desormeaux. "[The trip from California] was good. It was a little warm on the van ride getting here, but he was definitely feeling his oats. Sometimes they can be a little bit down or tired, but he was frisky. He strutted around here like he owned the place.
"He galloped on the main track this morning and handled it really nice, he was really relaxed," Clark added. "He's always a mellow horse to train. He can be a handful in the barn but on the track he's super professional."
Texas Red, who will be ridden by Desmormeaux's brother, Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, will break from post 4 as the 9-5 morning-line favorite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a formidable one-two punch of Blofeld, winner of last year's Grade 2 Nashua, and Tommy Macho, an impressive allowance winner on Belmont Stakes Day.
Owned by Glencrest Farm and JSM Equine, Blofeld enters the Dwyer off a third-place finish in the six-furlong William Walker Stakes in his 2015 debut on April 25 at Churchill Downs. The son of Quality Road was undefeated as a juvenile, taking the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont and a maiden race at Saratoga Race Course in addition to his five-length Nashua triumph.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will be aboard Blofeld, 7-2 morning line, and the duo will depart from the rail.
Listed at 4-1 on the morning line, Tommy Macho is coming off two straight victories at Belmont for owners Paul Pompa, Jr. and All American Horses. The bay colt broke his maiden at Big Sandy by three-quarters of a length on May 2 before vaulting forward with a 3 Â¼-length score in a first-level allowance race, which earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 95.
Tommy Macho will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 3.
WinStar Farm's Speightster will take a considerable step up in class and distance, but is undefeated through two starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The chestnut son of Speightstown debuted at an approximate distance of seven furlongs on April 17 at Keeneland, winning by seven lengths, and then won a 6 Â½-furlong allowance race at Belmont by 3 Â½ lengths.
Jose Lezcano retains the mount aboard Speightster, 3-1 on the morning line, and the pair will leave from post 6.
Rounding out the field are Bridget's Big Luvy, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Private Terms at Laurel Park earlier this year; Hollywood Angel, who earned a Beyer of 100 for his last race, a 10 Â¾-length win at Parx Racing; and Smart Transition, third behind Tommy Macho in his most recent outing.