Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Belmont Buzz...

--Steve Sherack

Belmont Park’s Spring Meeting kicks into high gear this week, led by the much-anticipated return of the popular 2010 GI Haskell runner-up and Long Branch S. hero Trappe Shot (Tapit) in the $60,000 Waldoboro S.

The Mill House colorbearer was given a vacation following a lackluster ninth as the lukewarm favorite in the GI Travers S. back in August (TDN APB). The "TDN Rising Star," also a sharp winner of a salty allowance on last year’s GI Belmont S. undercard, has put together a solid worktab dating back to early February for his seasonal bow. Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Johnny Velazquez replaces Alan Garcia, who was aboard in all seven of Trappe Shot’s previous starts.

Wednesday’s six-furlong feature, slated to go off at 4:45 p.m. EDT, will be far from a walkover for the 8-5 morning-line favorite. It has also attracted a pair of trainer Rick Dutrow’s big guns--D’ Funnybone (D’wildcat) and This Ones for Phil (Untuttable).

The former, two-for-two over Big Sandy with wins in the 2009 GII Futurity S. and 2010 GII Woody Stephens S., kicked off his 4-year-old campaign with a disappointing fourth in Gulfstream’s Sunshine State S. for Florida-breds Apr. 9. The handsome chestnut, a late scratch from last year's Fasig-Tipton November sale, appears to have bounced back well from his latest effort, firing a five-furlong bullet in 1:00 3/5 at the Big A May 6.

This Ones for Phil faced the starter only twice last term, gamely securing the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream in January with a 108 Beyer, and tiring to finish eighth in the GII Gulfstream Park H. in March. The 5-year-old has always run well fresh throughout his career.

Belmont Park
Sherackatthetrack photo

Rule by Night (Malibu Moon) adds fuel to the fire in this competitive sprint. A strong second in the Gallant Bob S. at Philly Park in October, he enters off a breakthrough 9 1/4-length win in Aqueduct’s Groovy S. Nov. 21, good for a career-best 108 Beyer.

Thursday’s nine-race card features the $60,000 Ziggy’s Boy S. for sophomores going seven furlongs on the main track. Glickman (Trippi), a visually impressive first out winner on the GI Wood Memorial undercard (Ready for the Big Show--TDN Staff Blog), takes on four experienced rivals in his stakes debut.

Arch Traveler (Sky Mesa) had a two-race winning streak snapped at Gulfstream when sixth in the GI Florida Derby; The Fed Eased (Montbrook) cuts back in distance following a respectable third in the GIII Illinois Derby; and Free Entry (Tale of the Cat) resurfaces following an off-the-board finish as one of the choices in the GII Tampa Bay Derby. Rocking Out (Include), fourth in Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie)’s Timely Writer S., seeks his second straight win off a solid effort in an optional claimer in Hallandale.

The Ziggy’s Boy, slated as the day’s third race, goes off at 2:04 p.m. EDT.

The weekday action continues at Belmont Friday with "TDN Rising Star" Ripples n’ Waves (Malibu Moon)’s first test against winners in a $75,000 optional claimer (race seven, post time: 4:12 p.m. EDT). The L. Riley Mangum homebred scored by an eye-catching 6 1/4 lengths in an Aqueduct maiden special weight going a mile Apr. 15 (TDN Video), earning a 91 Beyer. The extra sixteenth of a mile should be no problem with a repeat performance of his second career start. The very promising Ripples n’ Waves was also nominated for Saturday’s GII Peter Pan S. at Belmont.

With a forecast calling for clear skies and temperatures in the 70s throughout the week, what better place to be than at beautiful Belmont Park.

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