Bobby Zen

Winner of three of his four starts on the grass last season, including two at the Grade III level, Amerman Racing’s Endlessly (Oscar Performance) returns to the grass for the first time as a 3-year-old as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $750,000 GI Belmont Derby. Typically contested over 10 furlongs at Belmont Park, this year’s renewal takes place over a mile and three-sixteenths at Aqueduct.

Victorious in the GIII Del Mar Juvenile Turf and GIII Zuma Beach Stakes, Endlessly was a wide-trip eighth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf before calling it a season. Stylish in adding the El Camino Real Derby and GIII Jeff Ruby Steak–both synthetic-track events–to his CV, the homebred was ultimately green-lighted for the GI Kentucky Derby and passed better than half the field and was scarcely embarrassed in ninth.

“The Kentucky Derby was something the Amermans were bullish to give a try, so we did and the horse ran a respectable race,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. “We’re looking to get back to his preferred surface now. He’s a bigger, stronger horse as a 3-year-old. He’s got a very good mind on him. He knows how to win. [Jockey] Umberto [Rispoli] suited him nicely the past few starts and we’re looking forward to sending the horse there and seeing what he’s capable of doing against the country’s best.”

With Endlessly taking up the Derby engagement, the Amermans were represented in the GII American Turf S. by the Graham Motion-conditioned Trikari (Oscar Performance). The winner of Turfway’s Rushaway Stakes in his previous run Mar. 23, Trikari was the 47-1 outsider on the Derby undercard, but struck from close range beneath Rispoli to cause the boilover. Trikari was beaten a neck into third in the GIII Penn Mile Stakes in his most recent trip postward.

Both Endlessly and Trikari will be looking to follow in the hoofprints of their sire, who took the 2017 running.

Godolphin’s Legend of Time (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) ran the table in three starts at Meydan over the winter, but overraced when fifth as the favorite in the American Turf. The bay recovered from a slow start and was shoved across the wire first in the local prep, the GII Pennine Ridge Stakes May 25, besting White Palomino (Kitten’s Joy) and Royal Majesty (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who complete the quintet Saturday.

Nine Line Up For Intriguing Belmont Oaks

The GI Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks offers less prize money than the colts’ counterpart, but with nearly double the number of runners–including a trio of European raiders–it is the more interesting and appealing race of the two.

Lael Stables’ She Feels Pretty (Karakontie {Jpn}) has been pegged as the 2-1 favorite and is squarely the one to beat. Winner of the GI Natalma S. at her second career start, the chestnut endured a torrid run from an awkward draw as the 7-2 choice in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and did exceptionally well to be third, within a half-length of Hard To Justify (Justify) and recent G1 Coronation Stakes victix Porta Fortuna (Ire) (Caravaggio). In her lone appearance this term, she dismantled six overmatched rivals by nearly a half-dozen lengths in the May 17 Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico and looks primed for this step up in trip.

“She has progressed from age two to three,” said trainer Cherie DeVaux. “All things that we look for. We are going to find out if she can handle [the distance]. She has not seemed distance-compromised right now, as of yet, so it will be interesting to see how she handles it.”

Like Legend of Time, Cinderella’s Dream (GB) (Shamardal) excelled during the Dubai World Cup Carnival, winning the Jumeirah Fillies Classic and the Jumeirah 1000 Guineas, in which her saddle slipped and William Buick lost his irons, but somehow managed to maintain his balance and bolted up by 5 1/2 lengths. The undefeated filly was allowed to take her chance in the G1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket May 5 and was in the thick of it before staying on for seventh.

“I feel she’ll be a big player on Saturday,” said trainer Charlie Appleby. “She’s got plenty of experience under her belt and quick ground will suit her, as well. Those tight tracks will suit her, as she’s a neat filly.”

The talented young French conditioner Jerome Reynier sends out Fun With Flags (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), winner of the Listed Prix Rose de Mai at Saint-Cloud in March and the beaten favorite in the G3 Prix Cleopatre at the same venue Apr. 19. She will encounter quick underfoot conditions for the first time in her career.

Trainer Andrew Balding sends out Secret Satire (GB) (Advertise {GB}), who stayed an extended mile and a quarter on good ground to take out the G3 Musidora Stakes at York May 15, but ran herself right out of the G1 Betfred Oaks last time when racing too freely to finish a distant 10th. Frankie Dettori is in for the ride.

The rest of the home team is lead by Segesta (Ghostzapper), who narrowly defeated Sy B (English Channel) in the local GII Wonder Again Stakes May 27; and Pin Up Betty (Constitution), who handed Buchu (Justify) a 1 1/2-length defeat in a methodically run renewal of the GIII Regret Stakes at Churchill June 1.

Dwyer, Indiana Derby On Tap For the Boys

In addition to Save the Trees (Preservationist), profiled by T.D. Thornton in these pages earlier this week, three others are scheduled to go postward in the GIII Dwyer Stakes at Belmont.

Domestic Product (Practical Joke) took out the GIII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 9 ahead of a 13th in the GI Kentucky Derby. Connections passed on the GI Belmont Stakes at Saratoga in favor of the Pegasus Stakes a week later and the homebred was a distant second to Tuscan Sky (Vino Rosso), with GIII Holy Bull S. winner Hades (Awesome Slew) a distant third. Billal (Street Sense), an allowance third to the impressive Subrogate (Arrogate) at Saratoga June 8, completes the field.

With the expected scratching of Sir Greylind (Speightster), seven are left for Saturday’s GIII Indiana Derby, and the two shippers from California look to have their rivals over a barrel.

Stronghold (Ghostzapper) rates as the likeliest winner as he makes his first start since finishing seventh in the GI Kentucky Derby. Prior to that, the Eric and Sharon Waller homebred ran out a convincing winner of the GIII Sunland Derby Feb. 18 ahead of a neck success in the GI Santa Anita Derby Apr. 6. Third on the latter occasion was Turf Paradise Derby winner E J Won the Cup (Omaha Beach), who most recently added the valuable Texas Derby at Lone Star May 27. Dragoon Guard (Arrogate) is the X-factor, having earned a 91 Beyer when winning a one-mile Churchill allowance June 2.

Sophomore Girls Do Battle In Indiana, Delaware

TDN Rising Star‘ Impel (Quality Road) is cross-entered for Saturday’s Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows, but goes in the GIII Indiana Oaks instead and will be a very tough nut to crack.

Having graduated over six furlongs on New Year’s Day, the homebred could not have been more impressive winning a two-turn Oaklawn allowance by 8 1/2 lengths Mar. 3. Third after leading late in the GI Central Bank Ashland Stakes, Impel exits a runner-up effort in the GII Eight Belles Stakes back over seven on May 4.

Band of Gold (Preservationist) would have to improve on her upset victory in the Martha Washington Stakes in February to be a factor and Neon Icon (Arrogate) will try to make it three wins from as many career starts.

Kentucky Oaks alumna Power Squeeze (Union Rags), 11-1 winner of the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks and third to Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna) in the GI Acorn S. at Saratoga June 8, is the main act in the GIII Delaware Oaks, a contest which has also lured GII Black-Eyed Susan Stakes third Call Another Play (Audible) as well as Juddmonte’s Sidamara (Arrogate), perfect in her two tries going a route of ground.

The post Endlessly Tops Short, But Sweet Field In Belmont Derby appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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