ELMONT, N.Y. – A veteran field featuring five graded stakes winners will assemble in the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational for 4-year-olds and up going six furlongs on Belmont Park’s Widener turf on Saturday, Belmont Stakes Day.
The 14-horse field is led by 4-1 program favorite A Lot, who is looking for his first career graded stakes win after second-place finishes in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and American Turf as well as the Grade 3 Dania Beach. The bay colt is coming off a win in the listed Elusive Quality on April 30 in which the 4-year-old recorded a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure and set the Belmont Park Widener turf course record for seven furlongs in 1:19.23 in his first start since Chad Brown took over as trainer.
“He has to cut back to six furlongs but the way he ran his last race, if he gets a hot pace up front to run at, I think he can get up,” Brown said. “I just want him to run the race he ran last time, which will be good enough to win this race, I think.”
A Lot is 4-5-2 in 14 career starts and has finished in the money in 10 of his last 11 races. He will leave from post position 2 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons.
“He needs a solid pace up front because I’m confident he’s doing as well now as he was going into his last race,” Brown said. “You’re always concerned about traffic when you have that many horses going in a grass race, but hopefully they’ll be enough open to go early and set up that pace.”
The Vann Belvoir-trained Rocket Heat won his last graded stakes start, taking the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint by two lengths on May 6 at Churchill Downs. Jockey Flavien Prat will ride Rocket Heat for a third consecutive start, coming from post position 6 at 5-1.
Trainer Tom Albertrani’s Ready for Rye and Doug O’Neill’s Guns Loaded are both third-choice selections at 6-1. Ready for Rye, owned by Chalk Racing, won the 2015 Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Swale at Gulfstream Park. The 4-year-old bay gelding was second in the listed Diablo Stakes on May 8 at Belmont and will leave from post position 3 under jockey Javier Castellano.
Guns Loaded also has a graded stakes victory on his resume, winning his debut in the Grade 3 San Simeon on April 2 at Santa Anita. Owned by Mike Sanchez, Guns Loaded drew post position 11 and will team with jockey Mario Gutierrez.
Green Mask will be looking for his first win since 2014. The 5-year-old, an 8-1 choice for trainer Brad Cox out of post position 7, will make his first graded stakes start since a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on October 31 at Keeneland. Jockey Florent Geroux will ride Green Mask for the first time.
Both of trainer Christophe Clement’s entries, Summation Time, out of post position 4, and Pure Sensation, out of post 12, are 15-1 choices. Both are looking for their first career graded stakes wins. Clement said he would check with Waterford Stable, who owns Summation Time, and Patricia Generazio, who owns Pure Sensation, on Friday to see their final plans.
“They both looked good today,” Clement said. “I will check with both owners to make a final decision, but as of now, they are both running.
“It’s a good race,” he continued. “The [size of the field] makes it tougher than if it were six or seven. We [hope] it’s the right spot for the two.”
Trainer Mark Casse’s Commute won an optional claiming race last out on May 8 at Belmont Park and will be seeking his first graded stakes win leaving from post position 9 at 12-1. Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who rode Commute to that victory in his first start aboard the 4-year-old colt, will again have the ride.
Mosler is also at 12-1. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Mosler has finished in the money in three of his last five races. Jockey Joel Rosario will ride Mosler for the seventh time in his career and the first since the 2015 Jaipur.
Rounding out the field are Hothersal, an Ontario-bred son of Smart Strike for trainer Jason Servis; Take Cover, who won the listed Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup last out for trainer Alan Goldberg; Disco Partner, who is making his graded stakes debut; Royal Squeeze, and Green Gratto, who won the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 26 at Aqueduct Racetrack.