ELMONT, N.Y. -Trainer Chad Brown saw his charges finish 1-2 in the Grade 1, $400,000 Man o’War on Saturday when Wake Forest finished one length ahead of stablemate Money Multiplier.
The German-bred Wake Forest recorded a final time of 2:12.94 in the 1 3/8-mile race on the inner turf to register his first win in the United States in three starts. The 6-year-old, who came in second in the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park last month, could be pointed to the Grade 1, $1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day, June 11.
“He was real impressive,” Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Brown, said. “It was good to see him step up and we were all pleased with his effort.”
The Woodford Reserve Manhattan, a 1 ¼-mile turf contest, would be the fourth straight graded stakes start for Wake Forest since arriving from Germany. He has a lifetime record of 7-1-1 in 13 starts.
Money Multiplier surged at the start and stayed near the pace-setter before taking a half-length lead at the stretch. The 4-year-old colt finished in the money for the third time in a graded stakes race and registered his best-ever finish in a Grade 1 start.
All options open for unbeaten Unified
One day removed from Unified’s win in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan at Belmont that kept the Centennial Farms’ 3-year-old undefeated, trainer Jimmy Jerkens was pleased to report the colt returned from the race in good order.
“He looked good this morning,” said Jerkens. “It was a good race, he rated kindly and the pace wasn’t crazy. He didn’t have to go to the lead. It looked like he liked having that target. I guess he was getting a little tired at the end, but I don’t know if it was as much as getting tired or if it was him just getting out in front by himself. It looked like he spurted off again when the horse [Governor Malibu] got to his flank and that was good to see.”
Now with victories spanning distances from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, Jerkens remained noncommittal on where the son of Candy Ride will next start.
“I don’t really know where we’ll go from here, but so far so good,” added Jerkens.
Cavorting in good shape; G1 Travers ultimate goal for Mohaymen
Stonestreet Stable’s Cavorting emerged from her five-length romp in Saturday’s Grade 2 Ruffian in good shape, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin on Sunday morning.
“She came back great,” he reported.
Ridden for the first time by Javier Castellano, Cavorting added her sixth career victory from 11 starts.
“It was very impressive,” McLaughlin said. “Javier did a great job. He had a plan and the race came just like he saw it. He said, ‘I’ll lay fourth, find a hole and angle out like she did in the Test’ and he did exactly that. It worked out great.”
The 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini will likely make her next start on Belmont Stakes Day in the Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps on June 11, a Breeders’ Cup Distaff “Win and You’re In” that has attracted the early interest of multiple graded stakes winners Forever Unbridled, Curalina, Stopchargingmaria, Sheer Drama and Ruffian runner-up Carrumba, among others.
“Looking ahead, we’re probably coming into the toughest filly and mare race of the year, but we’re pointing that way,” said McLaughlin. “It makes sense.”
Godolphin Racing’s Frosted has continued to improved since his fifth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup in March, reported McLaughlin.
The 4-year-old Tapit colt has trained forwardly at Greentree Training Center near Saratoga Race Course, last breezing a half-mile in 48.20 seconds on Friday, in preparation for his expected bid in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap (Met Mile), also on Belmont Stakes Day.
“He’s working on Fridays and we’re pointing for the Met Mile,” said McLaughlin. “We were going to go a different direction but the Met Mile is such a valuable race. A mile isn’t necessarily an ideal distance for him, but it is when they go 22, 44 and 1:09. So we’ll point to the Met Mile with him and Marking.”
McLaughlin’s Kentucky Derby contender Mohaymen is in good order after last week’s Run for the Roses, the trainer said. The sophomore son of Tapit will be pointed for a Saratoga summer return after a short breather, taking aim at the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and, ultimately, the Grade 1 Travers.
“We brought him to the clinic [after the Derby] just to get him checked out and got a full bill of health,” said McLaughlin.” He’s getting a few days to stand around in tall grass and then he’ll go to Saratoga and settle in up there.”
McLaughlin was encouraged by the colt’s late-charging fourth-place finish in the Derby, coming in 4 ½ lengths behind Nyquist.
“He ran very well. He didn’t break really well but he got his best number on the sheets so far,” said McLaughlin, “but Nyquist is a star.”
Lani readies for Preakness, Belmont bids
Japanese Triple Crown contender Lani stretched his legs out over the Belmont main track Sunday morning ahead of Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness.
Belmont clockers caught Koji Maeda’s lively gray colt in a two-minute lick, picking up speed down the lane to cover the final three-eighths of a mile in 40 seconds and change.
“He went for a gallop this morning,” said Keita Tanaka, an agent for the owner. “He stretched out last two furlongs and went very good.”
Lani, who finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby, continued his gallop for about 2 ½ miles after the wire, said Tanaka, who added that the colt will have a longer breeze on Tuesday or Wednesday after the colt’s trainer Mikio Matsunaga arrives.
Lani is scheduled to leave for Pimlico on Thursday to race in the Triple Crown’s second leg. Tanaka said that the son of Tapit will return to his Belmont base immediately following the Preakness to continue his preparations for the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
Clement pleased with Governor Malibu, Red Vine re-routed from G1 Met Mile
Trainer Christophe Clement remained in good spirits with the effort put forth by 3-year-old New York-bred Governor Malibu despite falling short to finish second by three-quarters of a length in the Peter Pan. Now with one win and a second-place finish following disqualification by stewards in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park on April 9 at the 1-1/8 mile distance, Clement stated he will leave all options on the table for the son of Malibu Moon’s next start.
“He ran very well, I would have loved for him to win but he ran a good race,” he said. “He came back in good order. Unified ran a 96 Beyer [Speed Figure] which tells you Governor Malibu probably ran a 95 or 94 which would be the highest figure he’s ever received so far. We’re going to wait and see where we go next I’m not sure, but we’ll see. He’s going to be eligible for everything, meaning everything. The Belmont [Stakes], Easy Goer. We’re just going to train him and let the horse tell us what’s going on.”
Clement also reported that Red Vine, who began his 2016 campaign with a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes on May 7, is no longer under consideration for the Met Mile, but instead will remain in training and look to make a return later in the future.
“Red Vine came back a bit sore from his last race,” added Clement. “He’s a bit better now, he’s going to work next week on either Friday or Saturday and we’ll make a plan after that. The Met Mile is out of the question. We just have to train him and we’ll obviously run him if he’s doing well.”
Hennig ‘happy’ with G3 Beaugay winner Strike Charmer
Strike Charmer registered her first graded stakes victory since 2014 with a 2 ¼-length victory in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay on the Widener turf. Trainer Mark Hennig said the gray mare came out of the race fine but will take a cautious approach when determining where the 6-year-old will start next.
“We just want to see how she came out,” Hennig said. “She’s put together a couple of big efforts, we just want to make sure we don’t push her too far.”
Hennig added that Lucky Lurie is being pointed towards the seven-furlong Mike Lee on Big Apple Showcase Day on May 30. The 3-year-old bay colt is 1-4-0 in six career starts.
G3 Vagrancy Handicap highlights live racing on Preakness Day card
The Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap headlines Preakness Day at Belmont on Saturday, with the $100,000 Soaring Softly for turf fillies and mares playing a supporting role on the 12-race card.
Along with the simulcast of the Preakness, fans will receive a long-sleeved black tee-shirt giveaway, free with paid admission while supplies last.
First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
Probable starters for the 6 ½-furlong Vagrancy include the Bob Baffert-trained multiple stakes winner Fantastic Style, most recently second as the beaten favorite in the Grade 2 Great Lady M at Los Alamitos. The Harlans Holiday miss, no worse than third in eight lifetime starts, includes the Grade 3 Las Flores, the 2015 Great Lady M, and the Angels Flight among her five wins.
Also likely for the Vagrancy are the speedy Paulassilverlining, who beat Saturday’s Grade 2 Ruffian winner Cavorting by 3 ¾ lengths in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap in April; Momameamaria, most recently fifth in the Correction in March at the Big A; Blithely, who would be making her graded stakes debut, for trainer Mark Hennig and owners William Parsons Jr. and David Howe; and West Coast Chick, who is 1-1-1 in three allowance starts this year for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito. Recent allowance winner Stormy Sky is questionable.