ELMONT, N.Y. – After beginning the year on the Kentucky Derby trail and altering plans following a disappointing tenth-place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Cupid will look to rebound in Saturday’s $150,000 Easy Goer for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 Miles at Belmont Park.
The opening race on Belmont Stakes Day, the Easy Goer is the first of 10 Stakes races on the Saturday card, highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
A trainee of Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Cupid broke his maiden in his third career start at Santa Anita Park. On February 7 he followed with a 1 ¼ length win in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park before entering the Arkansas Derby as the 4-5 post-time favorite. Following his poor performance in the race, the son of Tapit was found to have a trapped epiglottis and underwent throat surgery. Baffert opted for his return in the Easy Goer instead of the Grade 1 Belmont to get Cupid back on track.
“He’s doing well,” said Baffert. “I would have liked to have run in the Belmont but I lost time with him after his throat surgery. We had to stop on him and couldn’t do anything with him for three weeks. He’s been training well and we’ll see what he does.
The 3-5 morning-line favorite, Cupid will depart from post position 2 with Florent Geroux aboard.
Entering for owners Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawerence is Economic Model. Trained by Chad Brown, the son of Flatter has two wins from four career starts will look to build off his four-length optional-claiming victory on an off track at Belmont on May 4.
Set as the 7-2 second-choice on the morning line, Economic Model and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will leave from post 5.
Rally Cry will enter from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher. A son of Uncle Mo, he y won an allowance race at Belmont on April 30 while picking up a career high 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Previous to that race. he finished sixth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes on March 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“It was a good allowance race for him last time,” said Pletcher. “He’s always trained like a nice horse and we’re looking to take another step forward. [In the Gotham], he didn’t break well and got stuck out in the middle of the track. He never really got to run his race. His last race was a better indication of what he’s capable of.”
At odds of 3-1 on the morning line, Rally Cry will leave from post 3 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard.
Rounding out the field are New York-bred Hit It Once More for trainer Gary Sciacca and owners August Dawn Farm, who enters off back-to-back victories breaking his maiden at Aqueduct on April 14 and followed with a New York-bred allowance win on May 14; and Its All Relevant for trainer Dominick Schettino and owners Brooklyn Boyz Stables and MeB Racing Stable, who most recently won an open company allowance at Belmont on May 21.