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ELMONT, NY – Trainer Mike Stidham will saddle the royally-bred Mystic Guide in a Thursday allowance event at Belmont Park that also includes promising sophomores Country Grammer, Basquiat, and Famished.
The 1 1/6-mile event is slated as race 8 on Thursday’s card, with Brian Hernandez, Jr., retaining the mount on Godolphin’s Mystic Guide, a Ghostzapper chestnut out of multiple Group 1 winner Music Note.
Mystic Guide has made two starts at Fair Grounds, including a first-out third in a 6-furlong sprint in February ahead of a 5-length maiden score when travelling 1 1/16-miles on March 21 that earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure.
Stidham said the lightly-raced colt has always shown potential.
“He was a little late coming into us, but he was really touting himself in his works early on,” Stidham said. “We’ve liked him from the beginning. We wanted to run him long first out, but the first race in the book was a mile and 1/8. We decided to give him some education in the 6-furlong race and he got shuffled back to last and came running on the outside. He went right to the route in his second start and won well.”
The colt was expected to make his seasonal debut in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 23, but he altered course to avoid a showdown with fellow Godolphin runner Maxfield, who won the event in fine fashion for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Stidham said Thursday’s Belmont allowance is a good starting point as Mystic Guide, who is training well at Fair Hill in Maryland, looks to resume his sophomore season.
“We wanted to run him at least a mile and 1/16, and we would have preferred two turns,” Stidham said. “But since he’s at Fair Hill, this race made sense, rather than shipping him to Churchill.”
Stidham said a good result on Thursday could propel Mystic Guide to the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) on July 11 at Keeneland or the Haskell Stakes (G1) on July 18 at Monmouth Park.
“If he were to run real big in this race and come out of it good, we would consider the Blue Grass or the Haskell,” he said.
Godolphin homebred Alms, a sophomore daughter of City Zip, was undefeated in her first four starts including scores in the Matron Stakes (G3) in October at Belmont and the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3) in November at Del Mar. Last out, making her fifth career start in the one-mile Tepin Stakes on May 23 at Churchill Downs, Alms endured a difficult trip when fifth off a three-month layoff from a score in the Shantel Lanerie Memorial in February at Fair Grounds.
“I was a little disappointed,” Stidham said of Alms’ Tepin result. “She broke from the way outside and was tucked in. and that’s not really her best positioning. I think she’s more of a free-running filly and it’s better when she can sit in a cleaner spot. She doesn’t have to be on the lead, but just in a stalking spot right there. She was checked a bit on the turn, but it was a bit of a trip issue and she’d been off quite a while, so we’ll assume she needed the race back and we’ll move forward off of that.”
Stidham said the $150,000 Wonder Again Stakes (G3), a one-mile turf event for sophomores fillies set for Belmont Stakes Day June 20, is the next likely target for Alms.
Pin Oak Stable’s Synchrony, a 7-year-old Tapit horse with multiple graded stakes-winning credentials, is likely to make his next start in the Fort Marcy Stakes (G2) on Saturday, June 6, at Belmont Park.
“He’s training really well at Fair Hill,” said Stidham. “It’s coming up a pretty tough race, but we’ll enter and take a look.”
Newtown Anner Stud Farm and Mark Breen’s Saguaro Row, a five-time winning daughter of Union Rags with scores in the Pumpkin Pie Stakes in November and the Interborough Stakes in January at the Big A, is enjoying some downtime at the farm.
“She had a good campaign and it was good timing for a freshening for her,” said Stidham. “She seems to be a better fall and winter filly, so we wanted to freshen her now and have her ready for next fall. She’s a pretty cool filly.”
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