Belmont Park gave us something to talk about last Saturday, which has been desperately needed, with the Kentucky Derby (G1) disqualification debate becoming extremely played out. The New York based track ran five stakes events, all of which produced memorable performances. Here are the three horses that we believe were most worthy of the Three Stars of the Week:
1. Channel Maker
There is no doubt this horse loves Belmont Park. After a couple of subpar races at Gulfstream Park to kick off the year, the son of English Channel got back to his winning ways last Saturday in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1). He sat off a very hot pace early in the race in second, while letting Hunting Horn go extremely fast on the front end. Turning for home, Channel Maker was the first horse to make a move, as he started to cut into the lead of Hunting Horn. Nearing the wire, Channel Maker swept to the lead, winning the race by neck over the fast closing Arklow. This win sets the horse up for a big summer in New York, much like last year, when he won stakes races at Belmont Park and Saratoga.
2. Firenze Fire
Firenze Fire loves Belmont Park. On Saturday, he returned to the track for the third time, winning the $150,000 Runhapypy Stakes in runaway fashion by 4 3/4 lengths. After breaking well, he sat in third place early in the contest, stalking the pace setters Killybegs Captain and Recruiting Ready. Turning for home, Firenze Fire took the lead, and pulled away in the stretch without being urged. This race sets him up for a big time opportunity next, which will come in the Met Mile Stakes (G1). With it being at Belmont Park, it gives him a solid chance at winning, even though it will likely be a stacked field.
3. Global Campaign
Did Global Campaign throw his name into the Belmont Stakes (G1) mix last Saturday? Sent off as the second choice in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3), he sat the perfect trip right out of the gate, stalking the leader Federal Case, before easily disposing of that rival to win the event by 1 1/4 lengths over a fast closing Sir Winston. This colt it bred for a race like the Belmont Stakes (G1), while he also would come into the race fresh and rested. He earned 101 beyer speed figure for his victory in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3), which is only 1 point off of the 102 Maximum Security earned in the Kentucky Derby (G1). This could be a late developing colt that is ready to have a big summer season.