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ELMONT, NY – The 8-time stakes winner Therapist will look to win his seasonal debut for the third consecutive year when he competes in Saturday’s eighth running of the $100,000 Elusive Quality at Belmont Park.
The 7-furlong event for 4-year-olds and up over the outer turf course honors the multiple graded stakes winner who captured the Grade 3 Jaipur (now Grade 1) and Grade 3 Poker in 1998, the latter of which produced a world record time of 1:31.63 for 1 mile on the turf.
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Another quality turf winner, Therapist, owned by Richard Leahy’s Oak Bluff Stable and trained by Christophe Clement, commenced his 4-year-old campaign by winning the 2019 Elusive Quality over a yielding outer turf, where he came from last of six to secure a neck victory. The son of leading New York sire Freud would not register another win until his 2020 debut in the First Defence at Belmont Park, where he edged Majestic Dunhill by a head.
The New York homebred has maintained a consistent 22-9-2-5 record and has never been worse than fourth in his last 13 starts. He enjoyed a prosperous 2020 campaign, with stakes-placings to accomplished New York-breds Rinaldi and Somelikeithotbrown, and won the Artie Schiller on November 14 at Aqueduct 2 starts back over Grade 1 winner Valid Point.
Against state-bred counterparts, Therapist owns victories in the Spectacular Bid and Cab Callaway divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes Series during his sophomore campaign.
“He’s a horse that doesn’t like the heat very much,” said Clement assistant Christophe Lorieul. “He loves Belmont, obviously, so we put him away in Ocala for the winter. He came back to training at Payson Park in March and I like the way he’s been. He’s one who does better when you space his races out, and he runs well fresh. It doesn’t take much work for him to get ready. We’re just hoping for the best and for some good weather.”
Therapist has won at stakes level each year he’s been in training, dating to his 2-year-old year in 2017 where he won the Laurel Futurity at Laurel Park and the Awad at Belmont Park. He has amassed $659,345, marking the highest bankroll in the Elusive Quality field.
“He’s been a very nice horse for us and for Mr. Leahy,” Lorieul said. “We’re happy to have him in the barn and it’s fun for all of us.”
Jockey Eric Cancel, the leading rider at the Big A winter meet, was aboard for Therapist’s 2019 Elusive Quality triumph and returns to the irons from post 4.
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Trainer Chad Brown has entered three runners each looking to get back on winning form.
Bearing the white and red colors of Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables are stakes winner Front Run the Fed [post 6, Javier Castellano] and Value Proposition [post 1, Irad Ortiz Jr.], both of whom will be making their respective seasonal debuts.
A son of Fed Biz, Front Run the Fed last raced when sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) on November 7 at Keeneland and seeks his first stakes win since capturing the 2019 Better Talk Now at Saratoga.
Front Run the Fed is unbeaten in both starts at 7 furlongs, defeating winners by 13 1/4 lengths in May 2019 at Belmont Park. 3 starts back, he bested stablemate Delaware in an optional claiming event on July 5 at 7 furlongs before finishing a late-closing second in the 6-furlong Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) on September 12.
Value Proposition is still in search of his first stakes win, with his best finish at such level taking place in last year’s Poker (G3) when third beaten 2 3/4 lengths to Social Paranoia. The 5-year-old Dansili dark bay or brown ridgling last raced when eighth in the Woodbine Mile (G1) on September 19.
Brown’s third Elusive Quality aspirant is Seismic Wave, who made his debut for his current trainer when fifth in the Appleton (G3) on March 27 at Gulfstream Park.
Originally racing for the stable of Hall of Famer Bill Mott and owner Juddmonte Farm, the son of Tapit won the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream Park and English Channel at Belmont for his former connections. Seismic Wave was selected at the Keeneland November Sale for $60,000 by new owners Michael Dubb, Nice Guys Stables and Bethlehem Stables.
Seismic Wave will be ridden by jockey Jose Ortiz from post 7.
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Mott, who conditioned the race’s namesake, sends out LRE Racing’s Casa Creed after finishing a close sixth in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) on March 6 at Santa Anita.
The son of Jimmy Creed was a close second to Ride a Comet in the Tropical Turf (G3) in his 2021 debut at Gulfstream and earned Grade 1 black type with a third-place finish to Halladay in the Fourstardave on August 22 at Saratoga. Casa Creed will attempt his first win since capturing the Grade 2 Hall of Fame in August 2019 at Saratoga, where he bested graded stakes-winners Sombeyay and Global Access.
Casa Creed will be ridden by Junior Alvarado from post 3.
Rounding out the field are the Mark Casse-trained stakes-winning pair of DJ Racing’s Proven Strategies [post 2, Manny Franco] and Olympic Runner [post 5, Trevor McCarthy] for owner Gary Barber, and Tell Your Daddy [post 8, Kendrick Carmouche] for owner-trainer Tom Morley.
The Elusive Quality is slated as race 8 on Belmont’s 9-race Saturday program. First post is 1 PM Eastern.
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