(Magic Attitude winning the G1 Belmont Oaks / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
The English-bred Magic Attitude wasn’t a complete unknown entering Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, having won a Group 3 race in France and finishing second in a Group 1 before being shipped across the Atlantic.
But in her North American debut, the sophomore Galileo filly showed that her talents translate across the world, rallying from last-of-five for a 2 1/4-length victory in the 42nd running of the Belmont Oaks going 1 1/4 miles on the inner turf.
Magic Attitude earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure in her first race since being transferred to the care of trainer Arnaud Delacour, who said she traveled well to her base back at Fair Hill in Maryland, where she recorded all four of her works before her Belmont Oaks triumph.
“It looks like she came out of the race very well and she went back to Fair Hill and looked great this morning,” Delacour said. “I was very happy with her. Yesterday, even the horse to her inside [Setting the Mood] was a little bit fractious in the gate and was rattling a little bit, and it didn’t bother her even a little bit.”
Bred in Great Britain by Katsumi Yoshida, Lael Stable’s Magic Attitude is a full-sister to 2018 Group 2 Prix de Sandringham winner Mission Impassible, who is also multiple Grade/Group 1-placed. She came to North America with experience running against high caliber competition, winning the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux in May at France’s famed Longchamp course when racing off a nearly eight-month layoff for former conditioner Fabrice Chappet.
Magic Attitude, out of Group 1-winner Margot Did, then ran second in the 10-furlong Group 1 Prix Saint Alary in June at Chantilly in a race won by the undefeated Tawkeel, who then captured the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette at Deauville.
In her previous effort before her Belmont Oaks victory, she competed in the Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly, where she ran a strong fifth, defeated three lengths to Fancy Blue in the 1 5/16-miles test known as the French Oaks.
“She came with very precise and accurate instructions for her training and the way she runs,” Delacour said. “Fabrice knew her well and gave us the right instructions and everything has gone according to plan already.”
Magic Attitude could potentially make a start in the in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on November 7 at Keeneland, with Delacour saying the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 10 at Keeneland could be a potential prep if she continues to train forwardly.
“The Queen Elizabeth could be a spot to bring her back in, but it’s coming back a little quick, so everything would have to go right between now and then, but we’ll definitely look at the race,” Delacour said.
Delacour won his third career Grade 1 race, with his previous two both coming in 2016 with A.P. Indian, who won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and the Forego during that campaign’s summer meet at Saratoga Race Course.
“It’s great and means a lot, because it’s our first Grade 1 for Lael Stables and we’ve had a lot of seconds,” said Delacour, referring to 2018 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint runner-up Chalon and 2017 Grade 1 First Lady runner-up Hawksmoor. “It means a lot to win a Grade 1.”
Decorated Invader, Gufo on target for G1 Belmont Derby Invitational
Trainer Christophe Clement breezed a number of turf workers on Sunday morning at Belmont Park, including the graded stakes-winning pair of Decorated Invader and Gufo, both of whom are targeting the Grade 1, $250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational at 10-furlongs for sophomores on October 3 over the inner turf.
The two 3-year-old sons of Declaration of War worked in company, covering a half-mile in an easy 51.01 seconds over the inner turf.
“They both had a very good work together,” Clement said. “They started slow but finished up great. They will be nominated to the Belmont Derby and we’ll go from there. A back up race could be a race like the [Grade 2, $150,000] Hill Prince [on October 12], but at the moment both are being trained to the Belmont Derby.”
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William T. Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning, Decorated Invader finished a close fifth in the Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 15 as the beaten favorite, where Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo finished a closing second, a head back to Domestic Spending.
A three-time graded stakes winner, Decorated Invader won last year’s Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine before recording a productive sophomore campaign, with victories in the Cutler Bay on March 28 at Gulfstream Park, the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge on June 20 at Belmont and the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on July 18 at Saratoga.
Never off the board in six lifetime starts, Gufo captured his stakes debut from well off the pace in the English Channel on May 2 at Gulfstream Park before capturing the Grade 3 Kent on July 4 at Delaware Park over next-out stakes winners Pixelate and Vanzzy.
Clement said City Man, who worked a half-mile in 50.66 seconds over the inner turf Sunday, could also target the Belmont Derby. Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, and Peter and Patty Searles, the son of Mucho Macho Man was a recent second in the Albany at Saratoga.
Bred in New York by Moonstar Farm, City Man is 2-2-1 in nine career starts.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stable and Bethlehem Stable’s Plum Ali logged her first work since winning the Mint Juvenile Fillies on September 7 at Kentucky Downs with a half-mile effort in 50.66 over the inner turf and will target the Grade 2, $150,000 Miss Grillo on October 4.
“It was her first work since winning at Kentucky Downs. That was a half-million dollar race so it was a good race to win,” Clement said. “The plan is to run her in the Miss Grillo. I wanted to run in Saratoga, but the P.G. Johnson came off the turf.”
A 2-year-old daughter of First Samurai, Plum Ali won her career debut going 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf at Saratoga on July 23.
Clement also spoke of Space Launch, a first-out winner on Friday afternoon’s program who broke his maiden by 1 ½ lengths going one mile over the Widener turf and registered a 71 Beyer Speed Figure for the debut win.
“Space Launch is a nice horse,” Clement said. “He’s trained well and we have always liked him. He always trained better on the turf than on dirt. He’s a well-bred horse. So far, he came back in good shape.”
Owned by Athlone Racing, Daniel Burke and Jane Burke, the son of Bernardini is out of multiple black type-producing Awesome Again mare Spacy Tracy, who also produced main track graded stakes winners Benner Island and Victim of Love.
“That [the main track graded-stakes winning progeny] was the reason I kept asking myself if I was doing the right thing by running him on turf,” Clement said. “But his turf works were just so much better than his dirt works.”
Clement said that Space Launch could return to action in the $80,000 Awad on October 31 at Belmont Park.
G1 Preakness plans still in flux for Pletcher
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday that he is still unsure if he will enter Happy Saver or Dr Post in the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness October 3 at Pimlico Race Course.
Owned by Wertheimer and Frere, Happy Saver, a chestnut son of Super Saver, is unbeaten in three lifetime starts, including a winning stakes debut in the Federico Tesio on September 7 at Laurel Park.
The Kentucky homebred worked a half-mile in 49.03 seconds over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga on Friday morning.
“I like the way he worked. He’s doing well,” Pletcher said. “I haven’t decided yet. We’ll just continue to survey what shakes out here.”
St Elias Stable’s Dr Post, a last out fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on September 5 as the favorite, worked an easy half-mile in 50.06 seconds over the Oklahoma training track on Saturday morning. The son of Quality Road was a respective second and third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 20 and the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 18 at Monmouth Park.
“We’re weighing out all of our options. We’ll try to sort it all out this week,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher also indicated that the Grade 1, $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 10 against older horses going 1 1/4 miles would be a possible option for either horse should they skip the Preakness.
On Saturday, Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable and Stonestreet Stables’ Likeable powered home to an 8 ¼-length maiden victory. The 2-year-old son of freshman sire Frosted extended his advantage at every point of call going the one-turn mile and registered an 81 Beyer for the win.
“We always liked him,” Pletcher said. “He had a solid debut but took a big step forward [Saturday]. He handled the stretch out well and galloped out strongly. We were very happy with it.”
Pletcher was non-committal to a next start, but said that a stakes race would likely be in order.
“We’ll let the dust settle a little bit,” Pletcher said. “He’ll probably move up into a stake of some sort. The [Grade 1, $250,000] Champagne [on October 10] is here, and he’s now won here at the distance. It’s also back in three weeks so we’ll have to play it by ear.”
Bred in Kentucky by co-owner Stonestreet Stables, Likeable was purchased for $350,000 from last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Elm Tree Farm, and is out of the stakes-winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Dashing Debby, who also produced stakes winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Dawn the Destroyer.
Mott-trained stars lining up for stakes starts; Multiple GSW Blamed retired
Multiple graded-stakes winner Tacitus, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms, continues to train forwardly at Saratoga in preparation for the Grade 1, $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 10.
Mott said Tacitus will look to secure his first career Grade 1-win in the 10-furlong test which offers a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7 at Keeneland.
“That’s our plan,” said Mott. “He stayed in Saratoga to train up to it.”
In July, Tacitus captured the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont adding to a ledger that includes wins in last year’s Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 2 Wood Memorial at the Big A.
The Tapit grey, out of Eclipse Award-winner Close Hatches, boasts a record of 13-4-4-2 with purse earnings in excess of $2.9 million.
Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Channel Maker, a 6-year-old English Channel chestnut, continues to flourish after winning the Grade 1 Sword Dancer last out on August 29 at the Spa.
In victory, the Canadian-bred gelding matched a career-best 108 Beyer first achieved in his 2018 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational score.
Mott said Channel Maker will next make his fourth start in the Grade 1, $250,000 Joe Hirsch, a 12-furlong turf marathon which is slated for October 3. Channel Maker’s previous Joe Hirsch efforts include a sixth in 2017 and a second last year when a half-length back of Arklow.
“It was a good run from him last out,” said Mott. “Hopefully, he can repeat it.”
Goldophin homebred Endorsed, a 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt, finished second to Spinoff last out in the nine-furlong Alydar on August 8.
With four wins and three seconds from 11 starts, Mott said he might point Endorsed to the Grade 2, $150,000 Kelso Handicap on October 3 to attempt a first career stakes score.
Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Chaleur worked a half-mile in 49.05 Sunday on the Belmont dirt training track in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Noble Damsel at one-mile on the Widener turf.
“She went nicely on the dirt this morning. She’s pointed to the Noble Damsel,” said Mott.
The 4-year-old Dansili bay earned a 92 Beyer last out when second to probable Noble Damsel rival Feel Glorious in the 1 1/16-mile Perfect Sting on August 14 on the Saratoga turf.
Cleber Massey’s Blamed, a 5-year-old Blame mare bred in Maryland by Sagamore Farm, has been retired.
“She’s gone home to the farm and has been retired,” said Mott.
Blamed finished third last out in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap on September 6 at Saratoga.
The multiple graded-stakes winner posted a career record of 17-9-3-1 with purse earnings of $618,065 led by wins in the 2018 Grade 3 Comely at the Big A and the 2019 Grade 3 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park.
LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s maiden Repo Rocks, who got loose in the paddock ahead of Saturday’s sixth race at Belmont, is in good order. The 2-year-old Tapiture colt, bred in Virginia by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III, was a $70,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“He’s fine,” said Mott. “He had a nice tour of the barn area and was back on the track training this morning.”
Stakes winners Officer Hutchy and Battle Station on the work tab
Trainer Rob Atras enjoyed a strong end to the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course winning a pair of restricted stakes races in the final week with Officer Hutchy scoring in the NYSSS Park Avenue on September 3 and Battle Station firing strong in the Lucky Coin on September 6.
Atras said the barn’s late rally made up for a difficult start to the meet which they concluded with a record of 38-7-6-9 and purse earnings of $388,367.
“It started out a little slow. We had a few horses that I thought should have won that narrowly got beat and then got claimed, so that was a little frustrating at the start,” said Atras. “But we had a good run towards the end of the meet, which made up for it. The stakes wins really helped out.”
Atras runs a barn of 34 horses at Belmont and already has a second and a third from two starters at the 27-day fall meet which kicked off on Friday and runs through November 1.
Both Officer Hutchy and Battle Station returned to the work tab on Sunday at Belmont with the Park Avenue-winner covering three-eighths on the main track in 37.47 seconds and Battle Station posting a half-mile in 53.53 on the dirt training track.
Sanford J. Goldfarb’s Officer Hutchy, a 3-year-old Boys At Toscanova bay bred in the Empire State by Green Polka Farms, was claimed for $25,000 out of a winning effort on August 16 in an open sprint on August 16 at the Spa that garnered a career-best 89 Beyer.
Atras entered the filly straight back in the Park Avenue, a 6 ½-furlong sprint on September 3, and she gamely battled Spin a Yarn through the final furlong before pulling away to a half-length score that earned a 79 Beyer.
Atras said Officer Hutchy has come out of her first career stakes win in good order.
“She worked really nice. It was an easy three-eighths and we were just getting her back going again,” said Atras. “She ran two races pretty closer together – 17 days apart – so I just wanted to ease her back into it.”
Atras said Officer Hutchy is under consideration for the $125,000 Iroquois, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward which is part of the Empire Showcase Day card on October 24 offering eight stakes worth $1.2 million.
“We have her nominated and we’ll consider it, but nothing confirmed yet. We’ll see how she’s doing,” said Atras. “It’s definitely a step up and against older, but she’s run two pretty big races. If she trains good over the next few weeks, we’ll consider that race.”
Atras said Officer Hutchy, who ran second in the 2019 NYSSS Fifth Avenue in her stakes debut, has shown talent during her brief time in the barn.
“She’s been good since we claimed her and if she keeps improving just a little bit, she’ll be able to compete with 3-and up,” said Atras. “She ran an 89 Beyer [when claimed] and then maybe dropped off a little bit last time, understandably. She’ll have to step up to compete against the older mares, there’s some nice ones in the division.”
RB Racing’s Battle Station, a 5-year-old Warrior’s Reward gelding bred in New York by Lansdowne Thoroughbreds, enjoyed a successful reunion with jockey Kendrick Carmouche last out in the Lucky Coin, a 5 ½-furlong Mellon turf course sprint for 4-year-olds and upward which had not won a stakes race in 2020.
Carmouche piloted Battle Station to victories in his first two career starts as a 2-year-old for former conditioner Wesley Ward. In the Lucky Coin, the duo enjoyed their first race together in 25 starts and nearly three full years, to keep a perfect winning record intact with a 1 ¼-length score at odds of 20-1 as the longest price in the field.
Despite the long odds on the board, Atras said he was confident going into the event after the dark bay endured a difficult effort just nine days earlier in an optional-claiming turf sprint at the Spa.
“He ran really big last time. We expected him to run good even though it was short rest,” said Atras. “The race before he had a troubled trip but we thought he had it in him to compete at that level.”
Atras said Battle Station put in a good work Sunday morning and will point to the Grade 3, $100,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, a six-furlong affair on October 4.
“He breezed well this morning and we’re targeting the Turf Sprint Invitational,” said Atras. “Off his last race and how good he ran, this is the next natural spot for him. We’re hoping he’ll run another big race for us.”