From the NYRA Media Team:

Following a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Bruce D on August 14 at Arlington Park, trainer Jack Sisterson will make an equipment change with Calumet Farm’s Tango Tango Tango, who will race with blinkers off in Saturday’s $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont. 

The 12-furlong test for sophomores on the Widener turf, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1, $4 million Longines Turf in November at Del Mar, is the final leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series for males that commenced with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby [won by Bolshoi Ballet] in July and continued with the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby [won by State of Rest] in August at historic Saratoga Race Course.

The Jockey Club Derby is slated as Race 10 on Saturday’s lucrative 11-race card which will also feature the 1 3/8-mile $700,000 Jockey Club Oaks, the concluding leg of the Turf Triple series for 3-year-old fillies, in Race 9; and the 1 5/8-mile $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational in Race 4.

The Tourist bay broke his maiden at fourth asking against stakes company in the 1 1/16-mile American Derby on July 17 at Arlington Park when racing with blinkers for the first time. He sported blinkers once more in the last-out Bruce D, where he was a close second down the backstretch before taking command at the quarter-pole. Unable to hold off a mid-stretch confrontation from Point Me By, Tango Tango Tango fended off a game Ginsburned to complete the exacta. 

“We pulled the blinkers off to see if we can get him relaxed and get him the distance, and we have a big positive with having Flavien Prat aboard,” Sisterson said. “We’d like to see him switch off a touch more. The removal of the blinkers will get him to switch off. I’d be shocked if he’s not on the lead tomorrow, especially drawing the rail. Not sure what Ryan [Moore aboard Bolshoi Ballet] will do on his horse, but I think we’ll get an easy lead and hopefully take them all the way.”

Sisterson added that Tango Tango Tango has matured since his American Derby coup. 

“He’s got that natural speed about him,” Sisterson said. “We put the blinkers on him just to get that maiden win. He’s a horse that trains forwardly and doesn’t need them. It was just something he needed at the time, but he finally figured out how to put his head in front.”

Tango Tango Tango will make his first start past 1 1/16 miles on Saturday and Sisterson said that the added distance should be no problem for the horse, who scratched out of the Franklin-Simpson on September 11 at Kentucky Downs. 

“Looking at his form, he always acted like a two-turn type,” Sisterson said. “The farther the better. When he got invited to this race tomorrow, it was a no brainer for us to scratch out of Kentucky Downs. I don’t see the distance being an issue. In his works, he gallops out strong and he puts a lot of energy into his gallops.”

Tango Tango Tango is the fourth offspring out of the Deputy Commander mare First Consul, whose three other progeny are all winners. 

Sisterson also added that Grade 1 A.G. Vanderbilt winner Lexitonian and Grade 1 Man o’ War victor Channel Cat are likely to train up to their respective Breeders’ Cup aspirations. Lexitonian, a son of Speightstown, is on target for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint while English Channel progeny Channel Cat will point for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf.


Motion to debut Figlio Del Re; Caravel possible for G3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational

Trainer Graham Motion will debut regally bred Figlio Del Re, a 2-year-old Galileo colt out of multiple Grade 1-winner I’m a Chatterbox, in Saturday’s opening race, a seven-furlong sprint on the Widener turf course.

The Carolyn and Fletcher Gray homebred has breezed eight times at Fair Hill dating to July 15, including a five-eighths gate work on August 24 in 1:02 flat on the dirt.

The Grays campaigned I’m a Chatterbox to three Grade 1 dirt wins, capturing the 2015 Cotillion at Parx and a year later the Spinster at Keeneland and the Delaware Handicap.

Motion, however, said he is looking forward to debuting the son of the late Galileo on the turf.

“I think he’s handled the dirt fine, but being by that stallion and the fact that it’s a little kinder on them to get started on the grass, it just seemed like a logical spot. I like the seven-eighths for him,” Motion said.

Motion said he expects a good effort from Figlio Del Re, who will exit post 8 under Jose Ortiz.

“He’s doing well,” Motion said. “I don’t necessarily crank my 2-year-olds up, but he’s done everything he’s needed to do and he’s certainly ready to run.”

A full sister to Figlio Del Re brought $725,000 last week at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Motion will send out Fortune Racing’s Bipartisanship for her North American debut in Saturday’s third race, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the inner turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

The sophomore daughter of Bated Breath, out of the Oasis Dream mare Dream Wild, exits a good third in the seven-furlong Group 3 Brownstown at Fairyhouse on July 11 in Ireland. The winner of that event, Pearls Galore, came back to win the Group 3 Fairy Bridge at Tipperary and subsequently finished second in the Group 1 Matron at Leopardstown.

Bipartisanship has breezed four times on the all-weather surface at Fair Hill, including an easy five-eighths in 1:03.40 on September 11.

“She’s been very straightforward,” Motion said. “We thought about getting her started at Saratoga but we decided it would be better for her to wait and run at Belmont. I like the idea of the one turn at Belmont.”

Motion said Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will be charged with mapping out the trip from post 2.

“I’ll leave it up to Johnny but typically first-time European horses tend to break a step slow. I would imagine they’ll run away from her early,” Motion said.

Motion said Gainesway Stable’s multiple graded stakes placed Oyster Box is likely to scratch from Sunday’s one-mile $150,000 Pebbles after drawing the outermost post 13 in an accomplished field of sophomore fillies.

The Tapit chestnut, out of multiple graded-stakes winner Starformer, had also been under consideration for Saturday’s 11-furlong Belmont Oaks.

“I questioned how far she wants to go and I think we’re probably not going to run,” Motion said. “It’s a group caliber race and the complication of an outside post is just too much against her.”

Motion said Oyster Box could instead target the seven-furlong $100,000 Glen Cove on October 15 or the nine-furlong Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point on October 16.

Motion said Bobby Flay and Elizabeth Merryman’s Caravel, winner of the Grade 3 Caress in July at Saratoga, is under consideration for the six-furlong Grade 3, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational on October 2.

The 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Mizzen Mast was sent to post as the odds-on favorite last out in the six-furlong Grade 1 Highlander at Woodbine. Caravel set the pace under Irad Ortiz, Jr. but had to settle for third in an event won by local multiple graded-stakes winner Silent Poet.

“Considering she was running in a Grade 1 against colts for the first time, I think people expected a lot of her,” Motion said. “She was very sharp that day and I think Irad and I learned a lot about her. I think it was a very respectable effort and if we can build on that, we’ll be in good shape.” 


Opening Day winner Temple possible for G3 Knickerbocker

Trainer Tom Morley said Flying P Stable’s Temple, winner of a 1 ¼-mile allowance optional claiming tilt Thursday over Belmont Park’s inner turf, will likely target the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker, a nine-furlong turf test for 3-year-olds and up on October 10. 

Morley and owner Flying P Stable Jay Provenzano claimed the 5-year-old son of Temple City two starts back after finishing a close fifth to stakes-winner Hard Love for an $80,000 tag on June 5 in an optional claiming event at Belmont Park. Trained previously by Mike Maker, Temple conveyed notable back class in capturing the 2019 Gio Ponti in November 2019 at Aqueduct ahead of two next-out stakes placings at Gulfstream Park. 

Boasting a consistent 8-1-3-2 record last year, Temple was second beaten three-quarters of a length to then stable mate Tide of the Sea in his seasonal bow in the Grade 3 W.L. McKnight on January 23 at Gulfstream Park, which was two starts prior to being claimed. He made his debut for Morley in the Lure on August 7, finishing last-of-8. 

“He was a horse with some back class. He was unlucky in some of his races which dirtied his form a bit,” Morley said. “He had a bit of a bad trip in the Lure but looked impressive yesterday. I didn’t know that we would win but I believed we had a very good chance. We’re always looking for horses with class and good form and he had run well in graded stakes. It’s a tough track to get a hold of in Florida, so you have to do a lot of replay work with these claims.”

Temple will attempt to provide Morley and Flying P Stable with a second claim turned graded stakes winner in New York this year after Tell Your Daddy, a $40,000 claim in January, captured the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch on Closing Day, September 6 at Saratoga Race Course. The four-time winning son of Scat Daddy registered a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure for the gate-to-wire winning effort, after notching a 100 Beyer with a good second in the Lure. 

In his first start for Morley, Tell Your Daddy was fourth beaten a half-length in the Elusive Quality on April 24 at Belmont Park at 59-1 odds, and replicated a strong effort when third in the Seek Again on May 22. 

Morley said he will likely target the Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile on October 9, a “Win And You’re In” event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile. 

“That’s probably where we’ll head,” Morley said. “It’s a Win And You’re In and a last chance to get into the Breeders’ Cup.”

Tell Your Daddy had run in several turf sprint stakes prior to being claimed, including a close sixth in the Grade 2 Shakertown last July at Keeneland where he made up nearly ten lengths to finish 1 ½ lengths to the winner. 

“He ran a huge race in the Elusive Quality and that gave us the indication that we made a good claim,” Morley said. “We claimed him because we saw a lot of potential in stretching out beyond five-and-a-half furlongs, which is what he had been running at. At Keeneland in the Shakertown, it gave an indication of the engine inside the horse. To say that we expected to win a Grade 2 at Saratoga when we acquired him would be a bit of a stretch, but we were delighted to make it happen.”


Weyburn breezes in preparation for G1 Pennsylvania Derby

Chiefswood Stables’ Weyburn, winner of the one-mile Grade 3 Gotham in March at Aqueduct Racetrack, breezed seven furlongs in 1:31.73 Friday on the Belmont training track in preparation for a start in next Saturday’s nine-furlong Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Friday’s breeze followed up on a bullet five-eighths in 59.63 last Friday on the training track.

“He did well. We just wanted to give him a little stamina today,” Jerkens said. “He worked really fast last week and we didn’t want to do that again. I was happy with how he did it.”

The Ontario homebred son of Pioneerof the Nile finished fourth in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Wood Memorial in April at the Big A and followed two months later with a close second to Grade 1 Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus on June 13 at Monmouth.

Last out, the dark bay colt tracked the pace from third in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July 31 at the Spa, but failed to make up ground in the stretch run finishing fourth.

Jerkens said Weyburn, a resurgent Gotham winner under Trevor McCarthy off a three-month layoff, is at his best racing fresh.

“He’s got a lot of talent. He’s just a little quirky,” Jerkens said. “His two best races – the Gotham and the Pegasus – he had two to three months between starts.”

Paco Lopez will pilot the quirky colt for the first time and Jerkens said the veteran rider will need to keep Weyburn to task.

“He wants to be forwardly placed and then you have to get after him. He’ll spit the bit after he’s run a long ways and you have to try and beat him to the punch a little bit,” Jerkens said. “Trevor kept riding him the whole time in the Gotham and he came back on. He can be stubborn switching to his outside lead but when he does, he comes back on again.”