(Trainer Chad Brown / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Juddmonte Farms’ Viadera will attempt to keep a clean one-mile record intact when she commences her 2021 campaign in the $100,000 Perfect Sting on July 3 at Belmont Park.
Trained by Chad Brown, the homebred daughter of Bated Breath has won all five of her starts going one mile. Viadera began her racing career in Ireland for trainer G.M. Lyons, winning twice travelling one mile before moving to the United States. She narrowly defeated stable mate Blowout by a nose in the Grade 1 Matriarch on November 29 at Del Mar in her previous start before her respite.
Prior to the Matriarch, Viadera notched stakes wins in the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose in July at Saratoga before winning the Grade 3 Noble Damsel in September at Belmont. Her last three races leading up to the Perfect Sting was the same route taken by Brown alumni and subsequent 2019 Champion Turf Mare Uni en route to her championship honors.
“We gave her some extended time off, having the second half of the season be her best like last year. Chad says she’s doing great,” said Garrett O’Rourke, Juddmonte’s general manager.
O’Rourke said Viadera, who has won all three of her stakes victories in North America by narrow margins under regular rider Joel Rosario, showed plenty of grit.
“The great thing about her is that there are horses out there that try their best but always get beat. She’s the opposite,” O’Rourke said. “In almost all of her races last year, she would engage in a stretch battle and get down on the line first. When the jockey and horse are on the same page like her and Joel have been, it gets good results most of the time.”
Viadera is out of the Beat Hollow mare Sacred Shield, and comes from the same family as 2010 European Champion Older Male Twice Over.
Stakes-winner Flavius was scheduled to run in Sunday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Poker at Belmont but came down with an illness which will force him out of a couple weeks of training. He was previously a late-closing second behind Get Smokin in the Seek Again on May 22.
O’Rourke said Flavius, a 6-year-old son of War Front, could look at a repeat win in the Grade 3 WinStar Mint Million on September 6 at Kentucky Downs, a race formerly run as the Tourist Mile. Flavius registered a career-best 105 Beyer in last year’s race.
“He came down with a bit of a flu that seems to be going around right now,” said O’ Rourke. “He’ll miss a week or two of training. He won the race at Kentucky Downs last year, so that could be a potential long term target, but we’ll leave it up to Chad.”
O’Rourke added that Juddmonte’s Grade 1 Acorn runner-up Obligatory would target shorter distances and potentially start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test on August 7 at Saratoga Race Course.
Prior to the Acorn, the daughter of Into Mischief came from nearly ten lengths off the pace to score a 16-1 upset in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
“Bill seems to be keener to keep her doing what she’s doing,” O’Rourke said. “The Test is certainly a possibility. She deserves some refreshing after running two big races, so that gives us all of July to get her to full fitness. That’s the logical way to go. There aren’t many seven-furlong Grade 1 races out there and that’s what she does best at the moment.”
Mott previously won the Test with Missed the Storm  and Dream Supreme .
Two-time graded stakes-winner Bonny South was a late-closing second in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps, finishing 2 ¾ lengths back to Letruska. The effort marked a second Grade 1-black type acquisition for the 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Munnings who could target the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland later this autumn.
“She ran a fantastic race,” said O’Rourke of the Ogden Phipps effort. “We’re still chasing a Grade 1 win with her, but we’re getting closer. One race I would look at down the line would be the Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland and hopefully the Breeders’ Cup Distaff from there. It would be nice to win a sponsored race of ours.”
Shaker Shack switches surfaces in NYSSS Cupecoy’s Joy
Trainer Patrick Reynolds enjoyed a memorable Closing Day of the Aqueduct spring meet, winning the featured NYSSS Park Avenue with Shaker Shack and claiming the improving Bay Jewel.
Both horses will factor this weekend at Belmont, with Roddy Valente and Darlene Bilinski’s Shaker Shack making her turf debut in Saturday’s $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Cupecoy’s Joy and Ben Mondello’s Bay Jewel taking on allowance company in a $92,000 inner turf sprint.
Shaker Shack made three starts at the Big A between January 30 and March 25 with Trever McCarthy up, including a state-bred maiden-claiming win and a pair of runner-up efforts in open optional-claiming sprints.
With Jose Ortiz up for her stakes debut in the Park Avenue on April 18, Shaker Shack, with blinkers added, turned back a stretch challenge from Shesadirtydancer to prevail by 1 1/2-lengths.
Reynolds credited McCarthy for the key equipment change.
“Even though he wasn’t riding her back, Trevor still suggested to me that we put the blinkers on her. It was a classy move on his part,” said Reynolds. “He gave Jose a head’s up before he got on her, so he knew what to expect. The blinkers made her focus, which they will do, and when horses come to her she’s very game. She doesn’t let anybody by her.”
Shaker Shack received a freshening following her Park Avenue score.
“She was impressive when she won the stallion series stakes at the Big A and she’s done everything we’ve asked of her, so we decided to train her into this race to keep her fresh,” said Reynolds. “It’s a good purse. They’re not graded stakes, but the New York program is a great program and the guys I train for breed here and they want to run here and take advantage of it. We’re happy she’s coming up to the race so well.”
In her first breeze back out of the Park Avenue, Shaker Shack worked three-eighths in 37.01 seconds, with Ortiz up, over the Belmont inner turf.
Reynolds said the effort indicated she would appreciate the surface switch in Saturday’s seven-furlong Widener turf sprint for eligible New York-sired 3-year-old fillies.
“We let her get a feel for it. She clipped right along and 37 around the dogs is not bad,” said Reynolds. “The guys in the clockers stand said she had a lovely way of going. It was a very useful work and Jose liked her.”
Bred in the Empire State by Roddy Valente and Dr. Jerry Bilinksi, Shaker Shack is out of the Disco Rico mare Disco Shaker, making her a full-sister to multiple stakes-winning dirt sprinter Bustin Out and a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Oak Bluffs.
The Florida-based Oak Bluffs, an 11-year-old Defrere gelding with an affinity for turf sprints, boasts a ledger of 65-21-11-7, including 17 wins on the turf.
Reynolds said he is buoyed by the class and turf form of Shaker Shack’s siblings.
“The family is there. That one in Florida was a real hard-hitting horse and made a lot of money,” said Reynolds. “Bustin Out was also a useful type of horse. We figured we haven’t made this kind of money with these scratch off tickets, so we’re going run for it.”
Ortiz will pilot Shaker Shack, listed at 4-1 on the morning-line, from post 3 in the Cupecoy’s Joy, which is slated as Race 6 at 3:34 p.m.
Bay Jewel, whose second dam Raging Apalachee produced 1999 Champion Sprinter Artax, was claimed for $30,000 out of a winning effort in a six-furlong turf sprint.
The 4-year-old daughter of New Year’s Day, bred in Kentucky by Gabriel Duignan, won at first asking for new connections on May 16 at Belmont in a six-furlong turf allowance and followed with a closing second in an off-the-turf sprint contested on a sloppy track on May 29.
“It was an impromptu move,” said Reynolds regarding the claim. “Benny Mondello did a little homework and gave me a ring. I looked at her and I couldn’t see any reason to say no. She performed well on the turf the day we claimed her and then ran great on it for me. She was doing so well, she almost won back in the slop.”
Bay Jewel has seen her races washed off the turf on three occasions, including back-to-back attempts last year for former trainer Jorge Abreu.
Reynolds said he will keep his fingers crossed that recent good weather continues.
“That’s the thing with turf horses, you have to get lucky with the weather,” said Reynolds. “She came from a top outfit and it stood to reason to try and run her back on the turf and she won going away. We’ll take it one step at a time.”
Jose Lezcano has the return call aboard Bay Jewel from post 7 in Sunday’s seventh race.
“She got good on the grass and I’m hoping we can win that race on Sunday, so I can say she has a ‘great turn of foot’, even though I’m from Queens,” said Reynolds, with a nod to Royal Ascot.
Reynolds will saddle a pair of horses on Saturday’s undercard, including Runaway Lute in a claiming sprint in Race 5 and recent maiden-claiming winner Breaking Stones in a starter allowance mile in Race 8.
Despite a 30-1 morning-line assessment, Reynolds said he is confident of a good showing from Breaking Stones, a New York-bred son of Congrats, off a 1 ¼-length graduation that garnered a 62 Beyer.
“He’s coming around mid-year and it’s always nice to have a 3-year-old that’s starting to wake up,” said Reynolds. “Whether this is too deep for him right now, we’ll find out tomorrow. He’s certainly acting like he wants to come forward.”
Mike Luzzi has the call aboard Breaking Stones from post 9.
Father’s Day has chance to be special for Tell Your Daddy as he takes aim at G3 Poker
Flying P Stable’s Tell Your Daddy will be looking to make Father’s Day extra special as he seeks his first career stakes score when competing in Sunday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Poker for 4-year-olds and up going one mile on Belmont’s Widener turf course.
The 5-year-old Scat Daddy gelding has posted the best two Beyer Speed Figures of his 21-start career in his last two races, earning matching 98 numbers for running fourth in the seven-furlong Elusive Quality on April 24 and following with a third-place effort – his first stakes placing in six attempts – in the one-mile Seek Again over the Belmont turf on May 22.
Tell Your Daddy, bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, drew post 8 in the nine-horse Poker field. The Tom Morley trainee is looking to win his first race in 11 starts since besting optional claimers in February 2020 at Fair Grounds. He is listed at 8-1 on the morning line, competing against the likes of the Chad Brown-trained even-money favorite Raging Bull and 4-1 selection Front Run the Fed.
Morley said Tell Your Daddy’s sixth-place finish in the last year’s Grade 2 Shakertown in which he rallied from 11th and finished just 1 1/2 lengths back to winner Leinster going 5 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland provide a potential avenue to play to his strengths going forward.
“He’s doing well. We’re in a tough spot, but we have a good draw and the horse is in excellent order,” said Morley, who took over Tell Your Daddy’s training responsibilities for his 2021 campaign. “We looked at him as a horse who was probably not getting to run the right trips when he was running those 5 1/2 furlong races around Kentucky and Louisiana. In the Shakertown last year at Keeneland, he finished near some very accomplished sprinters and came from a very long way back.
“We circled him with a view that six or seven furlongs at Belmont could help and we pinpointed the Elusive Quality as a race that he would be competitive in and he ran well in there,” Morley added. “He gave us the impression that an added furlong is the way to go rather than going back in the [six-furlong Grade 1 Jackpocket] Japiur on Belmont Stakes Day, which was a possibility.”
Luis Saez will ride Tell Your Daddy on Sunday.
“We have a better draw this time and we’ve drawn outside of the speed,” Morley said. “We might think about riding him more aggressively than we have previously, because in his last race, he galloped out better than he did in his previous one. He’s been a pleasure to train. He had a few minor physical [issues] that we found out over time, and he’s done well in our shedrow.”
Morley will also be represented in another weekend stakes at Belmont with Ocala Dream stepping up in class in Saturday’s $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Spectacular Bid for eligible New York-sired 3-year-olds going seven furlongs on the Widener course.
Ocala Dream, owned by Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro and James Klein, broke his maiden at fourth asking last out, topping Bar Fourteen by 1 1/2 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile turf contest over firm going at Belmont. The Effinex colt has improved his Beyer numbers in each of his four starts, starting with a 29 in a sixth-place debut in June 2020 on the Belmont main before Morley switched him to turf. Ocala Dream notched a 56 for a fourth-place effort in his first attempt on grass in July at Saratoga Race Course.
Following a nine-month break, Ocala Dream made his 3-year-old debut with a third-place finish in a one-mile maiden special weight at the Elmont-based track, garnering a 69 Beyer, before notching an 83 after getting his picture taken last month.
Ocala Dream will be cutting back to seven furlongs after making all three of his turf starts going at least one mile, drawing post 4 in the full 13-horse field. He is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.
Morley said the $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway going one mile on the turf July 28 at Saratoga is the hope for his next start coming out of the Spectacular Bid.
“The real aim is the Cab Calloway and has been since he ran so well in Saratoga last year,” Morley said. “He ran very well at an open maiden going two turns on the grass as a 2-year-old at Saratoga. He just had a bit of an [issue] last year that meant we had to give him a break. Being a New York-bred turf horse, that meant getting the winter off. When we ran him first time back this year, I’d say he was probably about 85 percent fit, so I was very pleased with his debut effort to be third. I knew he’d progress and I expected him to win last time.”
Junior Alvarado, aboard for his last-out win, will be in the irons again.
“He does stay very well. Junior is extremely confident that seven furlongs won’t be an issue,” Morley said. “To me, it’s a stepping stone to the Cab Calloway. If we can get a piece of it, great. But the other option was to run against older horses in a state-bred ‘a-other-than,’ so this is an opportunity to run in two restricted, lucrative stakes for straight 3-year-olds.”
Evan Harlan, three-quarter brother to Miss Temple City, debuts on Sunday
Regally bred Evan Harlan will debut in Sunday’s third race, a six-furlong inner turf sprint for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park.
Trained by Graham Motion, Evan Harlan is a three-quarter sibling to multiple Grade 1-winner Miss Temple City. The dark bay colt, bred in Kentucky by Needle in a Haystack, Alan Grossbard and Bobfeld Bloodstock, is by Temple City out of the Bullet Train mare Five Each Way, whose dam is Glittering Tax.
“We’ve bred him and loved him as a foal,” said owner Sean Feld. “We just took him through our program. He started at Ocala with Barry Berkelhammer at Abracadabra Farms. We shipped him to Graham and – knock on wood – he hasn’t had any hiccups along the way.”
Feld said Evan Harlan has trained forwardly.
“We didn’t intend on running in June, but he took us there,” Feld said. “He’s bred to go longer than six furlongs, and Miss Temple City didn’t run until October of her 2-year-old year. You can never tell what a horse can do until you start cranking on him.”
Feld said Evan Harlan has some physical similarities to Miss Temple City.
“They’re both dark bay but he has some more chrome to him,” Feld said. “They’re both very intelligent horses. As a baby he was crazy smart and basically weaned himself. Everyone at the farm loved him and it seems like everyone at Graham’s barn likes him now, too. We liked him so much as a baby, we bred the mare back to Temple City.”
Jockey Junior Alvarado will be aboard for his debut from the rail.
In the same event, trainer Christophe Clement will saddle Jump Sucker Stable’s first time starter Slipstream, a dark bay son of More Than Ready out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Cake Baby.
Slipstream was purchased for $170,000 from the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by co-breeder Burleson Farms.
“At the moment I think he’ll be a good grass horse. It seems to be easier on him,” Clement said. “He’s a half-brother to another filly of mine named Too Sexy. She is quick and he seems to be quick as well.”
Jockey Jose Lezcano will ride Slipstream from post 3.
Belmont Park Week 10 stakes probables
Saturday, June 26
$100K Wild Applause
Probable: Alda (Graham Motion), Alwayz Late (Bill Mott) Bubbles On Ice (Christophe Clement), Bye Bye (Clement), Caldee (Brad Cox), Nevisian Sunrise (Chad Brown), Shantisara (Brown), Sussex Garden (Arnaud Delacour)
Possible: Line Dancer (Michael Matz), Tobys Heart (Brian Lynch)
G2 $250K Mother Goose
Probable: Always Carina (Brown), Clairiere (Steve Asmussen), Illiogami (Rusty Arnold), Maracuja (Rob Atras), Zaajel (Todd Pletcher)
Sunday, June 27
Probable: Bankit (Asmussen), Mr. Buff (John Kimmel), Vintage Hollywood (Orlando Noda)
Possible: Tiergan (Rudy Rodriguez)