(Trainer Tom Amoss conditions Long Weekend / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Dual stakes-winner Long Weekend will try to keep his winning form intact when taking on six other sophomores in the seventh running of Friday afternoon’s $80,000 Gold Fever going six furlongs over the main track at Belmont Park.
Owned by B.C.W.T. Ltd., the bay son of Majesticperfection carries a three-race win streak into Friday’s race for trainer Tom Amoss. Long Weekend kicked off his 2020 campaign with an allowance optional claiming victory at Sam Houston in February, followed by two stakes wins at Oaklawn Park in the Gazebo on March 21 and the Bachelor on April 25 and led at every point of call in each race.
Originally slated for stakes action on the west coast, Amoss altered course with his colt and said he is not concerned with the slight layoff heading into the Gold Fever. Since his last start, Long Weekend has trained forwardly alongside Amoss’ primary string of horses at Churchill Downs. His last breeze was a half-mile work going 48 seconds flat.
“He runs well fresh,” Amoss said. “Our original plan was to go to California and we decided it was too far a trip. You’re looking at a consistent pattern of works with this horse. The break is more because we called audible as far as his campaign goes.”
Amoss already found stakes success earlier in the Belmont spring/summer meet when sending out fellow sophomore sprinter No Parole to victory in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens on June 20. Although Long Weekend has not yet faced graded stakes company, Amoss believes that both horses are on the same level in terms of talent and said that a big run from Long Weekend could result in a start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam on August 29 at Saratoga.
“This horse does not take a back seat to No Parole,” Amoss said. “The idea here is to keep him at six furlongs, and stay on course for the Breeders’ Cup if he’s good enough. If we were to have some success here, there a Grade 2 stake at Saratoga going six furlongs. After that, we’d consider some sort of prep for the Breeders’ Cup if all goes well.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz will attempt his fifth stakes win of the meet when piloting Long Weekend for the first time from post 6.
Trainer Mike Trombetta will saddle a pair of contenders in three-time stakes winner Newstome and dual winner Premier Star.
Owned by Marie Trombetta, Newstome has won his threesome of stakes all at different tracks having taken the Woodstock over the all-weather surface at Woodbine last out. During his 2-year-old season, he won the Mark McDermott over Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic surface en route to a victory in the James F. Lewis III at Laurel Park.
Newstome boasts the highest amount of lifetime earnings as the most seasoned contender in the Gold Fever having accumulated $223,071 in a record of 8-4-0-1.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Equivine Farm, Newstome is by third-crop stallion Goldencents out of the Unbridled’s Song broodmare Newstouse and is a direct descendant of 1993 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Hollywood Wildcat.
Breaking from post 2, Newstome will be guided by Manny Franco.
Trombetta also will be represented by Sonata Stables’ Premier Star who will attempt to make amends after a distant fourth in an allowance optional claiming event at Laurel Park last time out.
The chestnut son of second-crop stallion Tapiture won his first two starts, which both took place at Gulfstream Park and was forwardly placed in both events.
Premier Star has been training forwardly for Trombetta, arriving at the Gold Fever with two bullet works over the Laurel Park main track. On Juy 3, he blitzed through a half-mile in 47.60 seconds.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche will be aboard Premier Star from post 1.
Merrylegs Farm’s Listentoyourheart made his sophomore debut an impressive one when finishing a game second in the Mike Lee on June 14 at 38-1 odds and faces open company for the first time in the Gold Fever.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the New York-bred Afleet Alex bay colt won on debut last June as a 2-year-old and placed against his Empire State-bred counterparts in the Rick Violette and Funny Cide at Saratoga before winning the Aspirant at Finger Lakes.
Jockey Junior Alvarado will pilot Listentoyourheart from post 4.
Completing the field are Hopeful Treasure [post 3, Ruben Silvera], Wondrwherecraigis [post 5, Jose Lezcano] and Liam’s Pride [post 7, Dylan Davis].