While the Triple Crown series takes a brief intermission, Belmont Park is ramping up the action! We've got five graded stakes races this Saturday, worth a combined total of $1.35 million in purse money. No time to snooze, ladies and gentlemen.
The First Post Time is 1:00 PM ET
The First Stakes Post Time is 2:31 PM ET
Let's preview the action.
The $150K Runhappy Stakes (G3) — 6 furlongs, Dirt, Four-year-old and upward. Post Time is 2:31 PM ET.
CHATEAU breaks from the third slot and will represent the Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. stable. He'll be ridden by regular jockey Kendrick Carmouche as he attempts to rebound off his fourth place finish in the Carter Handicap (G1) last time out. The son of FLAT OUT has finished in the money twice out of three tries at Belmont Park.
FIRENZE FIRE from post four is a formidable opponent from the Kelly J Breen barn. He's earned some of his best speed figures over this exact trip, and gets red-hot Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. FIRENZE FIRE will be coming off a four month layoff, but to his credit on fitness level, he delivered a sharp three furlong work on May 1st at Belmont Park, going :35.20 as the 2nd fastest of 8 works at that distance. His third place finish in the Breeder's Cup Sprint (G1) last November demands respect for the 6-year-old son of POSEIDON'S WARRIOR.
TOWN CLASSIC from post two is the second entrant for trainer Saffie A. Joseph Jr., as he steps up in company with regular jockey Jose Ortiz. The son of SPEIGHTSTOWN was last seen finishing third in the Sir Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He worked a sharp 4F in :48.40 in preparation for this race. He registered a win in his only start at Belmont Park back in 2017.
Rounding out the field are: STAN THE MAN and DRAFTED
The $150K Beaugay Stakes (G3) — 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies and Mares, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time is 3:34 PM ET.
CIVIL UNION will break from the fifth slot for trainer Claude McGaughey III and be ridden by regular rider Joel Rosario. We last saw the daughter of WAR FRONT more than six months ago in the Breeder's Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), where she put her four-race win streak on the line and finished fifth. She returns to the one mile and one-sixteenth distance where she's finished first and second in two starts. Note that she's a perfect 3-for-3 at Belmont Park in her longer route races.
NAY LADY NAY is the second entrant for Chad Brown, to be ridden by Javier Castellano for the first time. She also comes off the Breeder's Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), where she finished a well-beaten eighth, but still earned her highest speed figure in the effort. She'll cut back to the one mile and one-sixteenth distance where she's finished first and second in two tries.
HARVEY'S LIL GOIL will break from the rail for trainer William Mott and be ridden by Junior Alvarado for the second consecutive time. They teamed up to finish a respectable third in the Breeder's Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) last November, which was her first try against older competition. This will be her first try at Belmont Park, and will try to win off of a 6-month layoff. She seems fit though, noting her sharp four furlong workout on May 1st at the Belmont track, going :47.60 as the 5th fastest of 110 works at that distance.
Rounding out the field are: LEMISTA, PLATINUM PAYNTER and THANKFUL.
The $150K Vagrancy Handicap (G3) — 6 1/2 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies and Mares, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time is 4:06 PM ET.
FRENCH EMPIRE makes her appearance from the Brad Cox barn and aims for her fifth consecutive win. She'll be stepping up in company but comes out of an Allowance race where she earned her highest speed figure to date. Javier Castalleno will ride the STREET SENSE mare for the first time.
PACIFIC GALE from the John Kimmel barn will break from post six, as she goes for her third consecutive victory. The daugher of FLAT OUT was last seen winning the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park at this six and a half furlong distance. She's reunited with John Velazquez, who rode her to victory in the Inside Information Stakes (G2) two races back. Note she's hit the board seven out of ten tries at Belmont Park.
VICTIM OF LOVE will break from post three for trainer Todd M. Beattie. She was last seen running second in an Allowance Optional Claiming race at Laurel Park, which was her comeback race in over six months. Two races prior, she won the Vagrancy Handicap (G3) at this track and distance. Joel Rosario will pilot the Speightstown mare for the first time.
Rounding out the field are: PIEDI BIANCHI, SADIE LADY, KISS THE GIRL and HONOR WAY
The $200K Peter Pan Stakes (G3) — 1 1/8 miles, Dirt, Three-year-olds. Post Time is 5:12 PM ET.
RISK TAKING from post six will have his shot at redemption. The Chad Brown colt ran a disappointing seventh in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) last time out as the $2.35 to win favorite. Prior to that he won big over this one mile and one-eighth distance in the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the call for the job.
NOVA RAGS from the William Mott barn will break from the second slot. He finished fourth last time out in the Florida Derby (G1), but ran a decent second in the Sam F Davis (G3) one race prior. The UNION RAGS colt broke his maiden here at Belmont Park under the hands of Junior Alvarado, who incidentally is scheduled to be back onboard for this race! NOVA RAGS worked a 4F bullet on May 1st, going :48.60 as the fastest of 17 works at that distance. The week before that, another bullet, only this time 4F in :49 flat, the fastest of 19 at that distance.
PROMISE KEEPER will make things interesting from the third-hole for trainer Todd Pletcher. After a disappointing 12th place effort in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at odds of $4.00 to win, the son of CONSTITUTION rebounded with a smart victory next time out in an Optional Claiming 75K race at Keeneland. He won by five and a half lengths, earning his highest speed figure to date. Luis Saez has ridden him in all four starts and is back aboard for the fifth.
Rounding out the field are: OVERTOOK, WOLFIE'S DYNAGHOST and I AM THE LAW.
The $700K Man o' War Stakes (G1) — 1 3/8 miles, Turf, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time is 5:44 PM ET.
The late charging GUFO from the Christoph Clement barn will break from post eight. He makes his first start of his four-year-old campaign, having finished third in the Hollywood Derby almost five months back. The son of DECLARATION OF WAR will have Joel Rosario back onboard, who piloted him to victory in March of last year. In preparation for this race, he fired a 5 furlong bullet on May 2nd, going 1:00.60 as the fastest of seven works at that distance.
ZIYAD will break from post three for trainer Graham Motion. The son of ROCK OF GIBRALTAR has finished third in both of his U.S. starts, but will try to make his first start at Belmont Park a winning one. He'll have to overcome a five-month layoff, which he pulled off back in March of 2020, when he won the Grand Prix de Chantilly (G2) off of five months rest all the same.
MOON OVER MIAMI from the two-hole will represent trainer William Mott. The son of MALIBU MOON was last seen finishing second in the Pan American Stakes (G2), where he achieved his highest speed figure for the effort. Junior Alvarado rode him his last two races and is back aboard for the third.
Rounding out the field are: SOVEREIGN, SO HIGH, CHANNEL CAT, SHAMROCKET and FIELD PASS.