Updated on 09/16/2011 9:20AM

With Anticipation seeks 4th in row

With Anticipation shoots for his fourth straight Grade 1 win in Sunday's $750,000 Turf Classic at Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Around trainer Jonathan Sheppard's barn, With Anticipation is referred to as gray boy or the white horse. On the racetrack, a more apt name for the 7-year-old gelding is win-machine.

On Sunday at Belmont Park, With Anticipation shoots for his fourth consecutive Grade 1 victory in the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational after having captured the United Nations at Monmouth, the Sword Dancer at Saratoga, and the Man o' War at Belmont.

Eleven horses will meet in the 1 1/2-mile Turf Classic, a stepping-stone to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park on Oct. 26. All runners carry 126 pounds.

Four Turf Classic winners - Manila (1986), Theatrical (1987), Tikkanen (1994), and Buck's Boy (1998) - also won the BC Turf. John's Call and Timboroa, the last two winners of the Turf Classic, finished third in the Breeders' Cup.

Timboroa will be making his first start on Sunday since finishing last in the Japan Cup in November. He is part of a three-horse entry trained by Bobby Frankel. Denon, narrowly second to With Anticipation in both the United Nations and Sword Dancer, and Lord Flasheart, fifth in the Man o' War, are Frankel's other runners.

The margin in With Anticipation's three recent victories were each a length or less. In the Sword Dancer and Man o' War, there were some anxious moments in the stretch before he went into overdrive and collared the leader.

Sheppard said there is a benefit in having the gelding save himself until late in the race.

"One thing I have to say about him not running early in his races is that he's just running hard the last quarter of a mile," Sheppard said. "He's come out of his races quite fresh."

Sheppard, who trains With Anticipation for Augustin Stable, said he doesn't believe the gelding would be as effective on very soft turf. According to Belmont's track superintendent, Jerry Porcelli, 2 1/4 inches of rain fell here through noon on Friday, with more expected Friday evening. The weekend forecast was for clearing skies. Porcelli anticipates the turf will be soft on Sunday.

Pat Day rides With Anticipation, who drew post 5.

Frankel said Denon likes a soft course. "I could take a bog," he said. "It was a bog that day when he won the [Hollywood Derby]."

Edgar Prado, aboard Timboroa last year, rides Denon from post 10.

Timboroa, who set the pace in the 2001 Turf Classic en route to a three-length victory over a course listed as good, is the likely pacesetter.

Frankel said it's easier on a horse who is coming off a long layoff to run in a marathon, where the pace is usually moderate, than at a shorter distance, with quicker fractions.

"They'll probably go [the first quarter] in 25," he said. "Sometimes grass horses freak the first time [off a layoff]."

John Velazquez rides Timboroa from post 4.

Adding intrigue to the Turf Classic is Ulundi, a jumper from Europe who was fourth in a blanket finish in the Arlington Million. Earlier this year, Ulundi won a Group 2 hurdle race in England.

Pat Eddery rides Ulundi for trainer Paul Webber.

Delta Form, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, shipped in from California for trainer Jenine Sahadi. Sahadi said the Turf Classic is a good test for Delta Form, who is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup and is unlikely to be supplemented.

"I think he is a nice horse," she said. "Where he fits in the whole scheme of things, I'm not really sure."

Whitmore's Conn won the Bowling Green here in July for trainer Randy Schulhofer. The 4-year-old Whitmore's Conn then finished sixth in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga, beaten 3 1/2 lengths.

Schulhofer said Whitmore's Conn would appreciate the return to Belmont.

"Those turns are very sharp at Saratoga," Schulhofer said. "I'm hoping the course will make a little bit of difference."

Man From Wicklow has shown tremendous improvement this year, running big races in the Sword Dancer and Man o' War.

Blazing Fury, Kim Loves Bucky, and Revved Up complete the field.

The Turf Classic will be televised live on NBC at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

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