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Belmont: Man o' War works out well as back-up plan for Newsdad
ELMONT, N.Y. – It’s always nice to have a Plan B as lucrative as the Man o’ War Stakes.
Trainer Bill Mott had planned to bring Newsdad back to the races off a two-month layoff in the $200,000 Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine on July 1. But the horse sustained a cut near his eye on the ship from New York to Canada and was scratched from the 1 1/4-mile race on Polytrack.
Saturday, Newsdad, away from the races since finishing fifth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland on April 27, is back on the turf in the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Man o’ War, scheduled for 1 3/8 miles on the Widener turf, is the last graded event of the Belmont spring/summer meet. Racing on this circuit moves to Saratoga on July 20.
Prior to the Elkhorn, Newsdad was in excellent form. He raced four times at Gulfstream during the winter, winning a second-level allowance in his second race at the south Florida track. He was defeated a nose by Simmard in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida before winning the Grade 2 Pan American.
Mott said he believes Newsdad’s rigorous winter schedule may have caught up to him in the Elkhorn.
“He had run a bunch of times at Gulfstream and he finally tailed off,” said Mott, who trains Newsdad for James Karp. “We gave him some time and he looks great.”
Newsdad is one of four horses in the Man o’ War who participated in the Elkhorn. Point of Entry, who won the Elkhorn, makes his first start since then. Elkhorn runner-up Tahoe Lake and Center Divider also come out of that race.
Well, Center Divider didn’t actually run in the Elkhorn. He stumbled at the break, tossing jockey Robby Albarado and he ran loose for a while before being caught.
“He got banged up on his knee a little bit, but we have him back and he looks good,” trainer Chad Brown said. “Coming off a layoff and going that far in a Grade 1 is a lot to ask but we think we can get a piece of this thing and this should set him up well for Saratoga.”
Brown had been pointing Manhattan Handicap winner Desert Blanc to the Man o’ War, but that horse was recently retired with a tendon injury.
Treasure Beach, who won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington last summer, arrived in New York from Ireland late Tuesday. He is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who won last year’s Man o’ War with Cape Blanco.
Jamie Spencer will be here to ride Treasure Beach, who is winless in two starts this year.
Treasure Beach will be the only horse to have the same rider on his back from his previous race. There are eight locally based riders out of town Saturday, which accounts for the bevy of rider changes for the Man o’ War.
From the rail out, the field is: Tahoe Lake (Eddie Castro), Center Divider (Rosie Napravnik), Point of Entry (Jose Lezcano), Newsdad (Junior Alvarado), Treasure Beach (Spencer), Game Ball (David Cohen), Hudson Steele (Joe Bravo), and Philly Ace (Irad Ortiz Jr.).
Undefeated champions on comeback trail
Among the bevy of talent that will be stabled at Saratoga this summer are the last two champion juvenile fillies, who have combined to go 13 for 13 in their careers. Both put in workouts recently as they attempt to make it back to the races, likely during the course of the Saratoga meet.
Awesome Feather, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2010 who is 9 for 9, worked three furlongs in 37.12 seconds on Tuesday over the Oklahoma training track.
My Miss Aurelia, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2011 who is 4 for 4, worked five furlongs in 1:03.60 on Monday over the Oklahoma training track.
Awesome Feather has not raced since winning the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream on Jan. 28. She was sidelined beginning in late March with a physical issue unrelated to the tendon problem that interrupted the majority of her 3-year-old campaign.
Trainer Chad Brown said the work was the first step on the trail that he hopes ends with a start in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
“I thought she moved extremely well, galloped out super, and came back perfect,” Brown said Wednesday. “It’s the same plan of action – one work at a time, one day at a time, monitor her closely and try to train her toward another race. I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far.”
Brown said it was possible that Awesome Feather could make a start at Saratoga.
Meanwhile, a Saratoga return has been the goal for My Miss Aurelia since she was forced to miss the early part of her 3-year-old season with a shin injury.
My Miss Aurelia went 2 for 2 at Saratoga last summer, winning a maiden race and the Grade 2 Adirondack. She would go on take the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill.
Monday’s work was My Miss Aurelia’s seventh move since rejoining trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn at Churchill in the spring.
The Grade 1 Prioress at six furlongs on Aug. 4 or the Grade 1 Test at seven furlongs on Aug. 25 are possible objectives for My Miss Aurelia.
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