05/20/2013 2:28PM

Belmont Park: Battier, Declan’s Warrior to meet in Gygistar Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Declan’s Warrior took advantage of a hot early pace to win the Grade 3 Bay Shore at seven furlongs on April 6.

ELMONT, N.Y. – For the second time in 12 days, Battier and Declan’s Warrior are entered in the same race, but their connections have different paths mapped out for their 3-year-olds moving forward.

Battier and Declan’s Warrior head a field of five entered in Wednesday’s seven-furlong, $85,000 Gygistar Stakes at Belmont Park. The Gygistar, was originally in the condition book for May 15 at 7 1/2 furlongs but did not have enough entries to be carded. The Gygistar, which goes as race 2, is not part of Wednesday’s pick six, which begins with a $30,513 carryover.

Battier, now in the barn of Todd Pletcher, is using this as a possible prep for the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer on July 6. Declan’s Warrior, the Grade 3 Bay Shore winner, is hoping to make the Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens on June 8.

Battier, a son of Tale of the Cat, has won 4 of 6 starts, including the Fit to Fight, a one-mile overnight stakes on April 7 at Aqueduct. After that, he was purchased privately by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and turned over to Pletcher. He was scratched out of the Peter Pan because his connections were looking for an easier spot.

“We just felt that this might be a little more logical progression for him as opposed to jumping in the Peter Pan,” Pletcher said Monday. “I’m not sure what his optimum distance will be yet. He’s a pretty forward-training horse that’s pretty enthusiastic. I think the key to stretching him out will be how he learns to relax.”

The last time he sprinted, Battier won a starter allowance at Parx on New Year’s Day in front-running fashion for trainer Pablo Andrade.

Battier will break from the rail under Joel Rosario.

Declan’s Warrior, a son of Majestic Warrior, took advantage of a hot early pace to get up over Clearly Now in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at seven furlongs on April 6. Though the pace Wednesday is unlikely to be as fast as in the Bay Shore, trainer Nick Zito said he thinks his horse may simply be good enough to overcome it.

“His running style, it’s obvious it looks like he wants a quick pace,” Zito said. “He has a lot of ability. I’m excited about running him.’

Declan’s Warrior is drawn nicely in the outside under Jose Lezcano.

Tenango, a son of Lion Heart, won a starter allowance by 12 3/4 lengths going a mile at Belmont on May 9. His owner, Larry Roman, has not ruled out the Belmont Stakes for this gelding but wants to see how he runs Wednesday before deciding. David Cohen rides from post 3.

The last time Happy My Way raced at Belmont, he won a maiden $65,000 claimer sprinting on the front end. He has since won an allowance race at Gulfstream and finished last in the Big Drama Stakes at Calder.

Duke of the City won a first-level allowance at Pimlico going 1 1/16 miles on April 14 for trainer Kelly Breen.