07/04/2013 12:23PM

Belmont Park: Battier faces short field in Dwyer

Tom Keyser
Abraham (center) won his maiden at Gulfstream Park in February and will try for his first stakes win in the Dwyer.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With the top 3-year-olds from the Triple Crown season still on hiatus, Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park affords six late developers the opportunity to win a graded event.

Battier, who began his career in a maiden $25,000 claimer at Parx Racing last fall, is the only stakes winner in the Dwyer field, having won the restricted Fit to Fight Stakes at Aqueduct in April. After that race, a majority interest in the Tale of the Cat colt was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and the horse was turned over to trainer Todd Pletcher.

After scratching out of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes on May 11, Battier ran in the seven-furlong Gygistar Stakes on May 22, finishing third, 1 1/4 lengths behind winner Declan’s Warrior. The Dwyer is run at 1 1/16 miles.

“I thought it was a good effort,” Pletcher said of the colt’s recent loss. “He’s versatile enough to handle a variety of distances. This would probably be more to his liking.”

Battier will break from the rail in the Dwyer, but Pletcher is hoping the speedy Moreno in post two will clear him early and give John Velazquez the opportunity to get Battier off the inside early.

Saint Vigeur is another who has a little early speed and looks like one of the main contenders in this compact field. Saint Vigeur, a son of Smart Strike, won two straight races this year – both with blinkers added – before finishing a well-beaten second to Freedom Child in the Grade 2 Peter Pan.

Some consideration was given to running Saint Vigeur in the Belmont Stakes, but he developed a quarter crack and missed some training.

“He’s a real tryer, this horse,” said Chad Brown, who trains Saint Vigeur for Mr. and Mrs. William Warren. “His best days are probably ahead of him. He’s a big horse. He had to overcome some growing pains and behavioral issues when he was younger. We focused him up with the blinkers a bit, and overall racing experience helped this horse continue to get better and develop.”

Javier Castellano, the meet’s leading rider, will ride Saint Vigeur from post 3.

Abraham, also trained by Pletcher, was a supplement to the Dwyer. Pletcher was looking for an allowance race for Abraham, fourth as the favorite in the Peter Pan, but could not find one that filled.

“He was running well without delivering any huge performances,” Pletcher said. “He’s acted like one of these is within his reach.”

Make Your Move has been in good form this spring, winning three of his last four starts, albeit in claiming and starter-allowance races. He figures to be doing his best running late in the race and would benefit from a strong early pace. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides.

For Greater Glory ships in for trainer Steve Hobby following a second-place finish in a June 2 allowance race at Churchill.