07/08/2011 4:16PM

Belmont Park: Beau Choix's rail-skimming win may earn him shot at Saratoga stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Beau Choix may be a good fit for the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga in late August.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Barclay Tagg wanted Beau Choix ridden a certain way in Thursday’s Rob N Gin Stakes at Belmont Park and was prepared to take the blame if it didn’t work out.

It worked out just fine as Beau Choix rallied along the rail to get a nose victory over Pocket Cowboys in the $60,000 Rob N’ Gin, perhaps setting up Beau Choix for a graded stakes opportunity during the upcoming Saratoga meet. While Tagg said he believes the Grade 2 Fourstardave on July 31 might be back too quick, a race such as the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch on Aug. 26 might be ideal. The only question about that race is the 1 1/8-mile distance.

Tagg noted that Beau Choix’s best Beyer Speed Figure (94) came in the Restoration Stakes going 1 1/8 miles at Monmouth Park when he was second to Teaks North, who captured his second Grade 1 stakes of the year in last weekend’s United Nations at Monmouth.

On Friday morning, Tagg was still beaming over Beau Choix’s victory from the previous day. After watching Beau Choix get wide trips in multiple races, Tagg instructed Ramon Dominguez to get the horse to the rail as early as he could and never leave. Dominguez rode to instructions, getting Beau Choix from post 5 to the inside soon after the start. In the stretch, Dominguez waited patiently for an opening, and when he got it at around the eighth pole, he guided Beau Choix on through and he was able to get the victory over Pocket Cowboys.

The win was the fifth from 14 starts for Beau Choix, who as a 3-year-old won the James Murphy Stakes at Pimlico and the Quick Call at Saratoga, both at a mile.

“He’d been losing ground in all his races,’’ Tagg said. “I was very discouraged because I think he’s a pretty good horse, but when they’re five wide every race you don’t know whether it’s [ability] or if they can’t handle the extra distance they’re wasting. I just said to Ramon `I’d like you to just take him over and get on the rail and just stay there, if he gets beat it’ll be my fault.’ ’’

Beau Choix earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

While Tagg will likely wait until the end of the Saratoga meet to run Beau Choix back, he is leaning toward bringing Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town back to the races in the James Marvin Stakes on opening day (July 22) as a prep for the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 3. Jersey Town has not run since upsetting the Cigar Mile at odds of 34-1 last Nov. 27, but recently worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds, the fastest of 10 at the distance.

Bold Warrior to stretch out

The royally-bred Bold Warrior, who won a first-level allowance race going seven furlongs on June 29, will likely make his next start around two turns, Hall of fame trainer Allen Jerkens said Friday. One possibility is the $75,000 Curlin Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga on July 29.

“I think he’ll stretch out, he doesn’t mind training,’’ Jerkens said. “He seems like he’s a nice horse. He finished good, he ran every time he asked him to run.’’

Bold Warrior is by Bernardini out of the champion 3-year-old filly of 1993, Hollywood Wildcat, making him a half-brother to the stakes winner War Chant. After getting beat by Global Power in his debut on April 30, Bold Warrior came back on May 21 to win a six-furlong maiden race by three lengths before taking the seven-furlong first-level allowance race by 3 1/4 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

‘You can’t knock the race, it’s as nice as you’d like to see,’’ Jerkens said.

Contessa has two for New York Derby

By virtue of his victory in the Mike Lee Stakes on June 26, Preachintothedevil became eligible for the $100,000 bonus that goes to the connections of any horse who can sweep the Big Apple Triple, a series that continues with next Saturday’s $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes and concludes with the $100,000 Albany Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25.

Preachintothedevil’s biggest threat for the New York Derby may reside in his own barn. Socialsaul, who like Preachintothedevil is trained by Gary Contessa, is also being pointed to the New York Derby. A son of Read the Footnotes Socialsaul has won two straight races, both at a mile, over Belmont’s main track. He won a maiden race by 3 1/4 lengths on June 2 and came back to win a first-level allowance race by 4 1/4 on June 25, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 92 in the second race.

“The way I look at is if I didn’t train Socialsaul I’d have to beat him anyway,’’ said Contessa, who trains Preachintothedevil for Crossed Sabres Farm and Socialsaul for Samotowka Stables. “I’d like to win the Big Apple Triple, but I got to give [Socialsaul] a chance.’’

◗ Following Sunday’s program, Belmont will end its spring/summer meet with a four-day week beginning Thursday.