06/27/2011 3:49PM

Belmont Park: Bold Warrior looks like the choice


ELMONT, N.Y. – Three optional claiming races and the first turf sprint of the season for 2-year-olds are on tap as a six-day holiday week gets under way Wednesday.

Bold Warrior, an up-and-coming 3-year-old who was scratched from the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes day, will break from the outside in a field of five and looms a prohibitive choice in race 3, a $52,000 sprint at seven furlongs with first-level allowance conditions.

“He’s a big figure man – he wanted to put him in and take a look,” said trainer Allen Jerkens of Irving Cowan, who bred and owns Bold Warrior as well as dam Hollywood Wildcat, the champion 3-year-old filly of 1993, who has produced several stakes winners, including Breeders’ Cup Mile winner War Chant.

Bold Warrior likely would have made his presence felt in the Woody Stephens, given that the winner earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96, just four points higher than Bold Warrior’s maiden victory as a second-time starter at odds of 2-5.

“You always have hope when you have one bred like this,” said Jerkens of Bold Warrior, a Bernardini colt.

Darley Stable’s Mysticism, idle 11 weeks since a front-running maiden win at Gulfstream Park for Tom Albertrani, is the one to catch.

Cat Sweep, Sam Sparkle, and Settle for Medal also entered.

Two-year-old turf sprinters kick off the late pick four in race 6, a $60,000 maiden special-weight scheduled for six furlongs on the Widener course.

The Bill Mott-trained entry of Alaura Michele and Anna Sophia is pegged as a lukewarm 3-1 favorite over nine other fillies.

Among them is Isra, a half-sister to two-time Diana Stakes winner and $2.9 million earner Forever Together.

Earlier this month, Isra turned in a series of progressively faster workouts at Fair Hill for trainer Mark Shuman.

Cheyenne Nation, a wide-rallying fourth in a super key race at Gulfstream in his only start this year for Chad Brown, returns to the scene of his maiden victory in race 7, a $53,000 route scheduled for 10 furlongs on the inner turf.

Cheyenne Nation may be a slight choice over Eternal Ruler, who lacked room into the stretch and finished strongly in his U.S. debut for trainer Bobby Ribaudo on Belmont Stakes Day.

Sky Blazer, whose maiden win came at the expense of Hill Prince winner Street Game, makes his second start at the meet for Barclay Tagg.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Writingonthewall appears loose on the lead against five rivals in race 8, a $55,000 route at 1 1/16 miles out of the main track chute.