Updated on 09/05/2013 4:49PM

Belmont Park: Bowling Green puts Boisterous back on favorite turf course


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ELMONT, N.Y. – As hard as it may seem to believe, not everybody enjoys Saratoga.

Based on two poor performances in the Sword Dancer Invitational sandwiched around a poor effort in last year’s Arlington Million after training in Saratoga, trainer Shug McGaughey has deduced that Boisterous is not a fan of the Spa.

At Belmont Park, however, Boisterous is a terror, winning 6 of 9 career starts, including the Grade 1 Man o’ War here in July. Saturday, following the summer season at Saratoga, racing returns to Belmont Park, where Boisterous will be heavily favored to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Bowling Green Handicap, the featured event on the 10-race opening-day card.

Boisterous will meet only five rivals in the Bowling Green, scheduled for 1 1/4 miles over the inner turf course.

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After winning the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes in June and the Man o’ War in July, Boisterous was the 9-5 favorite in a field of 12 in the Sword Dancer on Aug. 17. He finished eighth, beaten 7 1/4 lengths by Big Blue Kitten, whom he defeated in the Monmouth Stakes. McGaughey shipped Boisterous back to Belmont almost immediately.

“Complete turnaround,” McGaughey said. “I wasn’t pleased with the way he was training [in Saratoga]. Hopefully, he’ll run good in the Bowling Green. If he doesn’t, then that throws my whole theory out the window.”

John Velazquez is named to ride Boisterous from the rail under high weight of 122 pounds.

There is little to no early speed in the Bowling Green. Stretching out to 1 1/4 miles off a one-mile allowance win last month, Farhaan could be the one to set the early pace in the Bowling Green.

Away from the races for a year due to bone bruising, Farhaan won a second-level allowance race by a nose from off the pace at Saratoga on Aug. 15.

“He just was slow to get going out of the gate last time. He will probably break a lot better this time,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Thursday morning at Belmont. “He’s easy to ride. I think he could be forwardly placed.”

Junior Alvarado rides Farhaan from post 5.

Hyper, the second choice at 5-2 on the morning line, comes off a win in the restricted John’s Call Stakes going 1 5/8 miles at Saratoga.

Three starts back, at Belmont Park, Hyper finished second to Teaks North in a 1 1/4-mile overnight stakes in which Hyper had a difficult trip in the stretch. He came back to run second to upset winner London Lane in the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs with a six-wide trip.

London Lane ran sixth at 40-1 in the Sword Dancer and is back in this spot with Jose Ortiz replacing Horacio Karamanos.

Quick Casablanca, third in the John’s Call, and Finnegans Wake, fourth in the Manhattan, Man o’ War, and Arlington Million in his last three starts, complete the field.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Bowling Green is a Grade 3 race. It is a Grade 2.