07/10/2013 3:30PM

Belmont Park: Optimizer to go long in Man o’ War

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Tom Keyser
Optimizer has won at 1 3/16 miles and will now try the 1 3/8 miles of the Man o’ War.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Coming off a solid second-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, Optimizer is back for a return engagement in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes, the final graded event of the spring/summer meet.

In the Manhattan, Optimizer finished a game second behind heavily favored Point of Entry, who emerged from that race with a hind cannon bone fracture. In his place in the Man o’ War for the Phipps Stable and trainer Shug McGaughey is the improving Boisterous. Others entered in the eight-horse field include Al Khali, Finnegans Wake, Speaking of Which, Twilight Eclipse, Folk Singer, and Exclusive Strike.

Optimizer, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario, will break from the rail.

Optimizer is a five-time winner, having been successful up to 1 3/16 miles in an allowance race at Saratoga last summer. The Man o’ War is run at 1 3/8 miles.

“I think he can run that far,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “That’s always a questionable distance for any horse, but I think he’ll be okay. He’s a very competitive, tough horse, also.”

Though Optimizer has run well on less-than-firm ground, Lukas said he believes the horse is better on firm turf.

The forecast for Saturday calls for dry conditions and less humidity, but thunderstorms – a significant one came through here on Wednesday afternoon – were possible into Thursday.

jttf More than 1 year ago
possible rain tonight and tomorrow. the softer the course the better for optimizer. how the heck did english channel beat european horses by 7 lengths, on that yielding monmouth bog in the breeders cup ?
Bob Fasching More than 1 year ago
Too bad Lukas tried to turn this horse into a Triple Crown horse when it was clear he was a turf horse. He's made it up but makes you wonder what would have been had he not wasted all that time on dirt.
Micahdog More than 1 year ago
Love that Romans taking shot with Finnegans Wake off that 5-18-13 race. Has to be respected. However the price opportunity will be with # 2 SPEAKING OF WHICH. 22.7 inside and moving forward to win. 29.2 outside shedding 4 lbs off last. Won the prep at Monmouth and gateway to big time for balance of year. Last opportunity at decent price. Exacta box with Finnegans Wake. Throw Boisterous and Exclusive Strike in the mix if you dare try a Trifecta attempt. Great Belmont card. 4th Race # 6 Lady's Lunar Luck but no price so skip. 8th Race # 2 Fly Ride and Double 2 - 2 :-). Good luck.
R. Carlos Nanez More than 1 year ago
I keep on saying; what a nice horse Optimizer would be if he was in somebody else hands from the beginning of his career .
D L More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree more!!!!!!!!!!
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
You have to realize the trainer doesn't always make the decisions to run. Yes he would have been a very good horse if he was placed on turf from the beginning. But he's focused on turf now and running very well and with POE hurt he can make some noise