07/12/2012 3:59PM

Belmont Park: Treasure Beach tries to give O'Brien a Man o' War repeat

Four-Footed Fotos
Treasure Beach wins the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington last summer. Treasure Beach is back in the United States for Saturday’s Man o’ War.

ELMONT, N.Y. – A year after winning the Grade 1 Man o’ War at Belmont Park with Cape Blanco, trainer Aidan O’Brien has sent the multiple Group 1/Grade 1 winner Treasure Beach to New York for Saturday’s renewal of the $600,000 Man o’ War.

Treasure Beach is the only Grade 1 winner among the eight horses entered in the Man o’ War, scheduled for 1 3/8 miles over the Widener turf course and the last graded stakes to be run at Belmont this meet. The field includes Grade 2 winners Point of Entry, Hudson Steele, and Newsdad.

Based at O’Brien’s Ballydoyle training yard in Ireland, Treasure Beach has already made road trips to Dubai and Hong Kong in 2012 before returning to the United States, where last August he won the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park.

Treasure Beach, a son of Galileo, ran a respectable fourth in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, before finishing ninth in the Group 1 Piquet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.

T.J. Comerford, who has traveled to New York with Treasure Beach, said the combination of a difficult trip from Ireland to Hong Kong as well as yielding ground and a wide trip may have compromised Treasure Beach’s performance that day.

“We got delayed on the way to Hong Kong and that might have upset his routine a bit,” Comerford said. “He didn’t have a great run in Hong Kong, but still at the same time the horse that finished just beside him [Chinchon] came out and won [a Group 1] at Singapore the next time. So it might not have been a bad run after all, and he was drawn very wide in Hong Kong, so it was very hard to have everything right for him on the day.”

Comerford said that Treasure Beach shipped to New York very well and added, “He’s probably in as good a shape here as he’s ever been.”

Treasure Beach has run very well on firm ground, winning the Group 3 Chester Vase in May 2011 and running second in last year’s Irish Derby.

“He’s probably better on quicker ground than yielding ground,” Comerford said.

Jamie Spencer, regular rider of Cape Blanco, has the ride on Treasure Beach.

Point of Entry brings a two-race winning streak into the Man o’ War, having won twice in a 15-day span in April at Keeneland, capped by a victory in the Grade 2 Elkhorn.

Point of Entry has three wins from five starts since trainer Shug McGaughey added blinkers to his equipment. McGaughey believes other factors have played a bigger role in the 4-year-old Dynaformer colt’s success.

“Getting him stretched out and letting him sort of mature,” McGaughey said. “He’s a great big Dynaformer.”

Hudson Steele won the Grade 2 Dixie from just off the pace at 1 1/8 miles before finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan at 1 1/4 miles. He was on the lead in the Manhattan and may prefer to have a target.

There is not much speed in this race, however, so finding something to run at could be problematic. Joe Bravo rides for Todd Pletcher, a combination that is 3 for 4 in the last month in graded stakes.

Philly Ace, a miler stretching out, and Newsdad, who set a slow pace in the Elkhorn, could possibly try for the early lead.

Tahoe Lake, Center Divider, and Game Ball complete the field.