06/08/2016 2:30PM

Belmont undercard stakes attract big fields

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Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Frosted is the tepid 7-2 morning-line favorite among 13 horses entered in the Met Mile.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Thirteen proved to be a lucky number for the New York Racing Association when it came to this year’s Belmont Stakes card.

Not only did 13 enter the Belmont Stakes, but there were 13 entrants each in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, Grade 1 Just a Game, and Grade 2 Woody Stephens, three of the nine supporting stakes on Saturday’s 13-race program at Belmont Park. The Grade 3 Jaipur Invitational drew 14.

The $1.25 million Met Mile drew a wildly competitive field of 13, with Frosted, the runner-up to American Pharoah in last year’s Belmont Stakes, made a tepid 7-2 morning-line favorite. Frosted, who drew post 5, is coming off a fifth-place finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Frosted, said he opted to run in the Met Mile because of the prestige of the race, and he’s hoping for a speed duel to develop so that Frosted can rally from off the pace.

McLaughlin entered two others in the race – Marking and Tamarkuz. Tamarkuz finished fourth behind Honor Code in last year’s Met Mile.

Trainer Todd Pletcher also entered three in the race, led by Stanford, the winner of the Charles Town Classic. He also has Anchor Down, the winner of the Westchester, and Blofeld, the winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Noble Bird, coming off a monster performance in the Pimlico Special, will turn back to a mile for this race. Also entered were El Kabeir, Donworth, Upstart, Ami’s Flatter, Sloane Avenue, and Calculator.

Brown has four in Manhattan

Flintshire, a Group 1 or Grade 1 winner in three countries, heads a field of 11 entered for the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Flintshire, who won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga last year for Andre Fabre, will be making his first start for trainer Chad Brown, who received the horse in March. Brown entered three other horses in the field – Slumber and Big Blue Kitten, who ran one-two in this race last year, and Wake Forest, the winner of the Grade 1 Man o’ War earlier at this meet.

Flintshire will break from post 10, while Slumber and Wake Forest drew posts 2 and 3 and Big Blue Kitten drew post 5.

Others entered are World Approval, Take the Stand, Ironicus, Oathkeeper, Triple Threat, Grand Tito, and Divisidero.

Cathryn Sophia tops Acorn

The Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies drew only a field of six, but it includes Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia, Black-Eyed Susan winner Go Maggie Go, and Eight Belles Stakes winner Carina Mia.

The field also includes Off the Tracks, who was cross-entered in Friday’s Jersey Girl Stakes. By NYRA house rule, Off the Tracks will have to scratch from the Jersey Girl after entering in a race the following day.

Cathryn Sophia, trained by John Servis, is 5 for 6, including a 2 3/4-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks. She will break from post 5.

Go Maggie Go finished fourth in the Oaks and turned around two weeks later to win the Black-Eyed Susan. She drew post 6 in the Acorn.

Carina Mia, who was excluded from the Oaks due to a lack of qualifying points, won the Eight Belles by six lengths on May 6.

Paola Queen and Forever Darling complete the field.

Five Grade 1 winners in Phipps

Curalina, last year’s Acorn winner, is one of five Grade 1 winners entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

Curalina is coming off a 7 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 La Troienne, in which she beat, among others, Sheer Drama, who is back in this field. Curalina drew post 5, while Sheer Drama will break from post 7.

Stopchargingmaria, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner, was beaten a neck by Sheer Drama in the Grade 1 Madison on April 9, her only start this year.

Cavorting, coming off a monster win in the Grade 2 Ruffian, and Forever Unbridled, the winner of the Grade 1 Apple Blossom last out, are the other Grade 1 winners in the field.

Carrumba, a Grade 3 winner, and the seemingly misplaced Desert Valley complete the Phipps field.

Full field in Just a Game

With female turf champion Tepin safely bedded down in England, a full field of 14 was entered for Saturday’s Grade 1, $700,000 Just a Game Stakes at a mile.

Tepin won this race last year and hasn’t lost since, including a victory in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile.

Rainha Da Bateria, who finished second to Tepin that day, is one of two Chad Brown runners entered in this year’s Just a Game. Brown also entered Mrs McDougal, the winner of the Plenty of Grace Stakes in her last start. Mrs McDougal defeated Strike Charmer, who came back to win the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 14. Strike Charmer is back in this field.

The Just a Game field includes Celestine, Lady Lara, and My Miss Sophia from the Bill Mott barn; La Berma and Prize Exhibit for California-based conditioner James Cassidy; Recepta, Faufiler, Irish Rookie, and Lexie Lou.

Baffert has two bullets to fire

Trainer Bob Baffert won’t be participating in this year’s Belmont Stakes, but he has two bullets to fire on the undercard in Justin Squared in the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens and Cupid in the $150,000 Easy Goer.

In the Woody Stephens, at seven furlongs, Baffert sends out the undefeated Justin Squared, who is coming off a win in the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico. He will face Sharp Azteca, who comes off a 2 1/2-length victory in the Pat Day Mile, and 11 others, including I Will Score and Mrazek, the one-two finishers in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera at Santa Anita.

In the Easy Goer, Baffert sends out Cupid, the winner of the Grade 2 Rebel who finished 10th in the Arkansas Derby and came out of that raced needing throat surgery. Cupid will only face four rivals in the Easy Goer – Race Me Home, Rally Cry, Hit It Once More, and Economic Model.

In other stakes:

◗ Rocket Heat, the winner of the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint, drew post 6 in a 14-horse field entered in the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational.

◗ Kid Cruz, the winner of the Grade 3 Excelsior last out, drew post 7 in a field of 10 entered in the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational.