09/27/2009 11:00PM

Dry Martini on right track

Email
Susie Raisher/NYRA
Dry Martini comes from off the pace to win the Suburban, defeating Asiatic Boy.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The connections of Dry Martini are hoping the affinity the 6-year-old gelding showed for Belmont Park's main track in the spring and summer is evident again this weekend when he runs in the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Dry Martini recorded back-to-back victories over this track, winning the three-horse Three Coins Up Stakes in May before rallying from well off the pace to win the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap over fellow Gold Cup hopeful Asiatic Boy on July 4. Dry Martini came back in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga, where he finished fifth of six, beaten 8 1/2 lengths by Bullsbay.

"He likes this track," Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg, said about Belmont. "For whatever reason, he didn't like Saratoga, and he didn't like Saratoga two years ago when we ran him in the Whitney. We won't make that mistake again with him if he's still running next year."

Monday morning, Dry Martini completed his preparations for the Gold Cup by working five furlongs in 1:01.70 over the wet main track labeled good. He went off in fractions of 25.14 and 37.14 seconds and came home in 24.56. He did not gallop out.

"He did it the right way," Smullen said. "He kept chugging along. It was a lot deeper than I thought it was going to be. Still, I think if you're going to run on the big track, you should breeze on the big track."

In addition to the track, Smullen is hopeful that the Gold Cup could set up for Dry Martini's late run as well. In Summer Bird, Quality Road, and Tizway, Smullen believes there will be ample pace up front for Dry Martini and Macho Again, the runner-up to Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 1 Woodward.

"I don't think anybody is going to let anybody else get away," Smullen said. "If the speed comes back at all, Macho Again and us will make our moves and we'll see."

Mott eyes big weekend

Trainer Bill Mott will have one favorite and two intriguing longshots to run in Saturday's Grade 1 stakes events here.

In the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, Mott will send out Dynaforce, who won this race last year and who comes off a solid 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 8. The Beverly D. was just the third start of the year for Dynaforce, a 6-year-old daughter of Dynaformer.

"We got a late start," Mott said Monday morning in his Belmont Park barn office. "They gave her a lot of time over the winter and we got her in the barn a little late. It was by design to have her ready a little later in the year, and so far it has worked out okay."

In the Flower Bowl, Dynaforce is expected to face Carribean Sunset, Criticism, Leamington, Lemonette, Monycantbuymelove, Pure Clan, and Queen of Hearts. Beauty O' Gwaun is possible.

In the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Mott plans to run the 3-year-old Al Khali against the likes of older Grade 1 winners Gio Ponti, Better Talk Now, Grand Couturier, Presious Passion, and Telling. Al Khali won the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga going 1 3/16 miles last out, and Mott is hopeful that the horse will like the 1 1/2 miles of the Joe Hirsch.

"He gives me that impression," Mott said. "He's a big, long-striding horse. That doesn't make him do it I guess, but it might be worth a try."

Mott could wait a week and run Al Khali in the Grade 1 Jamaica here on Oct. 10, but he has Courageous Cat for that spot.

"I'd like to keep them separated if I can," Mott said.

Though Sette E Mezzo has done his best work on turf, Mott plans on giving the 4-year-old Dynaformer colt a chance to succeed on dirt in the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup. All three of Sette E Mezzo's wins have come on turf. The only time he ran on dirt was in a seven-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream in the spring of his 3-year-old season where he finished third to the promising Biker Boy.

"It probably wasn't his best distance, but he ran pretty well," Mott said. "The only thing he hasn't relished is the Polytrack. Obviously, there's a question about the distance, mainly because he hasn't been that trip on the grass yet. But he stayed on well in the Bernard Baruch. He wasn't giving anything up."

Sette E Mezzo finished third behind Justenuffhumor and Cowboy Cal in the Bernard Baruch.

Cocoa Beach headed to California

Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Stable will seek a second straight victory in the Grade 1 Beldame on Saturday, but their mare Cocoa Beach will not.

Godolphin will run Ballerina winner Music Note in Saturday's Beldame, while Cocoa Beach, who upset Ginger Punch in this race last year, will head west to take on the undefeated Zenyatta in a the Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 10. Cocoa Beach finished second to Zenyatta in last year's Ladies' Classic.

Cocoa Beach will head to Southern California next week on a flight from New York that is also expected to include Breeders' Cup candidates Seventh Street and Sara Louise (both for the Filly and Mare Sprint); Pyro (BC Dirt Mile), Gayego (Ancient Title), and possibly Midshipman, whose plans remain in flux.

Music Note, who is 4 for 6 at Belmont, is coming off a 5 1/4-length romp in the Ballerina that looked even better when the Ballerina runner-up, Indian Blessing, came back to win Saturday's Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, albeit at the expense of Sara Louise. Informed Decision, third in the Ballerina, came back to win the Presque Isle Downs Masters.

Music Note will have to tackle Icon Project in the Beldame. Icon Project is coming off a 13 1/2-length romp in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign. Swift Temper, second to Icon Project that day, won the Grade 1 Ruffian here on Sept. 12.

Others expected for the Beldame include California shipper Briecat, Copper State, and Unbridled Belle. Captain's Lover and Morena are possible.

On Sunday, Icon Project worked a half-mile at Calder in 51.80 seconds.

Any Limit likely to be retired

Any Limit, who finished last in Saturday's Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, will most likely be retired, trainer Allen Jerkens said Monday.

Jerkens said while Any Limit came out of the race in good order, he just doesn't believe it to be the right thing to do to run her again after such a poor showing. Any Limit was basically eased, beaten 45 1/4 lengths.

"She didn't have to win, but she's never done that," Jerkens said.

Any Limit, a daughter of Limit Out, had a record of 9-3-5 from 28 career starts. She won five graded stakes including the Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream twice, the First Flight, First Lad,y and Honorable Miss. She earned $659,768 for owner Jerry Shields.