09/30/2010 2:44PM

Girolamo cutting back for Vosburgh

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Girolamo is the morning-line favorite for Saturday's Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Opportunity knocks for someone in the Vosburgh, which is the first of five straight Grade 1 races on the biggest card of Belmont’s fall meet and the first leg of the pick six.

The nine entrants are winless from 16 collective starts at the Grade 1 level and well removed from the race’s historical Beyer Speed Figure par in excess of 110.

Indeed, morning-line favorite Girolamo has never run as short as six furlongs and has run just twice since winning the one-mile Jerome last October for Godolphin Stable.

Girolamo makes his second start at 4, following an even effort to finish fifth in the Forego – his first start since a last-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He didn’t really run that badly, considering it was a Grade 1 and a tough race off the layoff,” said Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin’s U.S. string for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “That race should have helped him a lot, and he should be fit enough for this race. I think the distance will be fine. He’s got a high cruising speed and shouldn’t really have any excuses in here, if he’s good enough.”

The co-second choices are Driven by Success, a hard-knocking New York-bred who is the only Grade 1-placed member of the field; and Snapshot, whose two best races have come at Belmont, including a second in the True North.

Driven by Success, who has won 3 of 7 starts since given over to Todd Pletcher, is under the gun from the inside post.

“Even though he’s never won a graded stakes, he’s run races that are good enough to win graded stakes,” Pletcher said. “He’s historically not a horse that is great on his first step, so breaking from the rail could potentially be a problem, but we’ll see.”

Snapshot has been freshened by Bill Mott since a fifth in the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder in July.

“One main reason we’re running is our horse ran very well over this track before he went to Calder,” Mott explained. “He ran maybe his all-time best race over this surface. [At Calder,] he was jumping up and down; that track, some horses like it, some don’t. For me, the race is a throw-out because he didn’t run a jump.”

Golden Spikes, Latigo Shore, Riley Tucker, Temecula Creek, Wall Street Wonder, and Wildcat Brief complete the field.