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Woodbine: Belmont's Jamaica may decide Canada's champion 3-year-old
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old male could be decided on foreign soil next Saturday with both Five Iron and Up With the Birds slated to travel to Belmont Park for the Grade 1, $500,000 Jamaica at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Five Iron, a Kentucky-bred, will be seeking his fourth straight stakes win, all at 1 1/8 miles, in the Jamaica.
Trained by Brian Lynch, Five Iron began his streak with a front-running win here in the Victoria Park and continued to employ that style successfully with victories in the Toronto Cup and the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga.
“He’s improving,” said Lynch, who trains the homebred Five Iron for Fred Allor. “I think he’s going into this race better than any other race.”
Up With the Birds, conditioned by Malcolm Pierce, won the Breeders’ Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the last leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, in his last start here Aug. 18.
Up With the Birds captured the open 1 1/16-mile Marine and finished second in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate in his only other starts at the meeting. Up With the Birds also campaigned south of the border earlier this year, winning the Black Gold at the Fair Grounds and ending a close second in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Transylvania.
Both Five Iron and Up With the Birds also are nominated to Saturday’s Hawthorne Derby, which also is a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, offering Grade 3 status and a purse of $200,000.
And while weather could dictate a change in plans, Five Iron and Up With the Birds are scheduled to leave Woodbine for New York on the same van Thursday morning.
“A Grade 1 beside Five Iron’s name would be important,” said Lynch. “He might make a nice little stallion somewhere.”
Pierce expressed similar sentiments.
“To place in a Grade 1 would be big for him,” said Pierce. “To win, even better.”
Gabriel Saez, who was aboard Five Iron for the first time in the Saranac, has the call for the Jamaica.
Pierce has recruited Cornelio Velazquez to ride Up with the Birds, whose regular partner Eurico Rosa Da Silva is scheduled to be at Keeneland next Friday through Sunday to ride in three Grade 1 stakes for trainer Mark Casse.
Da Silva was aboard when Up with the Birds breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 on the training track turf course here Friday morning, going in tandem with stablemate Smartyfly and exercise rider Chris Garraway.
Smartfly won the Wonder Where Stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies here last out. Her next target is the Oct. 12 Carotene, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies which attracted just 11 nominees.
Are You Kidding Me likely for Hawthorne Derby
Are You Kidding Me also is nominated to both the Jamaica and the Hawthorne Derby, but his trainer, Roger Attfield, is leaning toward the Illinois option.
“I don’t know who’s looking to go in there. It’s too early to say,” said Attfield. “I would think it would be a little bit lighter.”
Are You Kidding Me finished second behind Five Iron in the Toronto Cup and then journeyed to Delaware Park to land his first stakes win in the Grade 3 Kent at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.
Lukes Alley, trained here by Josie Carroll, also has been nominated to the Hawthorne Derby.
“It’s one of the options we’re looking at,” said Carroll.
Lukes Alley began his career with a troubled fifth-place finish over six furlongs of Polytrack in June and then won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on turf and a first-level allowance at the same distance om Polytrack.
“I think he’s a legitimate horse,” said Carroll. “When you look at his turf race you might think it was his best surface. But his last race was on a very speed-biased track, and he came from off the pace to win it. That impressed me a lot.”
Da Silva will ride in three Keeneland stakes
Da Silva’s Keeneland mounts are My Conquestadory, in Friday’s $400,000 Alcibiades; Conquest Titan, in next Saturday’s $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity; and Sisterly Love, in next Sunday’s $500,000 Spinster.
My Conquestadory, tuning up for the 1 1/16 mile Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 here Friday morning with Da Silva in the irons while going in company with stablemate Conquest Angel, an unraced 2-year-old filly.
My Conquestadory earned a Win and You’re In berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with her victory in the Grade 3, one-mile Natalma here Sept. 14.
Da Silva also breezed Conquest Titan, who was clocked in 1:01.80 for his five furlongs in company with stablemate Danzig Storm, an unraced 2-year-old colt.
Conquest Titan was a comfortable winner of the seven-furlong Swynford in his second career start here Aug. 24.
Sisterly Love, winner of back-to-back stakes here this year at 1 1/16 miles this year before being upset at that distance in the Belle Mahone, will be looking to rebound in the Grade 1, 1 1/8 mile-Spinster for fillies and mares.
Go Blue or Go Home sharpens for Phoenix
Go Blue or Go Home, tuning up for Friday’s six-furlong Phoenix at Keeneland, breezed five furlongs in a leisurely 1:05 on the training track here Friday under exercise rider Ursula Selby.
“He worked slow, but he had his fast work the other day,” said trainer Reade Baker, who sent out Go Blue or Go Home to breeze five furlongs in 1:01.60 on the main track last Saturday. “He came his last quarter there in 22 and change.”
Go Blue or Go Home won the 5 1/2-furlong Karl Boyes Memorial at Presque Isle and the Grade 3 Highlander here at six furlongs before ending fourth in the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs of turf.
Paco Lopez, who rode Go Blue or Go Home to the Presque isle score, has the call for the Phoenix.
Jose Sea View earns shot at Remsen
Baker was back at Presque Isle on Thursday evening to watch Jose Sea View become a stakes winner in the 6 1/2-furlong Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial, a race for 2-year-olds which was worth $99,500.
Emma-Jayne Wilson, who had piloted Jose Sea View to victory in his six-furlong debut here Aug. 11, made the trip to Presque Isle.
“He’d got loose the other day coming home from the training track,” said Baker here Thursday morning. “He fell and got scraped up, and missed a couple of days of training. That made his race last night all the more impressive.”
Jose Sea View is scheduled to make his next start in Aqueduct’s Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua, a one-mile stakes on Nov. 3.
Baker also reports that Solid Appeal is getting a break at Margaux Farm in Kentucky after finishing eighth of nine as the favorite in the Grade 2 Canadian at 1 1/8 miles on the turf here Sept. 15.
“She’s okay, but she was pretty tired after that last race,” said Baker.
Solid Appeal put together back-to-back Grade 2 turf stakes scores here in the one-mile Nassau and the 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly in her first two starts of the meeting.