Chilean star makes U.S. debut
ELMONT, N.Y. – Fourteen years ago, trainer Todd Pletcher took a horse that was a Group 1 winner in Chile and developed him into a Grade 1 winner in North America.
Pletcher can only hope he has as much success with Big Daddy as he had with Host. Big Daddy, a Chilean-bred who won multiple Group 1 races in Chile, makes his North American debut Thursday in a high-class allowance race going one mile on dirt at Belmont Park.
Unlike Host, who won the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile in 2005, Big Daddy is a dirt horse. In Chile, he won 7 of 9 dirt starts, including the 2000 Guineas at Hipódromo Chile, a race which, coincidentally, Host also won.
“I’ve seen some of his races, very impressive,” Pletcher said of Big Daddy. “The way he’s trained here he seems like a high-quality horse.”
Pletcher said Big Daddy came to him in April at Palm Beach Downs. He began working in July at Saratoga and shows 11 breezes leading into this spot. His final work was a best-of-43 half-mile breeze in 48.68 seconds over the Belmont training track on Oct. 6.
“He’s been a pleasure to be around,” Pletcher said. “So far, very professional, trained very well, and has done everything right.”
Pletcher also has Vulcan’s Forge entered in this spot. Pletcher had entered Vulcan’s Forge as a main track-only entrant in Monday’s Grade 2 Knickerbocker Stakes, hoping that race would come off the turf, but despite heavy rain Monday, it was run on the grass.
Economic Model, Touchofstarquality, and Backsideofthemoon are other contenders in this spot.
Ocean Knight will scratch from Thursday’s allowance to run in a turf allowance on Friday.
Big Daddy, by Grand Daddy
◗ Appears to be training with a purpose for U.S. debut, which will come with Lasix for the first time.
◗ On Sept. 23, he fired a bullet work in company with Biblical, who came out of that work to finish third in a 2-year-old maiden race.
Economic Model, by Flatter Last 3 Beyers: 89-96-97
◗ Winless in seven starts since taking the Easy Goer Stakes here in June of 2016.
◗ Comes off a sixth-place finish as the favorite in a similar spot at Saratoga, but now gets back to Belmont, where he has done his best work.
Backsideofthemoon, by Malibu Moon Last 3 Beyers: 92-89-89
◗ Had the lead in midstretch, but dropped a neck decision to Securitiz in the Seattle Slew Stakes here on Sept. 9.
◗ Blew out a half-mile in 50.22 seconds Monday morning over a muddy Belmont main track.
Vulcan’s Forge, by Giant’s Causeway Last 3 Beyers: 93-86-76
◗ His two best races have come at Belmont Park, including a three-length win in a third-level allowance race going a mile here on Sept. 15.