Texas Red back from injur y in Dwyer
When Texas Red boarded a Tex Sutton flight Wednesday bound for New York from Southern California, he had just a one-way ticket.
The California-based Texas Red, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner who missed this year’s Triple Crown series due to a foot injury, will call New York home for at least the next two months, trainer Keith Desormeaux said Wednesday. He’ll attempt to jump-start his career in Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park, with the ultimate summer objective being the $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
Texas Red drew post 4 in a seven-horse field for the Dwyer, which has been shortened to a one-turn mile this year after typically being run at 1 1/16 miles since 1994.
“It seems like the best way to bring these horses around is to give them some sort of sprint first time back,” said Desormeaux, explaining his rationale for choosing the Dwyer Stakes. “With our ambition of getting him to the Travers, this seemed like a logical spot.”
After his 6 1/2-length victory in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Texas Red seemed like a logical contender for the 2015 Kentucky Derby and the remainder of the Triple Crown races. But following a neck defeat in the seven-furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita in February, Texas Red developed a foot abscess that didn’t heal in time to make those races. He was given ample time to recover and to be trained for a summer and fall campaign.
“I’m the type of guy that will always say I need a race,” Desormeaux said. “I just don’t drill a horse in the morning. With that being said, I’ve done a little bit more with this one. I think he’s fit enough to win off the layoff.”
Texas Red will face Blofeld and Tommy Macho – both from the Todd Pletcher barn – as well as Speightster, Smart Transition, Bridget’s Big Luvy, and Hollywood Angel.
Tonalist drops blinkers for Suburban
After watching Tonalist lose the Jim Dandy and Travers stakes last summer at Saratoga, trainer Christophe Clement removed the blinkers from the colt’s equipment, and Tonalist responded with a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, a 1 1/4-mile race at Belmont Park.
Clement will hope for a similar result in Saturday’s $500,000 Suburban Handicap, in which he again removes the blinkers from Tonalist’s equipment in a 1 1/4-mile race at Belmont.
“The blinkers were to get him sharper for the Westchester and the Met Mile, and now we’re going to go farther,” Clement said. “I don’t think we need the blinkers.”
Tonalist drew post 6 in the Suburban and will face Brooklyn winner Coach Inge, recent allowance winner Mylute, Excelsior winner Effinex, Street Babe, and Neck ‘n Neck.
Private Zone in Sprint Championship
Private Zone, who has won three Grade 1 races in New York, drew post 3 and heads an eight-horse field in Saturday’s Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship at seven furlongs.
Private Zone is coming off a third-place finish behind Honor Code and Tonalist in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. Two starts back, he won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs. In three previous trips to New York, Private Zone has won back-to-back runnings of the Grade 1 Vosburgh at six furlongs and the Grade 1 Cigar Mile last fall at Aqueduct.
His competition Saturday will include Grade 1 King’s Bishop winner The Big Beast, who drew post 2, and Clearly Now, last year’s Belmont Sprint Championship winner, who will break from post 5.
The rest of the field consists of Bay of Plenty, Green Gratto, Stallwalkin’ Dude, C. Zee, and Moonlight Song.
Promise Me Silver, who suffered her first defeat in nine lifetime starts when she finished 10th in the Grade 1 Acorn last month, will break from the rail in a field of six entered for Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Promise Me Silver had won seven stakes, including the Grade 3 Eight Belles, before getting used up in a pace battle in the Acorn. She will be reunited with Robby Albarado, aboard for three of her previous victories.
Outside of Promise Me Silver will be Enchanting Lady, Super Saks, Kathballu, Irish Jasper, and Miss Ella.
Los Alamitos Derby: Gimme Da Lute returns
Gimme Da Lute, who won the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita on June 7, will try to give trainer Bob Baffert another good payday Saturday in the Grade 2, $350,000 Los Alamitos Derby.
The Los Alamitos Derby will be the first start for Gimme Da Lute at 1 1/8 miles. The colt has won 3 of 6 starts and earned $247,560 for owners and breeders Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.
The Affirmed Stakes at 1 1/16 miles was Gimme Da Lute’s second stakes win, preceded by the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for California-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 4. In between, Gimme Da Lute was third in both the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on May 2 and the Chick Lang Stakes at six furlongs at Pimlico on May 16.
“We’re all in the same boat,” Baffert said of the distance test. “There’s only one way to find out. We’ve got a fast horse.”
The Los Alamitos Derby field is led by Kentuckian, who won the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita on May 10, and Prospect Park, second to Gimme Da Lute in the Affirmed.