Batten Down to target G1 Belmont Stakes as part of talented BSRF contingent for HOF trainer Bill Mott
May 22, 2024
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Batten Down to target G1 Belmont Stakes as part of talented BSRF contingent for HOF trainer Bill Mott

by NYRA Press Ofiice

  • Batten Down to target G1 Belmont Stakes as part of talented BSRF contingent for HOF trainer Bill Mott
  • Kentucky Derby-winner Mystik Dan settles in at Saratoga; Kentucky Oaks-winner Thorpedo Anna on the work tab
  • Aspen Grove points to G1 New York
  • Dominant marathoner Next to shorten up in G2 Suburban or G2 Brooklyn
  • Atras newcomers Flying Connection, Masqueparade under consideration for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival
  • Dornoch looks to G1 Belmont Stakes; options aplenty for Society Man
  • Donegal Momentum earns 92 BSF on debut

Juddmonte’s Kentucky homebred Batten Down is the latest addition to the prospective field for the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets as Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott confirmed the son of Tapit has his sights set on the 10-furlong test slated for June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

“I am,” said Mott when asked if he is considering the Belmont Stakes. “I don’t know if he’ll get in or not – he’s only broken his maiden.”

Batten Down was an eye-catching winner at fourth asking in an April 30 maiden special weight going the Belmont distance against elders at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Junior Alvarado, Batten Down went straight to the lead and never looked back, widening his advantage at every point of call to draw off to an 8 3/4-length victory in a final time of 2:02.49. He was awarded a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.

“It was a spectacular ride by Junior Alvarado,” said Mott. “We were pleased to find out he handled the distance good.”

Batten Down has improved with more ground in each start, as would be expected with his pedigree. Out of multiple Grade 1-winner and 2014 Champion Older Mare Close Hatches, Batten Down is a full-brother to the Mott-trained Tacitus, who finished second in the 2019 Belmont Stakes at its traditional 1 1/2-mile distance and won the 10-furlong Grade 2 Suburban as a 4-year-old.

Batten Down finished sixth on debut sprinting seven furlongs in January, but was defeated a neck in his next start when stretched out to nine furlongs. He then finished a close third with stalking tactics when traveling 1 1/16 miles ahead of his breakthrough score in his farthest test to date.

Mott said he expects another prominent trip in the Belmont.

“He’ll be in with a different group of horses, but the pace is usually different going a mile and a quarter than a mile and a sixteenth, so that leaves him closer [in longer routes] than the other types of races,” said Mott.

Batten Down worked Monday over Saratoga Race Course’s Oklahoma dirt training track, covering five-eighths in 1:02.55 with Alvarado at the helm.

“It was beautiful, and Junior worked him like poetry in motion. It was a beautiful piece of work,” said Mott.

In addition to Batten Down, among those currently under consideration for the Belmont Stakes are Antiquarian [Todd Pletcher], Dornoch [Danny Gargan], Fierceness [Pletcher], Honor Marie [Whit Beckman], Seize the Grey [D. Wayne Lukas], Sierra Leone [Chad Brown], The Wine Steward [Mike Maker], and Tuscan Gold [Brown]. Trainer Ken McPeek is considering entering Mystik Dan but should he not enter his Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner there is the possibility McPeek could enter Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner Thorpedo Anna instead.

Mott has plenty to look forward to at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, with at least four other trainees eyeing stakes engagements during the lucrative weekend. George Krikorian’s Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Just F Y I will be nominated to the nine-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 DK Horse Acorn on June 7 after a game runner-up effort behind Thorpedo Anna in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 3.

Just F Y I, who earned her Champion honors for Grade 1 wins in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Frizette last year, has finished second in both her outings this year, making just one start before the Oaks when three lengths back of Leslie’s Rose in the Grade 1 Ashland in April at Keeneland. The Oaks saw her stalk 2 3/4 lengths off the pace under Alvarado and advance well in the final turn, but she was unable to reel in Thorpedo Anna late as she was defeated 4 3/4 lengths over the sloppy and sealed footing.

“The other one was better on the day – I don’t know if that had to do with the condition of the racetrack, or if it would have evened out on a dry track,” said Mott.

Just F Y I had her first work back since the Oaks with a bullet half-mile solo in 47 seconds flat Monday.

“Yes, she was [sharp],” Mott said. “I think she’ll have a great year.”

LRE Racing and JEH Stable’s evergreen Casa Creed has contested the Grade 1 Jaipur for three straight years – and won in 2022 – but will skip the 5 1/2-furlong race this year in favor of the Grade 3, $350,000 Poker at one-mile on June 8. The Jaipur was shortened by a half-furlong from its traditional six-furlong distance this year, leaving it at a distance the 8-year-old Jimmy Creed horse has contested just once in his 35-start career – a ninth in the 2022 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Casa Creed, who won the 2022-23 Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap going one-mile, was last seen finishing sixth in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in March at Meydan Racecourse, where he raced in mid-pack and put in a mild bid to be defeated 2 3/4 lengths behind the victorious California Spangle.

“It was probably a wasted trip,” said Mott. “We’re looking at the Poker.”

While Casa Creed will not contest the Jaipur, Mott will likely still be represented in the lucrative turf sprint with stakes-winner Sosua Summer, who looks to rebound from a distant off-the-board finish last out in the Grade 2 Shakertown on April 6 at Keeneland.

“I can’t make any big excuses,” Mott said of the Shakertown. “He just didn’t really fire.”

Krikorian’s multiple Grade 1-winner War Like Goddess returned to the work tab on Friday for the first time since scratching from the Grade 3 Bewitch on April 26 at Keeneland, a race she had won for three consecutive years. The daughter of English Channel withdrew from the race due to a cut on her leg, but returned to breeze a half-mile in 49.49 seconds Friday.

Mott said the 1 3/16-mile Grade 1, $750,000 New York presented by Rivers Casino on June 7 is the likely next target, but expressed his concern that the distance may prove too short for the expert marathoner.

“She’s doing well,” said Mott. “I guess the New York. It’s not her distance. I wish we had a race at the proper distance for her.”

Kentucky Derby-winner Mystik Dan settles in at Saratoga; Kentucky Oaks-winner Thorpedo Anna on the work tab

Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing, Daniel Hamby, III and Valley View Farm’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby-winner Mystik Dan arrived at Saratoga Race Course Monday evening and ventured out onto the Oklahoma training track early Wednesday for his first bit of light exercise since finishing second in Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness.

“He’s doing good,” said trainer Kenny McPeek. “He just jogged a mile this morning, nothing complicated.”

Mystik Dan was a narrow winner of the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs, staving off late bids from Forever Young and Sierra Leone to post a nose victory in a thrilling three-way photo finish. He followed two weeks later with a runner-up effort to the D. Wayne Lukas-trained pacesetter Seize the Grey in the Preakness, where he was defeated 2 1/4 lengths after stalking four lengths off the pace.

“Wayne’s horse got off to an got an easy lead, and maybe we could have chased him, but if we had, we might not have run as well as we did,” said McPeek.

McPeek added he will take his time in deciding if Mystik Dan will participate in the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8 at Saratoga.

“We are undecided on what we’re going to do. We’ll take it as it comes and get him into a routine here,” said McPeek. “Hopefully, the weather cools off.”

McPeek completed a historic double on the first weekend in May as he also saddled Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner Thorpedo Anna. The Fast Anna dark bay was a pressured pacesetter early in the nine-furlong test, but shook clear of her rivals in the far turn and drew off impressively to win by 4 3/4 lengths.

Owned by Brookdale Racing, Mark Edwards, Judy Hicks and Magdalena Racing, Thorpedo Anna has worked twice since the Oaks, and covered a sharp half-mile this morning at Churchill Downs where clockers caught her in 46.20 seconds.

“She breezed wicked fast,” said McPeek. “My assistant said he caught her in 47 and two [fifths]. She’ll come to Saratoga tomorrow and we’ll get her into a routine, too.”

As with Mystik Dan, McPeek has not made any decisions on where Thorpedo Anna will race next. Her two options are the Grade 1, $500,000 DK Horse Acorn against fillies on June 7, or a try against males in the Belmont Stakes.


Aspen Grove points to G1 New York

Glen Hill Farm and Mrs. John Magnier’s Grade 1-winner Aspen Grove, a top contender for the Grade 1, $750,000 New York presented by Rivers Casino on June 7, is among a compact but talented group of horses training at Saratoga Race Course for upcoming stakes events on the NYRA circuit for conditioner Jack Sisterson.

Also enjoying their time training over the Oklahoma training dirt are Listed stakes winner Vive Veuve, who is pointing to Monday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Wonder Again at Belmont at the Big A; the well-bred maiden Wrigleyville and allowance runner Ten Days Later.

“We have a nice little group up here. We're trying to be selective as possible and bring the right types to New York as It's obviously very competitive,” said Sisterson, who noted that additional stock will be arriving from Florida soon."

Aspen Grove, a 4-year-old Justify bay, launched her career in her native Ireland for trainer James Stack where she won the 2022 Group 3 Irish EBF going one mile over good turf at The Curragh.

She shipped to Belmont Park last year and rallied to an impressive three-quarter length score in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational before off-the-board efforts in Grade 1 events when fifth versus colts in the Saratoga Derby Invitational and sixth against older fillies and mares in the E.P. Taylor at Woodbine – the latter in the care of Sisterson.

Aspen Grove has performed well through adversity in a pair of nine-furlong graded starts this season, overcoming a dawdling pace to finish a close second in the Grade 2 Hillsborough in March at Tampa Bay Downs and a last-of-11 rush to finish third, defeated one length, in the Grade 3 Modesty on May 3 over yielding going at Churchill Downs.

“She's doing extremely well at the minute. She seems to have gotten better from 3-to-4,” Sisterson said. “She looks a stronger filly and has had two good runs. The pace didn't really set up for her in the Hillsborough and then she got squeezed at the start in the Modesty and didn't get a real good trip, but she was finishing up both races really well.

“This next race will be her third race off a layoff and she should be peaking at the right time come the New York in a couple weeks,” added Sisterson.

Aspen Grove worked a half-mile in 49.65 seconds Friday over the Oklahoma dirt training track.

Sterling Stables’ Vive Veuve is slated to make her next start in Monday’s nine-furlong Wonder Again which offers the top-three finishers an invite to the Grade 1, $500,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational – a 1 3/16-mile turf test for sophomore fillies on July 6 at Belmont at the Big A.

Vive Veuve, out of the Group 3-winning Lope de Vega mare Candy Store, worked a half-mile in 48.48 Monday in company with maiden Wrigleyville over the Oklahoma dirt training track.

Glen Hill Farm’s homebred sophomore filly Wrigleyville, by Into Mischief and out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Marketing Mix, finished a closing third on debut sprinting five furlongs on April 20 over the Gulfstream Park turf. She is pointing to a six-furlong turf maiden on the Wonder Again undercard.

“The two of them have been working in company - Wrigleyville will be pointed to a maiden on the same day as the Wonder Again,” Sisterson said. “We thought they'd be a nice team to work together to run on the same day. They worked well.”

Marketing Mix did her best running around two turns, taking the 2012 Grade 1 Rodeo Drive going 10 furlongs at Santa Anita Park en route to a runner-up effort in that year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf over the same distance and course. She captured the nine-furlong Grade 1 Gamely the following year as part of a tremendous 21-10-5-1 career record for purse earnings in excess of $2 million.

Sisterson said the goal is to eventually stretch Wrigleyville out further in distance.

“She doesn't come across like a sprinter,” Sisterson said. “We thought two sprints to a potential route would be a good stepping stone for her, so that's why we decided on a six-furlong maiden to give her another start under her belt before we stretch her out to a mile or a mile and a sixteenth.”

A race like the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3, $175,000 Lake George on July 20 at Saratoga would seem a good fit if Wrigleyville continues to progress.

“Getting some black type with a filly like this would be extremely valuable for the farm,” Sisterson said.

Ten Days Later, a 4-year-old Collected colt, banked $189,325 through a 14-1-2-5 record for trainer Ken McPeek.

“He's a recent purchase. We'll wait for the Saratoga condition book to come out and then look for a spot for him,” Sisterson said.


Dominant marathoner Next to shorten up in G2 Suburban or G2 Brooklyn

Michael A. Foster’s multiple-graded stakes-winning dirt marathoner Next is under consideration to cut back in distance for the 1 1/4-mile Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban on June 8 Belmont Stakes Day at Saratoga Race Course, or wait for the 1 3/8-mile Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn on July 5, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by William “Doug” Cowans, the 6-year-old Not This Time gray has won his last three starts by a combined 48 lengths, most recently taking the 12-furlong Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight by 11 1/4-lengths on May 1 at Churchill Downs. It was his fourth consecutive dirt marathon victory, a streak that began last June in the then 12-furlong Grade 2 Brooklyn on Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park.

“We got him nominated to the Suburban and that’s probably 50/50, just depending on how the race shapes up. I think the mile and a quarter is probably a little short for the horse,” Cowans said. “If he doesn’t go for the Suburban, he will definitely go for the Brooklyn in July at Aqueduct.”

Next’s last seven efforts have come at 1 1/2-miles and beyond, winning six, including by an eye-catching 25 lengths in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup in September at Parx Racing and a widening 6 1/4-lengths in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance in September 2022 at Churchill.

Cowans said the Suburban decision will be based on possible pace-scenarios that could involve the usually-forwardly placed Next.

“It is more about the pace scenario than the field size. If the race looks like it is going to be fast, I’ll probably skip it because I’ve felt he enjoys those marathon races because of the pace scenario,” Cowans explained. “I’d like to see a little bit of a slower pace so that the tempo of the race isn’t too quick.”

“I’m afraid when the tempo picks up that he’s going to be close no matter what. So if they go a half in 46, he will still be up there close. He has a good turn of foot, but I just think that the kick you see in the marathon races is due to the pace scenario of the race,” Cowans added.

Cowans said that down the line he hopes to see Next defend his title in Saratoga’s Listed $150,000 Birdstone, a 1 3/4-mile test for older horses on August 4. He won last year’s edition by 11 3/4 lengths in July.

“The races that are for sure marked are the Brooklyn, Birdstone, then back to Parx for the Greenwood,” Cowans said.

Regular rider Luan Machado will ride regardless of where, according to Cowans.

Next began his career mainly on turf for conditioner Wesley Ward and won the one-mile War Chant at Churchill Downs as a sophomore. In April 2022, Cowans haltered him for $62,500 out of a distant ninth-place effort sprinting on the Keeneland main track. He made his dirt marathon debut in the Cape Henlopen the following September at Delaware Park, where he crushed the off-the-turf stake by 18 1/4-lengths.


Atras newcomers Flying Connection, Masqueparade under consideration for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Trainer Rob Atras has welcomed to his barn a pair of potential starters for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in Grade 1-placed Flying Connection and graded stakes-winner Masqueparade.

Brad King, Randy Andrews, Chris Coleman, Jim Cone, Suzanne Kirby and Lee Lewis’ Flying Connection won 7-of-15 starts for her former conditioner Todd Fincher, including the 2023 Sunland Park Oaks and Zia Park Oaks.

The 4-year-old Nyquist bay won the one-mile Harry Henson Handicap in her seasonal debut at Sunland Park before on-the-board efforts in Grade 1 events when closing from last-of-9 to finish second in the 1 1/16-mile Apple Blossom Handicap in April at Oaklawn Park and a rallying third in the seven-furlong Derby City Distaff on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs.

Dual Grade 1-winner Adare Manor was a 5 1/2-length gate-to-wire winner of the Apple Blossom with Flying Connection finishing three-quarter lengths in front of third-place Free Like a Girl, who exited that effort finish second to Idiomatic in the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill. The Apple Blossom has proven to be a productive race with fourth-place finisher Shotgun Hottie winning the Allaire DuPont Distaff last weekend at Pimlico.

“I’ve trained for Brad King before and he asked me to take her,” Atras said. “They wanted to run her in New York and thought there was a better path on the East Coast to get to the Breeders' Cup with her.”

The versatile Flying Connection, who finished sixth in last year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, is under consideration for either the seven-furlong Grade 2, $200,000 Bed o’ Roses on June 15 at Belmont at the Big A or the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps presented by Ford, a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares offering a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Del Mar.

“Seven furlongs is almost too short for her, and she's run good at a mile and eighth. She's very versatile,” Atras said. “She was really coming at the end of that last race. We'll see how things shake out over the next week or so.

“That Apple Blossom has really come up a strong race. There are horses that have come back and won and horses that have come back and placed in graded stakes,” added Atras. “It's turned out to be kind of a key race and, with that in mind, if we think the Ogden Phipps suits her better, we might think of doing that. She's a very nice filly. I hope we can keep her in form and keep her running the way she's been running.”

Masqueparade started his career with trainer Al Stall, Jr., taking the nine-furlong Grade 3 Ohio Derby in 2021 ahead of a Saratoga summer that saw the now 6-year-old Upstart gelding run third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and sixth in the Grade 1 Travers.

The long running bay was claimed for $80,000 in September at Churchill Downs by trainer Robertino Diodoro and won the 12-furlong Temperence Hill two starts later at Oaklawn Park. He was last seen finishing third in the 12-furlong Isaac Murphy Marathon on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

Atras has nominated Masqueparade to the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban on Belmont Stakes Day June 8 at Saratoga and would consider the Spa’s $150,000 Birdstone on August 4 at 1 3/4-miles a long-term target.

Masqueparade, who was a good second to Art Collector in the 2022 Alydar at Saratoga, breezed a half-mile in 50.29 on May 18 over the Belmont Park dirt training track.

“He's a really nice horse. He's a big horse and really easy going in the morning when he gallops,” Atras said. “I can see why he stays and runs those longer distances. He has a big stride on him and cruises around there. He's not nervous or a run off. We worked him the other day and he worked really nice.”

Atras was represented by a pair of nice turf sophomores during Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs with filly Way to Be Marie finishing a close second in the Grade 2 Edgewood over yielding going on Oaks Day and Grade 3-winner Neat landing seventh over good footing in the Grade 2 American Turf on Derby Day.

Red White and Blue Racing’s Neat, a Constitution colt, won the Texas Turf Mile in January at Sam Houston and followed with a dramatic nose win in the Grade 3 Transylvania on April 5 at Keeneland – both with Reylu Gutierrez up.

Atras said Neat didn’t handle the Churchill course in the American Turf.

“After watching him run and talking to Reylu after the race, he said he really struggled to get a hold of it,” Atras said. “That turf course is a little shorter cut and he ran at Houston and Fair Grounds and Keeneland where they have a traditional longer type turf course and he seemed to thrive on those types. We'll put a line through that race and move forward.”

Neat will now point to either the Grade 2, $400,000 Penn Mile on May 31 or wait for the one-mile Grade 3, $250,000 Manila on June 29 at Belmont at the Big A.

“It's 50/50 right now. He'll breeze again this week and we’ll see,” Atras said.

Atras said Neat will likely stay at the one-mile distance for now but he did not rule out stretching the horse out in the future.

“He has good tactical speed and a good kick turning for home. He's thrived going a mile, so we'll try and keep him in that range,” Atras said. “I'm not saying he won't stretch out a little bit further, but we'll keep in that mile range in the near future.”

Robert V. LaPenta and Madaket Stables’ Way to Be Marie, by Not This Time, was nosed out of a second-out maiden score in November at Aqueduct by well-regarded Chad Brown-trainee Dynamic Pricing.

Way to Be Marie would graduate in her next start traveling nine furlongs over firm Fair Grounds turf in December. She followed with two more good runs at the Louisiana oval when second in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claimer in her seasonal debut in February before wiring older company at the same distance in March.

The talented bay was sent to post at odds of 11-1 in the Edgewood and held a head advantage at the stretch call but could not stave off her familiar foe Dynamic Pricing, who got up to win by a half-length.

“We were pretty high on her going in. She breezed well going in and was getting better every race,” Atras said. “We spaced her races out nice and let her develop over the winter, so we were expecting her to run well.

“It was heartbreaking to get beat like that,” added Atras. “The horse that beat us, also beat us at Aqueduct the previous fall right at the wire in pretty much the same fashion. It was a great race, and you hate to get beat like that, but we were really happy with the way she ran.”

Atras said Way to Be Marie will now point to the Grade 3, $275,000 Regret, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies on June 1 at Churchill.

“I think going a mile and an eighth would be good for her,” Atras said. “She seems to want to stay and has a high-cruising speed. It seems she can handle the distance.”

Atras said a good result at Churchill could bring the filly under consideration for the Grade 1, $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks, a 1 3/16-mile test for sophomore fillies on July 6 at Belmont at the Big A.


Dornoch looks to G1 Belmont Stakes; options aplenty for Society Man

West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables’ dual graded stakes-winner Dornoch is preparing at Saratoga Race Course for a likely start in the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8.

“He loves it here,” said trainer Danny Gargan. “He’ll probably work Friday – we’ll get a solid work in him over the Oklahoma.”

Dornoch was last seen finishing a troubled 10th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4 where he drew the rail and was shuffled back at the half-mile call. He checked again at the quarter pole before running evenly down the lane to finish well back of the victorious Mystik Dan.

Dornoch posted back-to-back graded victories in the Grade 2 Remsen in December at Aqueduct Racetrack, where he defeated subsequent Derby runner-up Sierra Leone by a nose, and in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in March at Gulfstream Park. He entered the Derby from a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Blue Grass in April at Keeneland.

“Dornoch is shooting for the Belmont,” said Gargan. “He had a rough trip in the Derby and had no shot a hundred yards in.”

Gargan also saddled maiden-winner Society Man in the Derby, where he finished 16th after a four-wide trip with a mild bid. The Good Magic gelding entered from a hard-trying runner-up effort to Resilience in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino at 106-1 odds.

Gargan said Society Man has several races to choose from next, led by the Grade 3 Ohio Derby on June 22 at Thistledown. Other options include the Grade 3 Matt Winn on June 9 at Churchill Downs, and the Pegasus on June 15 at Monmouth Park.

“He’s good, too,” said Gargan. “He won’t run in the Belmont and he’ll also probably work Friday. He’s probably going to the Ohio Derby, but there’s the Matt Winn and a stake at Monmouth, too. There’s a few options.”


Donegal Momentum earns 92 BSF on debut

Donegal Racing’s Donegal Momentum was impressive in his racing debut, capturing a local six-furlong maiden special weight by 8 1/4 lengths on May 16, earning an impressive 92 Beyer Speed Figure, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Thomas Morley, the Uncle Mo sophomore colt attended the pace set by Light the Way who maintained a head in front through an opening quarter-mile in 23.19 seconds and the half in 46.91 over muddy and sealed footing. Donegal Momentum cruised to the front under Javier Castellano shortly thereafter, leading by five lengths at the stretch call before drawing off comfortably to finish in 1:10.30.

Donegal Momentum began working at Fair Grounds Race Course in March before coming to Belmont Park for his last four breezes, including a bullet half-mile 45.50 on April 21 over the dirt training track, fastest-of-188 timed works at the distance.

“He’s a very lovely colt. I was pleased to see that he confirmed in the afternoon what he had been showing us in the morning,” Morley said. “He’s a horse with the level of ability that he showed on debut. By Uncle Mo, out of a Malibu Moon, he certainly has the pedigree to handle a track like that.

“You’re just always hoping they come out of it okay, and he seems to have done that,” Morley added.

Morley said that he will likely pickout an allowance race next for the promising colt.

Out of the stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare Moon Dash, Donegal Momentum was a $375,000 purchase at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Donegal Racing, who has been a part of many Grade 1-winning campaigns including Mo Donegal, Keen Ice, and Finnegans Wake.

Fugget About It Racing Stable’s stakes-placed Charging was scratched from Saturday’s Listed Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico Race Course. The 4-year-old Candy Ride chestnut was third last-out when beaten a neck by the well-regarded Witty in the 5 1/2-furlong King T. Leatherbury on April 20 at Laurel Park.

“He’s doing great. He would have run very well down there, sadly they got a lot of rain in the morning. His form line shows he is a far superior horse on firm ground,” Morley explained. “We’ll see how he is this week when he breezes and try to come up with a game plan after that.”

Morley said there will be numerous spots to re-route the turf sprinter to in the near-future.

“He’s [nominated] in all the sprint stakes from Churchill Downs to Monmouth Park to the Jaipur. I personally think the Jaipur would be far too tough for him, but we will go where the ground is firmest,” Morley said. “That would be my inclination.”

Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro, and James Klein’s New York-bred sophomore The Big Torpedo was nailed late in his return to the turf when beaten a half-length in the one-mile Woodhaven here on April 27.

The Big Brown chestnut led by a half-length in the stretch before being caught by Good Lord Lorrie in the final jumps. The runner-up finish was awarded a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure, exceeding his four prior efforts, all on the main track.

Morley said he also has numerous options including running in an allowance during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and the Grade 3, $400,000 Penn Mile on May 31 over the Penn National green.

“There are a lot of options in front of him. There is an other-than going on the turf for three-year-old boys Belmont Week which is very much in the cards,” Morley said. “He’s nominated to the Penn Mile as well. We’ll just see where we end up with him. He’s a very nice horse to have around the place, competitive on both surfaces and those horses are a rarity to come across.”

The Big Torpedo finished third via disqualification in the Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Series in December traveling seven-furlongs over the dirt ahead of a 10-length local maiden romp in January.

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