A field of seven three-year-olds, four that competed in a Triple Crown race, will meet up in Saturday’s $250,000 Dwyer (G2), one of two graded stakes on the 11-race card.
A group of six fillies and mares including the top four across the wire in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) will go 1 ¼ miles in the $200,000 New York (G2).
The Dwyer field features four runners that competed in either the Preakness (G1) or Belmont (G1) including the likely betting favorite Teeth of the Dog, who was a distant fifth in the Preakness.
The Michael Matz trainee came back with a win in the Easy Goer over the main track here on June 9 and will be ridden again by New York newcomers Joel Rosario.
Unstoppable U (sixth in the Belmont) and Zetterholm (fourth in the Preakness) are co-second choices at 3-1 on the morning line, while Guyana Star Dweej, who was eased in the Belmont, is a 15-1 longshot.
Completing the field is Illinois Derby (G3) runner up Morgan’s Guerrilla (4-1), Easy Goer runner up Fast Falcon (10-1), and Monarchic (15-1), a recent winner against Pennsylvania bred first level allowance foes.
The New York field is led by Aruna (9-5), who won the Sheepshead Bay by 1 ¼ lengths over Hit It Rich (5-1), who is back to try to turn the tables.
Mystical Star (4-1) crossed the wire third in the race but was disqualified and placed eighth for causing interference in the stretch.
Principal Role (8-1) was fourth and beaten 2 ¼ lengths by Aruna and will be making her third start since coming to the U.S.
The main threat to Aruna will be Banimpire (2-1), who makes her first start in the U.S. after being privately pursed for $3 million and landing with the Chad Brown barn. The filly made a dozen starts last year, winning six including five Group races.
She also just missed in the Irish Oaks (G1) last summer at the Curragh, beaten just a nose to Blue Bunting. She has been prepping over the Spa training track for a barn that hits at a 32% clip (with a +ROI) with horses coming back off a +180 day layoff.
Completing the field is 30-1 longshot The Underling, who was third in a four horse field in the Heatherten Stakes over a muddy track.
The feature at Churchill Downs on Saturday night is the $100,000 Bashford Manor (G3) for two-year -olds.
The track has pushed back post times to 6:30 ET for the last three days of the meeting which ends on Sunday, but the forecast is still calling for triple digit temperatures for post time of the opener on Friday and Saturday evening, so stay tuned.
Thursday’s card was canceled far in advance, but I am assuming track officials are going to try their hardest to get in the last three days of the meeting.
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Belmont Park and Churchill Downs each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Dwyer G2 (5:36 ET)
6 Teeth of the Dog 5-2
4 Unstoppable U 3-1
5 Zetterholm 3-1
1 Morgan’s Guerrilla 4-1
Analysis: Teeth of the Dog rebounded from his fifth place finish in the Preakness (G1) with a good looking win last out in the Easy Goer in his first trip over the main track here. The colt earned the top last out speed fig in what appears to be one of the weaker Dwyer’s we have seen in recent years. The colt showed some talent by checking in third in the Wood (G1) three back in his first start against winners. The Michael Matz trainee owns a solid pace profile throughout and is one of two in the field that has a win over the surface. The 5-2 morning line looks fair enough, but the price is likely to be heading south as they head to the gate.
Unstoppable U tracked the early pace and faded to finish sixth in the Belmont (G1) last out , trying to get 1 1/2 miles in his first start against winners, a tall task. The colt was a good looking maiden winner in his debut and came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his first go against winners by 6 1/4 lengths. The colt as up front in his first two career starts but does not look quick enough to be on the lead here, and likely takes a tracking role. Among this group he appears to have the most upside potential.
Zetterholm rolled over New York breds in three starts including taking the Patsy Prospect two back at the Big A going a mile. Last out he tries tougher in the Preakness (G1), acted up in the gate and was not much of a threat in a fourth place finish. He is back facing easier here but these are still better than the state breds he was beating up on. He is a half to a couple of stakes winners in Wishful Tomcat ($669K) and Uncle T Seven ($466K).
WIN: #6 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6