Pixelate has a shot of a mild upset in Saturday’s $250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) at 1 ¼ miles, one of five stakes on the Belmont Park card.
The Michael Stidham trainee is coming off a victory in the Del Mar Derby (G2) on Sept. 6. Jose Lezcano has the call and will break from post six.
“We’ve been really happy with his training,” Stidham said. “He’s raced at many different tracks with different riders and seems to always go out there and try hard, so we’re excited to run him in a Grade 1. He’s just an honest horse who goes out there and gives a big effort every single time.”
The top three finishers from the Saratoga Derby Invitational will renew acquaintances on Saturday. Domestic Spending won the race by a head at 7-1, beating Gufo by a head, with another half-length back to third place finisher No Word.
The Belmont Derby is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) which is coming up on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.
Saratoga Derby Replay
For Gufo, his tough loss in the Saratoga Derby ended a four race winning streak, but he certainly has a shot of turning the tables and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.
“Gufo went Sunday for his last work for the race and we’re very happy with him,” said his trainer Christophe Clement. “He’s been training very forwardly since the race at Saratoga. I had two choices; to run him here or go to Kentucky Downs. We trained for here because we think he’s an ideal horse to run at Belmont with the wider turns and the mile and a quarter will be really good for him.”
Also on Saturday’s outstanding card is the Grade 1, $250,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for three-year-olds and up going 1 ½ miles on the Widener turf; the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom for fillies and mares three-year-olds and up sprinting 6 ½ furlongs on the main track; the Grade 2, $150,000 Kelso for three-year-olds and up going one mile on the main track and the Grade 2, $150,000 Pilgrim for juveniles going at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Belmont Derby Invitational G1 (5:06 ET)
6 Pixelate 5-1
2 Gufo 3-1
4 Domestic Spending 5-2
1 No Word 9-2
This colt tracked the early pace and finished gamely to win the Del Mar Derby (G2) last out by a head. The colt was bumped around coming out of the gate, saved ground and finished up with a rush to get the nod. He came up short to Gufo two back in the Kent (G3) at Delaware Park, beaten a half length at nine furlongs. Three back he was third in the Audubon behind Field Pass who returned to win the Transylvania (G3). This guy should get a good tracking trip while forwardly placed in a race without much early speed signed up. This is his first trip at 1 ¼ miles but looks up to it.
The Clement trainee is one of three in here exiting the Saratoga Derby. The colt made a good late rally to just miss by a head to Domestic Spending. It snapped a four race winning streak for the colt. He won the Kent two back over our top pick for his first graded stakes win. The colt will benefit from more ground here and the barn has been very live at the meet. Junior picks up the call and may need to keep this guy a bit closer to the front here as the pace should be moderate.
This gelding tracked the early pace and finished gamely to beat Gufo by a head in the Saratoga Derby. It was his third win in four career starts. His lone loss was a third two back in the Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga going 1 1/8 miles in his stakes debut. The Brown trainee has shown improvement in each start and he should not have a problem handling the extra ground. He is by Kingman out of a Street Cry mare. Surprisingly, Brown has not won this race, which was previously called the Jamaica Handicap until 2014.