The Linda Rice trained Voodoo Song takes on seven foes as the five-year-old returns to the state bred ranks looking to rebound off a pair of subpar efforts at Saratoga.
The son of English Channel won the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) last summer, one of three wins in seven starts in 2018.
After a nine-month layoff he has not regained that form. He was eighth in the Forbidden Apple (G3) on yielding ground off the bench and then tired to finish seventh in the Lure in his last outing.
Gucci Factor is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The gelding made a good late rally to win the Poker (G3) over the Belmont Park turf on June 16 in his last outing, his fourth win in six trips on the Belmont Park turf.
“Gucci Factor had the summer off and he’s training well again. I hope he’s fit enough but he’s a nice horse,” is trainer Christophe Clement said. “He’s won very well going a mile but he’s not quite as fit as that, so we just hope that he’s good enough to overcome his fitness. He’s trained very well. The last two to three weeks he’s done well in his training. I didn’t think he trained well enough for him to run in July so I put him back in training in August.”
The Cole is one of three stakes on the 10-race card on Sunday.
The stakes action starts early with five fillies and mares going in the $200,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (G3). Come Dancing is the 1-5 morning line favorite for trainer Carlos Martin. She won the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga in her last start.
A field of 10 will go in the $125,000 John Hettinger at nine furlongs on turf. Fifty Five is the 6-5 morning line favorite and winner of last year’s edition of the race.
The Chad Brown trainee was fourth in the Ballston Spa (G2) in her last start. She has won five of her nine starts over the Belmont Park turf.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 7 The Ashley T. Cole (Post time 4:10 ET)
5 Voodoo Song 6-1
8 Gucci Factor 5-2
7 Offering Plan 3-1
6 Therapist 5-1
The Rice trainee won 3 of 7 last year including the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) but his two starts this year have been sub par. He came off the bench prompting the early pace in the Forbidden Apple (G3) and faded to finish seventh. Last out in the restricted Lure he set the early fractions and tired to finish seventh, beaten seven lengths. He has not faced state breds since the summer of ’17. The five-year-old has worked smartly since his last outing and perhaps Rice just did not have him fit and ready to go off the shelf. Willing to give him another look here as the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough although we likely will have to settle for slightly less.
The gelding returns off a three-month break for the Clement barn. Last out in the Poker (G1) he raced near the back of the pack and came with a good late rally to get up at the wire. The gelding has won 4 of 6 over the turf here and was third in this race last year. His last start against state breds came two back in the Kingston at a mile here over good ground where he tracked the early pace and drew clear late to win by 1 1/4 lengths. The Clement barn is 13% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff.
The seven-year-old stalked the early pace and came with a good four wide rally to get up at eh wire to win the state bred West Point last out at Saratoga over a couple of foes he faces again today. He came from far out if it here last year to rally for the runner up spot. He has done some of his best work over the turf here, landing in the money in 12 of 13 starts. He could use some pace in front of him and may get it. His best puts him in the mix in this spot.
WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 5,8 / 5,6,7,8
TRIFECTA: 5,8 / 5,6,7,8 / 3,5,6,7,8