Belmont Sunday Preview



The late decision to run Tarpy’s Goal in Sunday’s Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park rather than Saturday’s Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs came down to simple mathematics, according to trainer Dale Romans.

“The race here is $100,000, Grade 3 with 11 horses where he’s going to be 8-1, 10-1,” Romans said Friday morning from Churchill Downs. “The race there is $150,000, Grade 2 with six horses where he’s going to be 3-1, that’s a pretty easy decision. It’s all about the math.”

Tarpy’s Goal, a debut winner at Churchill, arrived here Friday by van and figures to be first or second choice in the Futurity, which drew a modest field of six, none of whom has raced in New York. The Futurity, and its female counterpart the Grade 2, $150,000 Matron, were brought back by the New York Racing Association after being put on a one-year hiatus. They were moved from the fall to the summer in hopes of stimulating activity in New York’s juvenile program, a good-intentioned idea that did not bear fruit.

The Futurity field includes horses who won maiden races at Monmouth, Delaware, Pimlico, and of course Churchill, where Tarpy’s Goal overcame a slow start to win his debut by 2 3/4 lengths despite racing a little erratically in the stretch.

“He’s a talented horse – he always acted like the type of horse that could win first time,” Romans said. “He ran the way we expected him too. He’s got a little class about him.”

Javier Castellano, the leading rider at this meet, has the call from post 5.

Tarpy’s Goal will likely have to catch Getupwiththesun, who comes off an 8 1/4-length victory in a May 12 maiden race at Pimlico. That came in his second start after he finished second to Threeanddonedan, who is also in this field.

Getupwiththesun broke outwardly in both of his starts, and he has the outside post again Sunday.

“Both times he ran he broke outward. First time dramatically, second time not as dramatic,” said trainer Robert Leaf, who is making his New York debut. “Both times there was a horse on the outside of him. I think he broke toward the horse, I don’t think he broke away from a horse. I think with no horse on the outside of him, he’ll break straight.”

Threeanddonedan returns to dirt after finishing fourth in the Victoria Stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic surface two weeks ago. Team Six overcame a slow beginning to win his debut at Monmouth Park on June 18, racing three wide down the backside and then repelling a challenge at the quarter pole. He picks up the services of John Velazquez.

Large Kaufy, a speedy sort trained by Wesley Ward, and Jack’s in the Deck, a maiden trained by Robin Graham, complete the field.


After Defy Gravity rolled to a six-length maiden win in her second career start at Pimlico on May 8, the offers began rolling in to owner Roland Reeley. He was on the verge of selling her to Kentucky interests when he changed his mind, much to the relief of trainer Valora Testerman.

“My owner said. ‘All I would do is buy another horse and hope they were her,’" Testerman said. “I was really excited. She is that kind of horse.”

By “that kind” Testerman means the kind good enough to win stakes, something she will try to do in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Matron.

Defy Gravity finished third in her debut – beaten a nose for second by Matron entrant Dancing Anna – when she was sent to the front over a sloppy track. Testerman knew that’s not the running style Defy Gravity prefers, but she was worried how the filly would handle slop being kicked in her face. In her next start, Defy Gravity stalked Silkystar before taking drawing clear to win by six.

“The second time I let her run her race,” Testerman said.

Testerman was going to run Defy Gravity in last weekend’s Debutante at Churchill Downs, but the day she was going to ship was the day a tornado hit in Kentucky, and there was some uncertainty over how that might affect racing at Churchill. The ship to New York is significantly shorter and the pot is 50 percent higher.

Born Bullish won her debut here on June 24 by nine lengths in what trainer John Terranova described as “a public workout.” She came out of the race so well, Terranova entered her back in the Matron. He said he would talk to owner Stephen Mack before a final decision is made on whether she runs.

“From all the signs we’re seeing, the race didn’t faze her,” Terranova said. “Maybe it made her better.”

Say a Novena, Millionreasonswhy, and Hook It Up complete the field.

by David Grening



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