NYRA Press Release: Essafinaat’s Mubtaahij is back training at Belmont as the Grade 1 Woodward runner-up prepares for his next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on October 8 in the second of two “Super Saturdays” as part of the Belmont Fall Meet, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Friday.
McLaughlin noted that Watershed, third in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin on August 27 at Monmouth Park, is also under heavy consideration for the Gold Cup, which carries an automatic entry to the Breeders’ Cup Classic to the winner.
“It’s a step up for him, he was third at Monmouth but we think he’s that type so we’re going to try him,” he said.
Tamarkuz is being pointed towards the Grade 2, $350,000 Kelso Handicap. The Grade 1 Priority One Jets Forego runner-up will again have the services of Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who piloted the Shadwell Stables’ 6-year-old to his best finish in a graded stakes start when he finished 2 ¼-lengths ahead of third-place Stallwalkin’ Dude last out.
At one mile on the main track, the Kelso represents a chance for Tamarkuz to register his first victory in the United States. He finished fourth in the 2015 edition of the Kelso.
“A mile is his best distance, so we’re happy Mike Smith is coming in to ride,” McLaughlin said. “He ran super in the Forego and we think he’s going to be tough in this one.”
Staring her summer with an allowance victory at Saratoga before finishing third in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa, 4-year-old Sentiero Italia will next point to the Grade 1 $500,000 Flower Bowl, reported McLaughlin.
The 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly breezed four furlongs over the Tapeta footing at Greentree Training Center in Saratoga Friday morning, covering the distance in 48.60 seconds.
“She came out of the Ballston Spa well and she ran a big race,” said McLaughlin. “Turning for home in the late stretch she hooked up with Lady Eli and held her own before Mark [Hennig’s] filly [Strike Charmer] passed us but it was an encouraging effort. We’ll look for her to move forward off of it; hopefully she’ll perform well.”
Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and Whitney hero Frosted is unlikely to have a race this fall and instead run fresh in the Breeders’ Cup on November 4-5, McLaughlin said.
Possessing all-fees-paid berths into both the Breeders’ Cup Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Tapit colt would have a nine-week break following his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodward on September 3 before the year-end championships at Santa Anita.
“I just got back from Kentucky and I spoke to [Godolphin Racing’s] John Ferguson and Jimmy Bell and Frosted will most likely wait until the Breeders’ Cup but it’s not completely confirmed,” he said. “And whether it’s the Mile or the Classic, we still haven’t decided.”
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