Nine grass-running sprinters are set to take on Saturday's 36th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur Invitational at six furlongs over Belmont Park's Widener Turf Course. The Jaipur is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series “Win and You're In” event to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park on November 2.
The Jaipur is one of eight Grade 1 stakes on Saturday's 13-race card, which is the final day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, highlighted by the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
Leading the field is Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables' World of Trouble, who is undefeated in four starts since finishing second to Stormy Liberal in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
He showed his versatility earlier this year when he won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs on the main track on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack and then returned to the grass to win the Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
“He's a killer horse. A monster. A champion horse,” trainer Jason Servis said. “He has a Grade 1 on the dirt and this is a Grade 1 on the turf. It would be nice if we are fortunate enough to get the `w.' For stallion reasons, he would be a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt if he can win the Jaipur.
“He's been training pretty good. I'm very pleased with the way he is coming up to this race. I'd say I'm cautiously optimistic,” Servis added.
World of Trouble and jockey Manny Franco will break from post 8.
Serious opposition to World of Trouble is likely to come from the mare Belvoir Bay, one of two horses entered by trainer Peter Miller, and defending champion Disco Partner, one of two horses trained by Christophe Clement.
Gary Barber's Belvoir Bay comes into the Jaipur off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita on May 26, which was her first start since taking on the best turf sprinters in the world in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on March 30, when she also finished second.
Earlier in the year, she posted back to back wins in Santa Anita's Las Cienegas Stakes on January 12 and the Wishing Well Stakes on February 16. She will be joined in the gate by veteran stablemate Om, who is looking to rebound from a fifth-place effort last out in the overnight Opening Verse at Churchill Downs on May 2.
Patricia Generazio's Disco Partner, who finished third behind World of Trouble in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint before ending the year with a second to his stablemate White Flag in the Aqueduct Turf Sprint on November 24, will be looking to rebound from a ninth in the Grade 2 Shakertown at Keeneland on April 6. White Flag will be making his first start in the Jaipur since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf on January 13 at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Wesley Ward will be represented by Undrafted in the Jaipur. The 9-year-old veteran will be making his second start of the year after finishing fourth in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint in his last start. Ward trains Undrafted for owners Wes Welker & Elizabeth Kumin.
Rounding out the Jaipur Invitational field are Tom O'Grady's Dirty, who will be making his second start of the year after winning the King T. Leatherbury Stakes at Laurel on April 20; Calumet Farm's Wild Shot, who is making his turf debut after a disappointing effort in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Sprint May 3; Diamond Oops, who enters on short rest coming off a third-place finish in the Crystal River Stakes on May 27 at Gulfstream for trainer Pat Biancone; and Gidu, who makes his 2019 debut for trainer Todd Pletcher and Zayat Stables.
The Jaipur is slated as Race 6 on Saturday's 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.
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