A game runner-up effort behind Midnight Bisou in the G1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn convinced trainer Don Schnell to give Escape Clause another crack at her three-time G1-winning multimillionaire rival in the G1, $700,000 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Owned by Schnell in partnership with Barry Arnason and True North, the Manitoba-bred daughter of Going Commando raced almost exclusively in her native Canada, where she was a 15-time stakes winner, up until last fall when she won the Kathryn Crosby at Del Mar via disqualification.
Buoyed by the Del Mar score, the connections entered Escape Clause in a string of graded races in California and were rewarded with a win in the G3 La Canada at Santa Anita, three starts before her runner-up finish in the Apple Blossom.
Schnell said he relishes a return bout with Midnight Bisou in New York.
“When we heard that Midnight Bisou was going, we figured that we wanted a rematch,” Schnell said. “We got hit pretty hard in the Apple Blossom, but with a clean trip I think we can beat her. Right now, she's training as good or better than she ever has.”
A victory in the Ogden Phipps would provide veteran conditioner Schnell with his first Grade 1 victory. Escape Clause gave the Manitoba-based trainer his first graded stakes win in the La Canada.
“It's what everyone shoots for, probably would mean more than anything in racing,” Schnell said. “We're going to sell her in Kentucky in the fall so it would probably mean more dollars in the pocket too.”
Schell stated that jockey Tyler Baze will retain the mount aboard Escape Clause.
Bred by Cam Ziprick & Arnason Farms, Escape Clause, who has banked $645,500 in her 31-race career, was purchased at the Manitoba Division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Yearling Sale in 2015 for $3,792.
Probable field (trainer): Come Dancing (Carlos Martin), Electric Forest (Chad Brown), Escape Clause (Don Schnell), Midnight Bisou (Steve Asmussen), Pacific Wind (Chad Brown)
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