Accomplished graded stakes winners Instagrand and Complexity will square off in Closing Day Sunday's third race, an allowance event going 6 ½ furlongs over the Belmont main track.
Instagrand, an Into Mischief bay owned by Larry Best's OXO Equine, has not raced since finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on May 4 at Churchill Downs which was his only off-the-board effort. Following a 10-length romp in his career debut last summer at Los Alamitos, he won the Grade 3 Best Pal but did not race again until seven months later when running third to Haikal in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct.
The National Weather Service calls for a 90% chance of rain for the Elmont, New York area on Sunday, troubling trainer Don Chatlos.
“I feel good other than the weather. We're keeping an eye on that,” Chatlos said. “It's the only negative. If it rains, what are we going to do? We waited this whole time to run him, but we'll make a decision close to race time if it's as bad as it looks.”
Since August, Instagrand has consistently been on the work tab for Chatlos. Most recently, going a half-mile in 47.22 seconds over the Belmont main track on October 20.
“He had a really good work out of the gate with [jockey Joel] Rosario once and I did a three-quarter work [four works back on September 27] and galloped out really strong,” said Chatlos. “He's done everything right leading up to this point and he hasn't missed a beat since then.”
Chatlos said that the plan is for Instagrand to remain in training at age 4.
“Mr. Best's plan is to run him next year so we'll get him through this first and then make a plan from there,” said Chatlos.
Bred in Kentucky by Stoneway Farm, Instagrand is out of the Lawyer Ron broodmare Assets of War and was purchased for $1.2 million from last year's Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
Making his first start since running 11th in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens in June is Complexity, who won the 2018 Grade 1 Champagne at Big Sandy.
Owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, the son of Maclean's Music remained at Saratoga for trainer Chad Brown all through the month of September and has worked three times at Belmont heading into Sunday's race. Most recently, he worked five furlongs in 1:01.66. Complexity will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
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