Live Oak Plantation's Kentucky Derby and Preakness participant Win Win Win will make the switch to turf as part of a nine-horse field in the $100,000 Manila for 3-year-olds on Thursday, the Fourth of July feature, at Belmont Park.
Win Win Win posted a 3-2-1 record in his first eight starts on the dirt, including a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 and second to Vekoma in the Grade 2 Blue Grass on April 6 at Keeneland while on the Derby trail.
The Michael Trombetta trainee earned his spot in the “Run for the Roses” and was placed ninth on May 4. Two weeks later, he ran seventh in the Grade 1 Preakness, earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure on May 18 at Pimlico.
The son of the Japanese-bred Hat Trick will now try racing on grass, competing in the one-mile Manila on the Widener turf. Since the Preakness, Win Win Win has registered four breezes, including two on the all-weather training track at Fair Hill in Maryland capped by a three-furlong breeze in 37 seconds on Saturday. He previously breezed four furlongs in 50.40 seconds on June 23 at Laurel Park.
“He's done a lot of work on the synthetic track and he's always done OK on it,” Trombetta said. “I shipped him down to Laurel last weekend and worked him on the turf and the response was favorable. With his pedigree, it was always something on the to-do list. I figured coming off the Triple Crown races, it was probably a good time to give it a shot and see how it goes.”
Win Win Win lived up to his name in his first two starts before moving up to stakes company, running second in the Heft to cap his juvenile campaign on December 29 at Laurel before winning his first stakes with a 7 ¼-length score in the Pasco in his sophomore bow on January 19 at Tampa Bay.
“We did the Derby-Preakness route the best that we could. It didn't turn out as good as expected, though he ran respectable races, so we'll switch it and see what happens,” Trombetta said. “He has shipped well. It gets a little trickier when you get into the heat of summer, but he's handled it pretty good so far.”
Jockey Julian Pimentel, aboard for the opening two Triple Crown legs, will have the return call from post 7.
Peter Brant's Fog of War is the field's lone Grade 1 winner, recording a three-quarters of a length win in the Summer on September 16 at Woodbine to improve to 2-for-2 to start his career. Last out, the War Front colt ran sixth in the Paradise Creek on May 25 at Belmont.
The Chad Brown trainee, who was purchased for $400,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, will stretch out to a mile for the first time since the Summer, drawing post 6 in tandem with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle a pair of contenders in Current and Clint Maroon.
Current, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Robert LaPenta and Dixiana Farms, enjoyed a successful 2-year-old campaign on the turf, winning the Grade 3 Bourbon in October at Keeneland before running seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Todd Pletcher ran Current in the Grade 1 Florida Derby where he finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby prep on May 30 at Gulfstream Park. Switched back to turf last out, the Curlin colt was fourth in the one-mile James W. Murphy. Jose Ortiz will ride from post 2.
Current's stablemate, Clint Maroon, was a four-length winner of the Woodhaven at 1 1/16 miles on April 20 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The English-bred gelding ran fifth in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge on June 1 at Belmont at 1 1/8 miles, though Pletcher said he is still confident he could eventually go longer.
Clint Maroon is also first on the reserved list for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on Stars & Stripes Day July 6 at Belmont.
Should he run in the Manila, Clint Maroon will have the services of jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. for a sixth consecutive race, drawing post 8.
“He's been versatile enough horse. I think a mile and quarter could work, but he's run well at a mile and sixteenth and a mile and an eighth,” Pletcher said. “The Pennine Ridge was a bit of a confusing race from a pace-scenario standpoint. We didn't expect the horse that ended up on the lead to be there. Irad said he was a little closer than he wanted to be and a little keener. Irad said he kept trying every step of the way, but the race didn't unfold the way we expected it to. But he's continued to train well coming out of the race.”
The top-two finishers of the Paradise Creek will rematch in the Manila, with the Brad Cox-trained Pole Setter again facing a field that includes Pulsate, conditioned by Robert Ribaudo. Pole Setter won his first stakes in that meeting, tallying a 1 ¼-length margin of victory.
A $220,000 purchase at the 2018 Ocala Breeders' Sale, Pole Setter won his first stakes in his third attempt in a successful Belmont debut. Luis Saez, who guided him to the winner's circle, will have the return engagement from post 4.
Pulsate, a $280,000 purchase at the same sale, made his first stakes appearance last out. The son of Speightstown will again have jockey Manny Franco's services, breaking from post 1.
Graded stakes-veteran Casa Creed will be making his first start since a hard-running second to Moon Colony in the Grade 2 Penn Mile on June 1. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Casa Creed will run at Belmont for the first time since a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Champagne in October. With Junior Alvarado up, Casa Creed will depart from post 5.
Rounding out the field is Ian Glass, seventh in the Paradise Creek for trainer Tom Morley, out of post 3; and Gentleman Joe, trained by Kent Sweezey, making his first stakes appearance and just third career start, drawing post 9.
The Manila is slated for Race 8 on Thursday's nine-race card. First post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
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