Arklow will look to follow a similar training pattern that resulted in a runner-up effort in last month's Grade 1 Man o' War as he heads into Friday's Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational.
Listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the nine-horse field, Arklow will be running on Belmont's Widener turf for the first time, but is familiar with the track's grass surfaces, having finished second to Channel Maker by a neck in the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War contested on the inner turf on May 11.
Owned by Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and Peter Coneway, Arklow breezed on both the main track and turf at his base at Churchill Downs before shipping to New York for the Man o' War. Trainer Brad Cox followed a similar pattern leading into the Belmont Gold Cup, but this time working Arklow twice on the Churchill turf before shipping him to Elmont.
“We took him back to Churchill and trained him; he's had a chance to breeze twice on the turf course there. It's been similar preparations to the Man o' War, and he's responded really well,” Cox said.
The sixth running of the Belmont Gold Cup – one of five stakes on the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival – will mark the first time Arklow has competed at two miles.
“There's a little question mark of two miles, but I think a lot will have to do with the pace,” Cox said. “He doesn't get rank or too strong, too early. He should handle the two miles if he's ridden properly and can adjust to the pace.”
Arklow drew post 6 and will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
On Saturday, Belmont Stakes Day, Cox will saddle the Irish-bred Beau Recall in the $700,000 Longines Just a Game. One of eight Grade 1 stakes on a loaded 13-race card, the one-mile contest for older fillies and mares on the Widener turf will see Beau Recall looking to win her third consecutive start after victories in the New Orleans Ladies March 23 at Fair Grounds and the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile last out May 4.
Owned by Slam Dunk Racing and Medallion Racing, the 5-year-old Sir Prancealot mare is 4-1 on the morning line, drawing post 3 in a seven-horse field that has the Chad Brown-trained Rushing Fall as the 4-5 favorite.
“She had a great gallop here at Belmont this morning and has been breezing extremely well on the turf course at Churchill,” Cox said of Beau Recall, whose only previous start at Belmont in 22 career races came with a sixth-place finish in the 2017 Belmont Oaks Invitational. “It doesn't look like there's a lot of speed in the race. On paper, Rushing Fall will be the horse we'll have to try to run down. Hopefully, she'll have some company up front to keep her honest, but we'll see how it plays out.
“As far as Beau Recall's conditioning, and how she's doing, she couldn't be doing any better,” Cox added. “We're really excited.”
Cox also entered undefeated Break Even for Sunday's $150,000 Jersey Girl for 3-year-old fillies. Owned by Klein Racing the Country Day filly is coming off a 5 ½-length win in the Grade 2 Eight Belles on May 3 at Churchill.
Break Even is 4-for-4 in her career with earnings of $287,400, with the smallest margin of victory at 4 ¼ lengths.
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