The 10-month layoff was no issue for Tribhuvan (FR), who shook off the rust with a 1 ½-length victory going wire-to-wire in the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy Stakes on May 1, a nine-furlong inner turf test for older horses at Belmont Park.
Owned by Wonder Stables, Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso, Tribhuvan was one of three Fort Marcy aspirants trained by Chad Brown, who also sent out Rockemperor and Devamani (FR).
Tribhuvan made his first start since posting a narrow allowance optional claiming score over graded stakes winner Ballagh Rocks on July 4 at Belmont over the Widener turf course. The victory was a fourth lifetime win, and first at graded stakes level for the French-bred son of Toronado, who won twice in his native land for former conditioner Henri-Alex Pantall. He competed in last year’s edition of the Fort Marcy, but was pulled up in mid-stretch after a buckle on his reins broke when hitting the gate at the start.
Tribhuvan broke sharply from post 3 under Eric Cancel, and commanded the field into the first turn with a six-length advantage through an opening quarter-mile in 23.56 seconds and the half-mile in 47.89 over the firm turf.
Down the backstretch, the field began gaining on the frontrunner, with New York-bred stakes-winner City Man poised to pounce in second along the hedge with Wissahickon to his outside.
Cancel was relaxed aboard his charge until upper stretch when he gave Tribhuvan his cue. City Man made a bid but was unable to catch the leader who completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.11. City Man finished another two lengths clear of third-place finisher Rockemperor.
“They said they wanted me to go, and I did what I was told to do,” said Cancel, whose first graded stakes triumph came aboard Smooth Daddy in the 2017 Fort Marcy. “The trip worked out very well. I settled on the pace and got my horse to relax. He made a really nice run from the quarter-pole to the wire.”
G2 Fort Marcy Quotes
Dan Stupp, assistant to trainer Chad Brown of winner Tribhuvan (No. 3, Tribhuvan, $22.40), third-place Rockemperor (No. 2) and fourth-place Devamani (No.1): “I expected all three to run well as they all had trained well. The winner got a little lost in the wagering but he’s a horse last year that we had high hopes for. He had a little trouble in this race last year when the buckle on the rein broke coming out of the gate, so it was nice to see him come back and start the year off the right way.”
On sending Tribhuvan to the lead: “There was no pace on paper and he’s a horse that’s very sharp in his training. He has a lot of energy and he was the logical horse to let him have his head a little bit and go to the front and back it down a bit. Eric [Cancel] did a great job executing that plan.”
Eric Cancel, winning jockey aboard Tribhuvan (No. 3): “They said they wanted me to go and I did what I was told to do. The trip worked out very well. I settled on the pace and got my horse to relax. He made a really nice run from the quarter-pole to the wire.”
Trevor McCarthy, jockey aboard runner-up City Man (No. 4): “I can’t knock him. He got a great trip. It was a fast pace in front of us and every time I got to Chad’s horse [Tribhuvan], he seemed to have a little bit more. My horse was coming off a little bit of a layoff, so I was happy with him.”
2020 Belmont Stakes runner-up Dr Post rallies for G3 Westchester victory
The previous time St. Elias Stable’s Dr Post raced at Belmont Park, he finished second to Tiz the Law in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. Eleven months later, the now 4-year-old Quality Road colt registered another strong effort over Big Sandy, running down Mr. Buff in the final furlong and fending off a charging Wicked Trick before pulling away for a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester Stakes for 4-year-olds and up going a one-turn mile.
The 93rd running of the Westchester, the first graded stakes of the 48-day Belmont spring/summer meet, saw 11-time stakes-winner Mr. Buff, in search a long-awaited first graded stakes score, sent to the front under jockey Edgard Zayas after breaking sharp from post 5. The Chester and Mary Broman New York homebred led the six-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.53 second, the half in 48.05 and three-quarters in 1:11.62 over the fast main track.
Dr Post, making his first start off an eight-month layoff for trainer Todd Pletcher, broke alert from the outermost post and tracked closely in second position under jockey Manny Franco.
Out of the turn, Franco asked his charge for more and Dr Post willingly responded, overtaking Mr. Buff from the outside. Wicked Trick came on strong for second, but Dr Post completed the course in a final time of 1:35.14 for his first graded stakes win.
G3 Westchester Quotes
Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher of Dr Post (No. 6, $4.80*): “Todd and the team got him ready down in Florida over the winter and he had been training really well coming into this race and ran to his training. I think this was a good starting point for him and hopefully he can continue to progress from here.”
Manny Franco, winning jockey aboard Dr Post (No. 6): “The fractions helped. Mr. Buff slowed down a little bit and I was right there. I didn’t have to rush my horse off his feet. He just took me around the right way. I think that helped me get the victory.”
Jose Lezcano, jockey aboard runner-up Wicked Trick (No. 1): “I got the position that I wanted the whole way around. I never crossed hands. I was forward the whole way around.”
Magic Attitude rallies impressively to win G2 Sheepshead Bay
Lael Stable’s Magic Attitude (GB) rallied from last-of-6 to capture Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, an 11-furlong inner turf test for older fillies and mares, at Belmont Park. Trained by Arnaud Delacour and patiently piloted by Trevor McCarthy, Magic Attitude saved ground at the back of the pack as graded stakes winner Antoinette led the field through splits of 25.27, 51.03 and 1:17.05 on the firm turf.
Mutamakina (GB) stalked from second position down the backstretch under Jose Lezcano but it was Always Shopping, with Joe Bravo up, who made the first run at the leader with a menacing move outside rivals into the final turn.
Antoinette was asked for more as pressure arrived from Always Shopping, and Mutamakina positioned off the rail to launch her bid. But it was Magic Attitude, angled off the rail inside of Orglandes and out to the center of the track, who saved her best run for last to pick off her rivals one-by-one for a powerful three-length score in a final time of 2:14.32.
Delacour said Belmont’s inner turf course is ideal for Magic Attitude, who entered the Sheepshead Bay from a close seventh in the Grade 2 Hillsborough on March 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.
“They weren’t going fast, but there’s no other way to really ride her,” said Delacour. “She needs to be switched off behind, and she has an explosive turn-of-foot, so it’s nice to train a filly of that caliber.
G2 Sheepshead Bay Quotes
Arnaud Delacour, winning trainer of Magic Attitude (No. 1, $11.00): “They weren’t going fast, but there’s no other way to really ride her. She needs to be switched off behind, and she has an explosive turn-of-foot, so it’s nice to train a filly of that caliber. “She likes it at Belmont. It’s more like the European style for her. She can take her time, get balanced, and then produce acceleration. Last time [seventh in the Grade 2 Hillsborough on March 6 at Tampa Bay] nothing really worked out for her that day. She was really edgy in the post parade and in the paddock. Usually, she is really relaxed, like she was here. I knew that wasn’t the best set up, but she probably needed that race.” On targeting the Grade 2 $750,000 New York going 1 ¼ miles on June 4 at Belmont next: “We’ll look at the New York if she comes back well, but we’ll let her tell us. It’s the next logical spot. I think that’s the right distance for her.”
Trevor McCarthy, winning jockey aboard Magic Attitude (No. 1): “I think the biggest thing with her was to get her back and get her relaxed. I watched the [Belmont Oaks that she won in September]. As soon as she broke in that race, he [Javier Castellano] took her way back to last, let her sit and made an outside run. I know they went slow and kind of quickened in the turn, but she was just getting going. She’s got a really solid quarter-mile run, and she shows it. “When Javier rode her, he didn’t get aggressive with her. In the stretch, he just gathered her, let her run and get into her rhythm, which is what she loves. She impressed me today.”
Jose Lezcano, jockey aboard runner-up Mutamakina (No. 2): “She broke very well. No one wanted to go to the front, so I let her be where she was. When [Always Shopping] came around the backside, I had to push a little early. I think if the race had set up better for her, she may have beat the other filly.”