Dermot Weld: won the Belmont Stakes in 1990 with Go And GoPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Weld aiming to plunder big pot with Postulation
Preview: USA, Saturday 9.32pm BST (live on ATR)
Belmont Park: Belmont Derby Invitational (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo
INTERNATIONAL pioneer Dermot Weld is scenting another rich US payday on Saturday when he saddles Postulation (Pat Smullen) for the Juddmonte team in the Belmont Derby Invitational.
A competitive-looking nine-runner field lines up for this 1m2f event, the $1.25 million highlight of six Graded stakes that comprise the second Stars & Stripes Festival at the New York track.
Weld has happy memories of Belmont Park, notably from 1990 when the Irish legend became the one and only European-based trainer to win a Triple Crown race when Go And Go took the Belmont Stakes.
Postulation, a gelded US-bred son of Harlan's Holiday, has been a model of consistency, never out of the first three in seven starts since his career debut and beating a useful older horse in Parish Hall last time out in a 1m2f Listed race at The Curragh.
Khalid Abdulla's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: "It is a big day for him, hopefully. He has done very well and he travelled over really well and is in good form, which is the first part of the trick. He is taking on horses with fairly similar credentials so we are hoping for the best. I hope the ground will be all right, the weather has been a bit mixed over there but he should be okay."
Weld has an estimable record over the years in similar types of race, having won rich three-year-old turf prizes in the US with such as Pine Dance, Dimitrova and Winchester.
On his third place in the Prix Hocquart, the Aga Khan's Canndal (Mikel Delzangles/Christophe Soumillon) is not without a chance for France but there are at least a couple of decent turf performers among the home defence.
After running in the Kentucky Derby, Bolo (Carla Gaines/Rafael Bejarano) returned to grass to complete a turf hat-trick with an all-the-way victory at Santa Anita in May, while Divisidero (Buff Bradley/Rafael Manuel Hernandez) is looking for his fourth win in five starts. Having rallied from well off the pace to take the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs in May, he beat Saturday's rival Takeover Target (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz) a neck in a stakes race at this venue. The latter breaks from the rail.
Also on Saturday
Belmont Park: Belmont Oaks Invitational (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo fillies (10.46pm BST, live on ATR)
Outstanding (Aidan O'Brien/Colm O'Donoghue), a full-sister to Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician, is the Irish representative in this $1m contest. She has won both starts this time, scoring twice at Naas, latterly in Listed company at this trip under Saturday's rider.
She breaks from gate ten in a maximum 14-runner field headed by the exciting Lady Eli (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz), unbeaten in five career starts. She kept the European visitors at bay last year with a sparkling success in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf, since when she has had this race as her principal target.
"There's always some pressure when you have an undefeated horse," said trainer Chad Brown, who won last year's inaugural running with Minorette. "She's given us every indication in the morning that she's going to continue to run her 'A' race, but as she goes on, the races are always going to get harder. I'd anticipate this being the most difficult race she's been in, but she seems like she's up for it. She continues to improve."
One potential chink in the Lady Eli armour is that she has never before tried this 1m2f distance. Other threats include American Oaks winner Spanish Queen (Richard Baltas/Brice Blanc), promising Godolphin filly Sentiero Italia (Kiaran McLaughlin/Luis Saez) and German-trained Olorda (Michael Figge/John Velazquez), bought by Martin Schwartz after winning a Group 3 in France.
Belmont Park: Dwyer Stakes (Grade 3) 1m, dirt, 3yo (8.52pm BST, live on ATR)
There aren't many Grade 3 events carrying prize-money of $500,000, and Belmont's largesse here has been rewarded with the presence of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (Keith Desormeaux/Kent Desormeaux), making his comeback after a five-month absence following a foot abscess.
Belmont Park: Suburban Hcap (Grade 2) 1m2f, dirt, 4yo+ (10.11pm BST, live on ATR)
Last year's Belmont Stakes victor Tonalist (Christophe Clement/John Velazquez) is the sole Grade 1 winner on show, which explains why he is conceding at least 5lb to five rivals. All four of his previous Graded stakes wins have come here; he was second last time in the Met Mile, a much hotter race than this one. Brooklyn Handicap winner Coach Inge (Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz) may be the coming force.
Belmont Park: Belmont Sprint Championship (Grade 3) 7f, dirt, 3yo+ (11.23pm BST, live on ATR)
Among rivals here for three-time Grade 1 winner Private Zone (Jorge Navarro/Martin Pedroza) are last year's winner Clearly Now (Brian Lynch/Luis Saez) and The Big Beast (Tony Dutrow/John Velazquez), who took the King's Bishop at Saratoga in 2014.
Los Alamitos: Los Alamitos Derby (Grade 2) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo (1.43am Sun BST)
Twelve months after Shared Belief won this for Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer saddles another hot favourite in Kentuckian (Mike Smith), who took a Grade 3 by more than six lengths at Santa Anita in May. Santa Anita Derby runner-up Prospect Park (Cliff Size/Tyler Baze) looks a solid opponent.