Boisterous on his way to winning the Man o' War StakesPICTURE: Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Boisterous makes most of Man o' War opening
Report: USA, Saturday
Belmont Park: Man o' War Stakes (Grade 1) 1m3f, turf, 3yo+
SIX times a winner in lesser Graded stakes, Boisterous (Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez) finally hit the mark at the top level with a decisive victory over a substandard field for the Man o' War.
On a night dominated by turf racing in the States, the six-year-old claimed this prestigious $600,000 event by two-and-a-quarter lengths over Twilight Eclipse to give his connections their second consecutive victory following Point Of Entry 12 months ago.
That multiple Grade 1 winner is now sidelined through injury, leaving the way clear for his consistent stablemate - who also carried the famous black and red Phipps silks - to break through in Grade 1 company.
However, the lack of depth to the eight-runner contest was amply demonstrated by the winner's having been sent off favourite, at a dividend only slightly better than 6-4 on the pari-mutuel.
Boisterous was produced from mid-division to move into contention three out before forging clear in the stretch to score readily on ground labelled 'good'.
"I'm going to smile on this one, because this horse deserves to win a Grade 1," said trainer Shug McGaughey.
"He had been training so good. His three races this year have all been really good. We kind of caught a turf today we liked. I was looking for a little bit of rain. I'm tickled to death, not for me, but for the horse."
Races like the Sword Dancer, Arlington Million and Pacific Classic are now in the melting pot for Boisterous.
>>Javier Castellano, who rode Twilight Eclipse to finish second in the Man o' War, had five winners on the Belmont card. The Venezuelan is sure to finish the New York's track's spring-summer meet as top rider for the first time.
Also on Saturday
Hollywood Park: American Oaks (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo fillies
Already a Grade 1 winner on the Polytrack at Keeneland following her nine-length romp in the Ashland Stakes, Emollient (Bill Mott/Mike Smith) now also has a top-level victory on turf to her name after a game effort.
Shipped in from New York, Juddmonte's daughter of Empire Maker was sent off 6-5 favourite for this $350,000 contest, where Mike Smith sent her up to contest the lead on the far turn with Sarach, who had set a dawdling pace. She then held Emotional Kitten to win by a neck in a determined effort.
Hollywood Park: A Gleam Hcap (Grade 2) 7f, AW, 3yo+ f/m
We can expect to see Book Review (Bob Baffert/Rafael Bejarano) in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint after the four-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway came three wide in the stretch to beat fellow Grade 1 winners Teddy's Promise and Byrama.
Arlington Park: Arlington Hcap (Grade 3) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
Track specialist Rahystrada (Byron Hughes/Rosie Napravnik) won this Arlington Million trial for the third time. The nine-year-old former claimer is now line for his fourth crack at the Million, where he finished third last year.
Pacific Classic winner Dullahan was third in Saturday's race on his first outing after two dismal efforts at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Arlington Park: American Derby (Grade 3) 1m1½f, turf, 3yo
Team Valor's Infinite Magic (Rick Mettee/Channing Hill), twice a winner on synthetics in Britain for former trainer Jeremy Noseda, just got the better of the favourite Admiral Kitten by a head, with Stormy Len just touched off for second place.
Sent off an unfancied 12-1 shot, the winner stopped the clock in a useful 1m55.31s and is now likely to come back to Chicago for the Grade 1 Secretariat next month.
Colonial Downs: Virginia Derby (Grade 3) 1m2f, turf, 3yo
The 7-1 chance War Dancer (Ken McPeek/Alan Garcia) came out of top in tight finish to this $500,000 contest, scoring by a head over Charming Kitten and Jack Milton, who flew home late.
Trainer Ken McPeek is now eyeing the Breeders' Cup, though which race is uppermost in his thoughts remains a mystery.