(Field of 13 ready for Saturday’s Spectacular Bid at Belmont Park / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
A full field of 13 that includes stakes-winners and a Breeders’ Cup participant will take aim at Saturday’s $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Spectacular Bid for eligible New York-sired 3-year-olds going seven furlongs on the Belmont Park Widener turf course.
The 15th running of the NYSSS Spectacular Bid is one of two New York stallion stakes on Saturday’s docket, along with the $150,0000 Cupecoy’s Joy for sophomore fillies that is also contested at seven furlongs on the Widener course.
Dreamer’s Disease will return to the turf after five consecutive main track appearances, including a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Keeneland. Trainer Robertino Diodoro said the son of Laoban exited his last-out fifth place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Texas Derby over a sloppy and sealed track at Lone Star Park in good order and will now return to the turf, where he broke his maiden at second asking in August at Ellis Park.
“The horse has settled in here at Belmont quite well and we’re excited to get him back on the grass and against New York-sired company,” Diodoro said. “We think this will be more to his liking. We were looking to get him back here and we thought this was a perfect spot. He ran great on the grass at Ellis and we thought this matched up well.”
Dreamer’s Disease, owned by Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith, was bred in Kentucky by Southern Equine Stables. He started the year with a sixth-place effort in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby Day in May at Churchill Downs. He will be making his second start in a NYSSS race after running seventh in the Great White Way in a contest won by fellow Spectacular Bid contender Hold the Salsa in December at Aqueduct Racetrack.
David Cohen will ride from post 6.
“It really helps to have a horse with versatility,” Diodoro said. “Between the grass and New York-sired stakes, I think he’ll fit in quite well. He has natural speed and I think the seven-eighths will hit him right on the head. I think the distance will be perfect for him.”
Step Dancer, owned by Hayward Pressman, Diamond M Stable and Donna Pressman, won his debut in September at Saratoga and followed with a third-place finish in his first race at Belmont in the Grade 2 Pilgrim in October. The Barclay Tagg trainee capped his juvenile year with a three-quarter length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Awad in October at Belmont.
After a nearly five-month break, Step Dancer made his 2021 bow in the Cutler Bay, finishing eighth in March at Gulfstream Park. Returning to Belmont, the War Dancer colt ran third against state-bred optional claimers on May 13.
Step Dancer, bred in New York by Sugar Plum Farm and Richard Pressman, will be contesting a sprint for the first time in his career, as each of his first five starts were contested going at least one mile. Dylan Davis will return to ride from post 13.
Repole Stable’s Devious Mo, winner of the NYSSS Times Square in April going 6 1/2 furlongs on Aqueduct’s main track, will make his first career turf start.
Devious Mo ran sixth last out in the Mike Lee held on a muddy and sealed Belmont track on May 31 and will now get the chance to see if grass can suit his style. The Laoban colt posted a personal-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory two months ago at Aqueduct and has won two of his four starts this year before trainer Rudy Rodriguez decided to make the surface change.
“The Mike Lee was pretty tough; he never ran his race, so hopefully now he likes the grass on Saturday,” Rodriguez said. “You have to see what they can do. This race is worth a lot of money, and with it being a stallion series, you want to take advantage of the opportunity. Hopefully, he likes the grass and we’ll take it from there. He looks like a grass horse.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. who is set to return to racing Thursday after missing just two weeks after injuries sustained in a spill on June 4, is tabbed to ride from the inside post.
Hold the Salsa, owned, bred and trained by Richard Lugovich, will also compete on turf for the first time, making his first start in more than five months after running third in the Jerome on New Year’s Day at the Big A.
As a 2-year-old, Hold the Salsa posted a 3-0-1 record in six starts, winning his debut in July at Belmont. Since that effort, the Hold Me Back colt has made six consecutive stakes appearances, including a pair of wins in seven-furlong sprints in the Bertram F. Bongard on October 2 at Belmont and the NYSSS Great White Way on December 6 at Aqueduct.
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride from post 11.
The King Cheek, owned by Morris Kernan, Jr. and Jagger Inc., will make his Belmont debut with momentum after running second to Gershwin by two lengths in the off-the-turf Grade 3 Penn Mile on May 28 at Penn National. Trained by Jamie Ness, the Laoban gelding made his first 10 starts on the main track but will run on turf for the first time, drawing post 7 with Jaime Rodriguez aboard.
Conditioner George Weaver will send out King Moonracer, who will be looking to notch his maiden-breaking score after running third and second, respectively, in his first two starts on turf at Belmont. Owned by Spa City Stables, the Mission Impazible gelding, bred in the Empire State by Sequel Stallions New York, Twin Creeks and Eisaman Farms, finished one length back to Saratoga Flash in a runner-up effort last out sprinting six furlongs. Luis Saez will ride from post 5. Weaver also entered Sinful Dancer for the main track only.
DiRicio Racing and Breeding’s Jacks American Pie is coming off his turf debut with a sixth-place finish last out on May 28 at Belmont. Trained by Chad Summers, the Micromanage gelding won once in the his first six starts on dirt before being switched to grass. Luis Rodriguez Castro will have the call from post 9.
Rounding out the field is Ocala Dream, who broke his maiden for Tom Morley in his fourth start on May 23 at Belmont, in his first stakes race [post 4, Junior Alvarado]; Barrage, a maiden for trainer Armando De La Cerda, from post 10 [Eric Cancel]; It’s Gravy, third in the Damon Runyon in March and also in the NYSSS Times Square, for conditioner Kelly Breen [post 12, Joel Rosario]; Dancing Buck, who ran fourth in the Gander in February at Aqueduct before topping state-bred allowance company on the same track in April for trainer Michelle Nevin [post 2, Manny Franco]; Thunderbird Café, a maiden winner at second asking on May 8, for trainer Linda Rice [post 3, Hall of Famer John Velazquez]; and Market Alert, runner-up last out in the Mike Lee making his turf debut for trainer James Ryerson [post 8, Jose Lezcano].
Gods Will is also entered for the main track only.