The last time Treasure Beach ran on American soil, he won the Secretariat Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park on August 13, 2011. After the win, the Aidan O’Brien trained four year old colt was shipped to France and ran a poor 14th in the Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (G1) at Longchamps. Just two weeks later, he came back over the pond and ran 3rd in the $1,500,000 Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1) at Woodbine. The Galileo (IRE) colt was given the winter off before heading to Dubai where he ran 4th in the Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines (G1) at Meydan on March 31. Winner Cirrus des Aigles and runner-up St. Nicholas Abbey are considered among the best long distance turf horses in the World. His most recent race was again disappointing. He ran 9th in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong. Is the travel getting to this horse? I’m surprised he is back in the United States. O’Brien might give him the same schedule as Cape Blanco last season. He won the Man o’ War, Arlington Million and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes. Treasure Beach is certainly the class of this eight horse field and has raced against much better. However, the extensive travel over the past year, you wonder if that will continue to drop in another poor performance. He is a pace stalker and should be able to save enough energy to make a strong move and defeat this group. Jamie Spencer will accompany and ride the horse once again.
Trainer Bill Mott brings Newsdad into this race. His last race was April 27 in which he ran 5th in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland. He will most likely be the pacesetter in this contest. He ran against Treasure Beach in the Secretariat last summer and finished 6th. Since then, he’s won 3 of 7 races but just one in graded company. That was two starts ago in the Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The other two wins came in Allowance company. He would need to run his best career race to defeat a horse like Treasure Beach. The only way that could happen is if he gets a slow pace up front and saves just enough for the end. Jockey is Junior Alvarado.
Phipps Stables and trainer Shug McGaughey will saddle Point of Entry who won the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) last out. Despite slow fractions early on, he trailed the entire race and was able to put together a serious stretch run to win by 1 1/2 lengths. That was his first attempt in graded company. The four year old Dynaformer colt seems to be a late bloomer and rounding into form. He has back to back wins as he won an Allowance race prior to the Elkhorn. He is familiar with Belmont Park as he broke his maiden there last May and followed it up with a runner-up effort in an Allowance Optional Claiming $35,000. Jockey is Jose Lezcano.
Leading purse money earning trainer Todd Pletcher has the lightly raced five year old gelding Hudson Steele. Winner of 6 races in just 11 career starts with 9 top 3 finishes, had his two race win streak snapped with a 4th place result in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1) on June 9 at Belmont Park. He missed 3rd by a nose and was just 1 1/2 lengths from the winner Desert Blanc (GB). Previously, he won the Dixie Stakes (G2) and Henry S. Clark Stakes at Pimlico. He’ll be sitting behind Treasure Beach and Newsdad, so he will need to fire better than he did in the Woodford to have any chance. Jockey is Joe Bravo.
OTHERS IN THE FIELD
Tahoe Lake (BRZ), ran 2nd in the Elkhorn and 3rd in the Louisville Handicap (G3) before running a disappointing 7th in an Allowance Optional Claiming $50,000 at Belmont on June 29. Ken McPeek brings him back into graded company for a reason, so you have to think something went wrong last out. Could definitely be an exotic play in here. Jockey is Eddie Castro.
Center Divider also comes in from the Elkhorn Stakes where he finished 8th. Winner in 4 of 18 lifetime starts but none at the stakes level. His best performance this year was 4th in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream on February 26. His lone win in 2012 came on January 21 in an Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000. He is trained by Chad Brown and will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
Christophe Clement brings Philly Ace into this contest after posting back to back wins at Monmouth Park in Allowance Optional Claiming $32,000 and at Belmont Park in Allowance Optional Claiming $75,000. Those were his first starts since finishing 7th in the Discovery Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on November 19. He’s never run further than 1 1/8 miles, so the jury is out on his capabilities. He has shown that he can rate or come from far behind, so it won’t matter what the pace is like early on.
The final horse in this field is Game Ball. Previously trained by leading Woodbine trainer Mark Casse, now in the Naipaul Chatterpaul barn has never been in a stakes race. He’s won 10 of 20 career races but all in the claiming and allowance ranks. If he finishes anything other than last, I will be surprised. David Cohen gets the call.
Click here to view the other three graded stakes races.