Submitted by John Conte on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Belmont Park: Pletcher has juveniles for pair of sprints
ELMONT, N.Y. – It has taken until Day 40 of the 56-day Belmont spring/summer meet for an open-company 2-year-old race to fill. On Friday, there is a pair of juvenile races, one for males and one for females, that highlight a Party at the Park nine-race card that begins at 3 p.m.
In 2012, trainer Todd Pletcher won 66 races restricted to 2-year-olds, and the first juvenile he ran in New York, Shanghai Bobby, went undefeated, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and was voted champion juvenile male.
Naturally, Pletcher will be represented in both 2-year-old races Friday with the filly Candy Kitty, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, in the second, and None Like Nolan, a son of Malibu Moon, in the third. Both races are at five furlongs.
Candy Kitty, purchased as a yearling for $185,000 by Starlight Racing, has a pedigree that suggests she might prefer turf, but “up to this point she has not suggested in her training that she needs turf,” Pletcher said.
Candy Kitty will break from post 3 under John Velazquez. She will face five rivals, including a Darley Stable-owned entry of Aldara, trained by Tom Albertrani, and Palestrina, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
Albertrani said Aldara, by Street Cry, “wants to go longer on pedigree, but you got to start them somewhere.”
Albertrani also will send out True Blue Nation, a daughter of Bluegrass Cat, who has a healthy work tab that dates back to March.
“She’s a little more precocious,” Albertrani said.
In the third race, for males, the Pletcher-trained None Like Nolan, a $135,000 yearling purchase by Dogwood Stable, shows a pretty solid work tab for his debut while awaiting the first juvenile race to fill.
“He’s been very straightforward, very professional, a very forthcoming kind of 2-year-old,” Pletcher said.
Trainer Kelly Breen entered two horses, but plans to run just Solemnly Swear, who Breen has been pointing to a race in New York for a while.
The New York Racing Association offers a $100,000 bonus for a 2-year-old who wins a maiden race at this meet and goes on to win a graded juvenile stakes at a NYRA track this year. Breen and his owners, George and Lori Hall, earned that bonus with Bern Identity last year.
Solemnly Swear worked a bullet half-mile in 47.40 seconds over the Belmont training track June 10.
“We never really stepped on the grass too much,” Breen said.
Albertrani has two horses in this heat, with Aslan, a son of A.P. Indy who probably wants more ground, and Zalmon, a half-brother to six winners who will break from the outside under Luis Saez.
“He’s been precocious,” Albertrani said of Zalmon. “I think he’ll come out and make a nice account of himself.”
Trainer Rick Violette, known for early success with his 2-year-olds, sends out Permanent Campaign, a son of Sky Mesa, from the rail, on Friday with leading rider Javier Castellano up.
“I think he’s a nice horse,” Violette said. “If you’re hell-bent for leather to win first time out, the one hole can be an advantage. I hate it. You have to really leave there and be on the lead. I’d really not like to be on the lead. I’d like to be in the pocket.”