Vosburgh Preview: Engage Makes Long-Awaited Return
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Courtesy of Curtis Kalleward of the Racing Dudes
ELMONT, NY - Woodford Racing’s Engage, fourth in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), makes his long-awaited return to the races for his first start of the year in Saturday’s $150,000 Vosburgh Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
The winner of the Vosburgh will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The Vosburgh is a 6-furlong dirt sprint open to horses ages 3 and up, with the 2020 edition attracting six runners.
Let’s look at the full field:
#1 True Timber – He makes his third start back after running third in back-to-back sprints, including the Forego Stakes (G1) last time out. He has a 6-3-0-2 record at this distance, most recently over this course 2 years ago, but he’ll need to reverse his fortunes at this level - he’s yet to find victory in 17 prior stakes attempts.
#2 Funny Guy – He kicked off his 2020 campaign with back-to-back one-turn scores in New York-bred stakes at Belmont Park and Saratoga, then finished fourth in the Forego last time out. He’s never attempted to run a race this short before, but he seems to relish sprinting and is one of two entries from trainer John Terranova II.
#3 Stan the Man – The second runner for Terranova II exits a victory in the 6-furlong Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga, his second straight strong performance after a runner-up effort in the True North Stakes (G2) over this course. He came within a neck of winning the local Westchester Stakes (G3) in 2019 and picks up Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
#4 Share the Ride – He was a dominating winner of the 6-furlong Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park just two weeks ago and must deal with a quick turnaround, but he’s proven to run strongly on short rest before. He’s either won or finished second in 3 of the 5 starts that he’s made since July 5, with each on-the-board effort coming over dirt.
#5 Firenze Fire – He returns to his favorite track; he’s won a stakes here in each of his 4 racing seasons, including the True North. He ran well in the Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga in July but posted clunkers in both the Carter Handicap (G1) and the Forego Stakes (G1), though each poor effort came at 7 furlongs and on sloppy tracks.
#6 Engage – He won back-to-back 6-furlong stakes last fall, including the Phoenix (G2), another Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” that gifted him a berth in the Sprint. He finished fourth behind fellow Steve Asmussen trainee Mitole, and though this is his first start since early November, Asmussen has a 17% success rate with horses returning from similar layoffs.
The Vosburgh serves as race 9 and is one of two stakes on the Saturday card at Belmont Park. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue Sunday at Santa Anita Park with the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (Sprint) and the Zenyatta (Longines Distaff).
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com.
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