The Belmont Stakes is obviously the highlight of Saturday’s racing card, but its definitely not the only race of interest. There are four other graded stakes races on the undercard with the most significant being the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1), a race in which a horse named Boisterous is looking to dominate.
Boisterous established himself as one of the sports’ turf racing superstars in 2011, taking victories in the Grade 2 Red Smith and Grade 3 Knickerbocker. He’s now won three of his last four races heading into Saturday’s Manhattan–his only loss was his 2012 debut at Gulfstream Park. He rebounded nicely from that defeat, taking a narrow victory in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap. His trainer, Shug McGaughey, thinks his horse’s best racing is yet to come and thinks he’ll be strong at the longer distance:
“He had a good race in the Fort Marcy and a mile and one-sixteenth is probably not his bag. So I feel pretty good coming back Saturday at a mile and one-quarter.”
McGaughey’s ultimate goal this year is the Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic:
“I kind of got sidetracked and backed up with him a little last summer, which kept us from considering the Breeders’ Cup. But he finished the year up strong. This year the Breeders’ Cup is our goal and if we do go it will be in the Turf. The mile race would go too fast for him.”
His more immediate challenge, The Manhattan, will definitely not be a cakewalk. He’s facing a strong field including Hudson Steele, Brilliant Speed, Al Khali, Omayad, Papaw Bodie, and Top Surprize. Boisterous will look to come from off the pace with the aptly named Brilliant Speed and the Todd Pletcher trained Hudson Steele setting the pace.
The highly competitive race should make for an exciting betting opportunity on the Belmont Stakes 2012 undercard. Currently, Boisterous is the third choice behind the aforementioned speedsters at odds of 7-2. Hudson Steele is the race favorite at 5-2 with Brilliant Speed the second choice at 3-1. Only three of the entries in the eight horse field are priced at double digit odds, a reflection of the highly competitive nature of this race.