‘TDN Rising Star’ O/B-Isabelle de Tomaso (NJ). T-H. G. Motion. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 6-4-0-0, $699,460.
Last Start: 10th, GI Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands., CD, May 6
Beyond what you see on paper, Irish War Cry is a serious win threat in the GI Belmont S. simply off of his trainer’s decision to enter him, because Motion is not one of those conditioners who deviates from a stated plan without a legitimate, horse-centric reason. His initial post-Derby intent was to freshen “Irish” until the GI Haskell Invitational on July 30, but “he’s had a good couple of weeks,” Motion said. “I can honestly say this was not my original plan. After the Derby, when he ran so disappointingly, I wanted to go home and just forget about the Triple Crown, which is what the Derby does to you when you don’t run well. He breezed well last weekend, and I felt he needed to be here.” After racing three or four paths wide on both turns, this ‘TDN Rising Star’ was one of three horses who quickened away from the rest of the pack turning for home in the Derby, but Irish War Cry couldn’t match strides with Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) and, in Motion’s post-race assessment, jockey Rajiv Maragh “went from having a lot of horse to not having a lot of horse in three strides.” Yet that 10th-place Derby try shouldn’t be the measuring stick for Irish War Cry moving forward, especially when you consider 1) The flashes of raw brilliance he displayed at the outset of his career; 2) The fact that his two biggest wins (the Holy Bull S. and Wood Memorial) both came off five-week freshenings, just like he’ll get going into the Belmont; 3) The extreme likelihood that the pace-pressing New Jersey-bred will control or push the tempo over 12 furlongs on Saturday. In sum, the third jewel of the Triple Crown is Irish War Cry’s race to win or lose–and it’s also his chance to wrest control of a wide-open division as the 3-year-old season shifts into its unofficial second half after the running of the Belmont S.