Lane's End Racing and Hronis Racing's Flagstaff (Speightstown), fresh off a dramatic first Grade I victory in the May 1 Churchill Downs S., will be aiming for a third straight win when he goes postward in the GII True North S. at Belmont Park Friday. The 7-year-old gelding won the GIII Commonwealth S. at Keeneland Apr. 3 before outbattling Lexitonian (Speightstown) and Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) in a blanket finish in the Churchill Downs. He is cutting back from seven furlongs to
6 1/2 furlongs for the True North.
“It was great, he ran two dynamite races in Kentucky,” trainer John Sadler said. “Both of those races were seven furlongs, but we think that 6 1/2 furlongs should be good for him, also.”
The consistent gelding has hit the board in 16 of 19 starts with seven wins. He won last year's GII San Carlos S. and was second in four other 2020 graded events.
“He almost has no bad races on his form,” Sadler said. “He's just a nice honest horse and has run with top-class horses all the time. He's well-bred and he's a gelding, so we try to take good care of him and make him last.”
Mr Amore Stable's Firenze Fire (Poseidon's Warrior), winner of last year's True North, won the GIII Runhappy S. going six furlongs at Belmont May 8 in his 2021 unveiling. The 6-year-old gelding is six for nine over the Elmont oval, including a win in last year's GII Vosburgh Invitational S.
Long Lake Stable and Madaket Stables' Looking At Bikinis (Lookin at Lucky) returns to graded stakes action Friday following a seven-furlong optional-claimer score at Belmont Apr. 24. The 5-year-old was fourth in the 2019 GI Cigar Mile, but was sidelined for much of 2020, running off the board in just a pair of Kentucky optional claimers last fall.
“It's one of those things where he was able to knock out an allowance win there and has no more conditions to work with and you try a stakes with him,” trainer Chad Brown said. “I thought, between this and the Met Mile, it was an easier spot for him. With the cutback, hopefully he gets a strong pace and a clean outside trip where he can make a run.”
Lookin at Bikinis is a perfect three-for-three at Belmont, but Brown admitted the bay is a bit of an enigma.
“He's a funny horse,” Brown said. “Sometimes he shows up and runs great races and other times he's left us scratching our head. A wet track should be fine for him if it happens.”