Godolphin homebred Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper), off since winning the G1 Dubai World Cup in March, makes his stateside return in the GII Suburban S. at Belmont Park Saturday. The Suburban, a 'Win and You're In' race for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, will feature a rematch between the handsome chestnut and Happy Saver (Super Saver), who bested him by 3/4 lengths in last year's GI Jockey Club Gold Cup.
In addition to his runner-up effort in the Gold Cup last October, Mystic Guide's 3-year-old campaign also included a win in the GII Jim Dandy S. He prepped for his trip to Dubai with a six-length romp over a sloppy track in the Feb. 27 GIII Razorback H., for which he earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.
“Obviously, we don't really know how much the sloppy track played into that number,” said trainer Mike Stidham. “He came back in the Dubai World Cup and made the number look like it was real, which was good. We've given him plenty of time and he's had three months since that race to bounce back. Looking at him train and his weight and his coat, he's an absolute picture right now.”
Wertheimer and Frere's Happy Saver is now unbeaten in five career starts after returning from his Gold Cup win last fall with a one-mile allowance tally at Belmont May 28. The 4-year-old debuted a winner last June at Belmont and added a Saratoga allowance victory July 26 before winning the Sept. 7 Federico Tesio S.
“I think as an older horse he's a little more laid back in some of his works,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of Happy Saver. “He always performs well and he's really filled out and matured. For the way he ran in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last year, he's proven he likes that distance and that race looks even stronger now with what Mystic Guide has done.”
Of Mystic Guide's rematch with Happy Saver, Stidham said, “The bottom line is that they're both very good horses. I'm not taking anything for granted. I know Happy Saver has never been beaten and it won't be an easy race for us. I just hope we have the best horse.”
Pletcher also saddles Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Moretti (Medaglia d'Oro), who was second behind Tacitus (Tapit) in last year's Suburban. The 5-year-old was a front-running victor of the 1 3/4-mile Birdstone S. last August in his final 2020 outing. He resurfaced with a third-place effort in the 1 1/2-mile GII Brooklyn S. at Belmont June 5.
“The farther the better for him,” said Pletcher. “He ran OK in here last year and this would be a nice bridge to the Birdstone to try and defend his title there.”