Performer Returns Running at Belmont

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Performer | Coglianese

3rd-Belmont, $67,900, Alw (C), Opt. Clm ($80,000), 10-17, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:33.93, my, 1 3/4 lengths.
PERFORMER (c, 4, Speightstown–Protesting {GSP, $213,050}, by A.P. Indy) made light work of his first start since taking the GIII Discovery S. last November, galloping home as easy as you please in a one-mile Belmont allowance Saturday afternoon. Quickly into stride beneath Joel Rosario, the attractive chestnut colt raced a touch keenly from third while hugging the rail through solid opening splits. Rosario decided he could wait no longer rounding the turn and allowed the 3-10 chalk to accelerate to the inside of pacesetting Musical Heart (Maclean’s Music) and the pair hit the front with three furlongs to race. With his rider hard against him and with his ears flopping back and forth, Performer held Musical Heart at a safe distance before being allowed to run just a touch through the final half-furlong. The winning margin was a measured 1 3/4 lengths. Winner of two of his first three trips to the post racing solely for the Phippses, Performer had a new part-owner in the form of Claiborne when strolling home the 1 3/4-length winner of an 8 1/2-furlong allowance locally last Sept. 29. Trying two turns for the first time in the Discovery, Performer pressed a moderate early pace, raced to the front a furlong from home and had 3/4 of a length on Tax (Arch) at the wire. “I was excited about it, but I was a little nervous about it as the morning went on,” trained Shug McGaughey told NYRA’s Maggie Wolfendale after the race. “He’d been training well. It’s been a go-and-stop year. He was going to run in the [GI] Carter [H.] on Wood day and then he was going to run in the Carter on June 6, but we had to stop him and take care of some things. I was very, very pleased with what I saw.” After inclement weather earlier in the week forced the postponement of Performer’s final pre-race work, McGaughey breezed him a more sedate half-mile in :49 1/5 just two days prior. “It probably would have been more the first of the week and probably a little more solid, but I have done that in the past,” the Hall of Famer said when asked by Wolfendale if a work that close to a race is typical for him. “Sometimes I think it’s good for horses, kind of brush them up a little bit. When you do it, you hope they come out of it good and he did.” McGaughey said Performer could make his next start in the $250,000 GI Cigar Mile H. at Aqueduct Dec. 5. “If he comes out of [Saturday’s race] good, that’s what our plans are. Hopefully we can have a 5-year-old year with him. That wasn’t originally our plan, but when we got curtailed with the COVID stuff, that’s a good possibility.” Protesting, runner-up in the 2009 GII Demoiselle S., is also the dam of Breaking the Rules (War Front), SW & GSP, $333,127, the morning-line favorite for Sunday’s GII Knickerbocker S., and is herself a daughter of GSP On Parade (Storm Cat). The latter, a full-sister to champion Storm Flag Flying, is responsible for GSW Parading (Pulpit). Performer’s third dam is undefeated Personal Ensign (Private Account)’s daughter My Flag (Easy Goer), who counted the 1995 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies among her four top-level scores. Protesting was most recently bred to Runhappy. Lifetime Record: GSW, 6-5-0-1, $295,500. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Phipps Stable & Claiborne Farm; B-Phipps Stable (KY); T-Claude R McGaughey III.

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