'Rising Star' Stage Raider Makes It Two Straight at Belmont

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Stage Raider | Chelsea Durand

8th-Belmont, $89,240, Alw (NW1$X), Opt. Clm ($80,000), 5-14, 3yo, 1m, 1:38.22, ft, 3 lengths.
STAGE RAIDER (c, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Stage Magic {Broodmare of the Year, GSP, $133,981}, by Ghostzapper) would have given those who backed him into 1-20 favoritism a bit of a scare in upper stretch, but he rallied through a tight spot at the fence to clear his first allowance condition Friday at Belmont. The half-brother to Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy, Horse of the Year, Ch. 3yo Colt, MGISW, $3,798,000); and to The Lieutenant (Street Sense), GSW, $345,882, was popped away from the stalls by Eric Cancel, but then was eased back and rated along from fourth. A joint-last passing halfway, the Gunther homebred was slipped a bit of rein at the three-eighths and was just off the leaders' heels nearing the stretch. Though there appeared to be an option to ease back and around pacesetting Purple Hearted (Normandy Invasion) with a furlong and a half to travel, Cancel gambled up the paint, and though it took a few strides, Stage Raider hit the gap and kicked home to score by three lengths. A $950,000 buyback out of the 2019 Keeneland September sale, Stage Raider was a distant second to 'TDN Rising Star' Prevalence (Medaglia d'Oro) in a seven-furlong Gulfstream maiden Jan. 23 before earning the 'Rising Star' nod for a 10 3/4-length defeat of Harvard (Pioneerof the Nile) in the Keeneland slop Apr. 10. The latter, a full-brother to champion Classic Empire, returned to graduate easily at Indiana Grand May 13. Stage Magic, a Grade III-placed daughter of GI CCA Oaks third-place getter Magical Illusion (Pulpit), is the dam of a yearling filly by Curlin and was most recently bred back to thatstallion. Sales history: $950,000 RNA Ylg '19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $106,170. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O/B-John D Gunther (KY); T-Chad C Brown.

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