Saratoga Derby Top Three Meet Again in Open Belmont Derby

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Domestic Spending (GB) | Sarah Andrew

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The first three across the wire in a blanket finish in the Saratoga Derby Invitational S. last month will reconvene along with some interesting new shooters in Saturday's GI Belmont Derby Invitational S. at Big Sandy, a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Narrowly victorious at the Spa was Klaravich Stables' Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}), given slight morning-line favoritism here at 5-2. Bought for 300,000 guineas at Tattersalls October in 2018, the gelding graduated on debut at even-money Feb. 12 at Tampa and repeated with a fast finish in a mile allowance here June 7. Left with too much to do when third in the GII Hall of Fame S. July 18 at the Spa, he showed tactical speed for the first time in the Saratoga Derby and ground out a head victory.

Just missing was runner-up Gufo (Declaration of War). Graduating at second asking Dec. 29 at Gulfstream, the chestnut scored last-to-first victories in an optional claimer and the English Channel S. there Mar. 27 and May 2, respectively before making it three in a row with a half-length success in the GIII Kent S. July 4 at Delaware.

Wertheimer et Frere's No Word (Silent Name {Jpn}) was a debut winner last summer at Saratoga and finished fifth as the favorite in the GIII Pilgrim S. in his juvenile finale. Third in a pair of tries this summer, the dark bay narrowly annexed a local optional claiming July 9 before running third at 18-1 in the Saratoga Derby.

Two last-out stakes winners add to the fray. Moon Over Miami (Malibu Moon), who was briefly on the GI Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year, scored a Churchill allowance victory on grass June 20 before running fourth at 14-1 in the Hall of Fame and drawing in off the also-eligible list to take the Gun Runner Dueling Grounds Derby Sept. 10 at Kentucky Downs. Godolphin's Pixelate (City Zip), second or third in five straight stakes tries as a 3-year-old–including a runner-up finish to Gufo in the Kent–surged late to get up by a head in the GII Del Mar Derby Sept. 6.

Rounding out the major contenders is Venezuelan Hug (Constitution). Claimed from Orlyana Farm and Alexis Delgado when running third in a $40,000 maiden claimer Mar. 25 at Gulfstream, the gray dominated Florida-bred maiden special weight rivals next out Apr. 25 and repeated in a starter optional claimer May 30. Not quite ready for prime time when last of six in the GII Pennine Ridge S. here June 20, he bounced back with a sharp allowance success Aug. 9 at Saratoga and shows a pair of bullet half-mile works over Saratoga's Oklahoma turf for Danny Gargan in this return to stakes company.

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