Sibelius To Make U.S. Return In Aristides

Sibelius (nearest) | Horsephotos

Jun Park and Delia Nash's Sibelius (Not This Time), last seen posting a thrilling victory in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse Mar. 25, will bypass the GII True North S. at Belmont Park June 10 in favor of next weekend's $225,000 Listed Aristides S. at Churchill Downs, trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer said Monday.

“He's stabled here at Keeneland and it's only up the road,” the conditioner told the NYRA press office. “We'll have a look at the race and see what post position we get and how the race is shaping up. If we like what we've got we'll run him there, but we'll still keep the True North in mind.”

Since defeating defending champion Switzerland (Speightstown) on Dubai World Cup night, Sibelius has breezed three times at Keeneland, including a leisurely half-mile in :50 flat with O'Dwyer in the saddle May 27.

“He's a fun horse to ride. I just wanted a smooth, relaxed breeze. If you put certain riders on him, he'll roll in :46 every time on the bridle if you let him,” O'Dwyer said. “I let him have a nice gallop out and get a bit of air in his lungs. We know he's a very fast horse, but we wanted to make sure that foundation is still underneath him.”

O'Dwyer said Sibelius, who gained something of a cult following during his time in the Emirates, has recovered nicely from the journey.

“He's done great. We gave him some time off and let him relax and put all his weight back on,” O'Dwyer said. “We jogged him at Keeneland for a week and he was jumping out of his skin, so he went back to galloping. He's had three breezes since and his fitness level is good and his energy level is good. He's bright, happy and content. That's all we want. Happy horses run for you and he seems pretty happy right now.”

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