Man O War the Top Draw At Belmont Closing Weekend

All eight entrants will be seeking their first Grade 1 victory, but Saturday's $600,000 Man 'o War at Belmont Park still features a couple of the top U.S. turf horses in training, Boisterous and Optimizer. They figure to vie for favoritism in the 1 3/8-mile affair on the inner course.

Bill Mott’s Al Khali, Group 3 winner Speaking of Which, Pan American H. (G3) star Twilight Eclipse, Fort Marcy (G3) runner-up Bombaguia and Exclusive Strike, a big winner of two straight over lesser, add to the likely starters in this spot.

Belmont will also offer the $100,000 Solar Splendor for three-year-olds and a nice field of nine has been entered for the 1 1/16-mile inner turf test. Chad Brown has entered a pair of top contenders in Noble Tune and Balance the Books.

Other Man 'o War Stakes and other news

By Handicappers Edge
July 12, 2013

All eight entrants will be seeking their first Grade 1 victory, but Saturday's $600,000 Man 'o War at Belmont Park still features a couple of the top U.S. turf horses in training, Boisterous and Optimizer. They figure to vie for favoritism in the 1 3/8-mile affair on the inner course.

Boisterous is five for eight on Belmont's turf, including back-to-back wins in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker (2011-12) and last year's Grade 3 Fort Marcy, and the multiple Grade 2 hero has replaced the injured Point of Entry as the leading turf horse in Shug McGaughey's barn. The six-year-old returned to the races this year with a closing second to Successful Dan in the April 21 Ben Ali on Keeneland's Polytrack before scoring a 1 1/4-length triumph in the June 9 Monmouth on turf.

A son of Distorted Humor, Boisterous loves the 11-furlong distance (4-3-0-1) and shows a pair of bullet works in preparation. John Velazquez, who regained the mount in the Monmouth, will ride.

Optimizer recorded a pair of Grade 3 wins on Fair Grounds' turf earlier this season and enters the Man o' War off a trio of placings versus better rivals. Second to Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic three back, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt posted a fast-finishing third, beaten only a half-length, in the Dixie at Pimlico prior to a runner-up finish in the June 8 Manhattan at Belmont, threatening to win in deep stretch before weakening slightly against the odds-on Point of Entry.

A four-year-old son of English Channel, Optimizer will keep Joel Rosario in the saddle.

Twilight Eclipse, a sharp winner of the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park two back for trainer Tom Albertrani, is eligible to improve upon his fifth-place effort in the Manhattan off a freshening. Javier Castellano will guide the four-year-old gelding. Speaking of Which, an Irish Group 3 scorer and second in the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita last year, also merits consideration. After opening 2013 with a dull sixth as the favorite in the May 4 Fort Marcy, the Christophe Clement-trained four-year-old colt logged a confidence-building, 2 3/4-length win in a June 21 optional claimer at Monmouth Park. He will return to stakes competition with new rider Jose Lezcano.

Grade 1 runner-up Finnegans Wake, fourth in the Manhattan, will attempt to keep moving forward in his third start of the year for trainer Dale Romans. Seven-year-old Al Khali, a Grade 2 winner and two-time Grade 1 runner-up for Bill Mott, has run well over the course previously but will need to rebound Saturday following a pair of disappointing unplaced efforts.

Exclusive Strike and Folk Singer, a pair of longshot recent claimers, round out the field.

Bet the Man o' War stakes online right here at!

Past Man 'o War Stakes Winners

Year: Horse: Trainer Jockey
2012 Point of Entry Claude R. McGaughey III Jose Lezcano
2011 Cape Blanco (IRE) Aidan P. O'Brien Jamie P. Spencer
2010 Gio Ponti Christophe Clement Ramon Dominguez
2009 Gio Ponti Christophe Clement Ramon Dominguez
2008 Red Rocks (IRE) Brian Meehan Javier Castellano
2007 Doctor Dino Richard Gibson Olivier Peslier
2006 Cacique Bobby Frankel Edgar Prado
2005 Better Talk Now H. Graham Motion Ramon Dominguez
2004 Magistretti Patrick Biancone Edgar Prado
2003 Lunar Sovereign Kiaran McLaughlin Richard Migliore
2002 With Anticipation Jonathan Sheppard Pat Day
2001 With Anticipation Jonathan Sheppard Pat Day
2000 Fantastic Light Saeed bin Suroor Jerry Bailey
1999 Val's Prince H. James Bond Jorge Chavez
1998 Daylami (IRE) Saeed Bin Suroor Jerry Bailey
1997 Influent Howard M. Tesher Jerry Bailey
1996 Diplomatic Jet James Picou Jorge Chavez
1995 Millkom (GB) Jean Claude Rouget Gary Stevens
1994 Royal Mountain Inn Barclay Tagg Julie Krone
1993 Star of Cozzene Mark Hennig Jose Santos
1992 Solar Splendor Patrick J. Kelly Herb McCauley
1991 Solar Splendor Patrick J. Kelly Herb McCauley
1990 Defensive Play Guy Harwood Pat Eddery
1989 Yankee Affair Henry L. Carroll Jose Santos
1988 Sunshine Forever John Veitch Angel Cordero Jr.
1987 Theatrical William Mott Pat Day
1986 Dance of Life MacK. Miller Pat Day
1985 Win Sally A. Bailie Richard Migliore
1984 Majesty's Prince Joseph B. Cantey Vince Bracciale Jr.
1983 Majesty's Prince Joseph B. Cantey Eddie Maple
1982 Naskra's Breeze Phil Johnson Jean-Luc Samyn
1981 Galaxy Libra Charles Whittingham William Shoemaker
1980 French Colonial David A. Whiteley Jacinto Vasquez
1979 Bowl Game John M. Gaver Jr. Jorge Velasquez
1978 Waya Angel Penna Angel Cordero Jr.
1977 Majestic Light John W. Russell Sandy Hawley
1976 Effervescing John W. Russell Angel Cordero Jr.
1975 Snow Knight MacK. Miller Jorge Velasquez
1974 Dahlia Maurice Zilber Ron Turcotte
1973 Secretariat Lucien Laurin Ron Turcotte
1972 Typecast Tommy Doyle Angel Cordero Jr.
1971 Run The Gantlet Elliott Burch Robert Woodhouse
1970 Fort Marcy Elliott Burch Jorge Velasquez
1969 Hawaii MacK. Miller Jorge Velasquez
1968 Czar Alexander Angel Penna Jorge Velasquez
1967 Ruffled Feathers John A. Nerud David Hidalgo
1966 Asagai MacK. Miller Larry Adams
1965 Hill Rise William B. Finnegan Manuel Ycaza
1964 Turbo Jet II H. Grant
1963 The Axe II J. L. Rotz
1962 Beau Purple W. Boland
1961 Wise Ship H. Gustines
1960 Harmonizing J. Ruane
1959 Dotted Line W. Boland
1959 Tudor Era W. Hartack