More Rain Jeopardizes Big A Turf Races; the Joe Hirsch, Jockey Club Derby, Waya, Belmont Turf Sprint  

Rebel’s Romance Looks to Rebound in Joe Hirsch; Webslinger in Jockey Club Invitational

When Charlie Appleby sends out a horse in America, there’s little doubt horseplayers are aware that a winning performance is in the cards.

Among the world’s top trainers, the Englishman sends out 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Rebel’s Romance in Saturday’s $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at the Belmont at the Big A meet.

The 1 ½-mile turf marathon was rescheduled from a week ago due to inclement weather, with only one defection – Adhamo, trained by Chad Brown.

Is another rainout in the cards?

 However, the weather doesn’t look promising for Saturday’s turf races – rain all day Friday (Oct. 6) followed by showers and thunderstorms in the morning and then steady rains Saturday afternoon.

The card also includes a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races, both on dirt, the Champagne (G1) and the Frizette (G1).

A closer look at the Joe Hirsch

 Rebel’s Romance, a 5-year-old gelding, attempts to rebound from his last start — the Bowling Green (G3) at Saratoga on July 30– when the clipped heels with another horse around the final turn, stumbled badly, dropped his jockey and did not finish. Neither rider Richie Mullen nor the horse was injured.

Godolphin-owned Rebel’s Romance, the 9-5 favorite, takes on seven rivals, including BC Turf runner-up Stone Age and third-place finisher War Like Goddess, who won last year’s Joe Hirsch.

William Buick has the call on Rebel’s Romance from post 5. Prior to the Bowling Green, Rebel’s Romance finished seventh in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in March. He had won five in a row, including a pair of Group 1 races in Germany, in 2022.

After the Bowling Green, Rebel’s Romance was sent back to Europe and Appleby’s assistant, Sophie Chretien, said the horse had settled well in New York and is ready to go.

“So far, so good,” Chretien said. “He traveled well. I think without the incident (in the Bowling Green), he was going so well and to me, he would have won easily. It’s something we weren’t expecting. But in the mornings, he doesn’t show anything is wrong. He’s been racing a long time, and he looks so happy, hopefully, he goes over like that.”

With a record of 14-9-0-0, the closer tops the field in earnings at nearly $3 million.

War Like Goddess was not entered in the Flower Bowl (G2) on Sept. 2 due to a fever, but Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said the 6-year-old “seems good” to go after she galloped over Saratoga’s training track on Tuesday (Sept. 26).

Like Rebel’s Romance, War Like Goddess runs from off-the-pace. She’s 1-for-3 this year (second by a neck in the Grade 2 Glens Falls on Aug. 3) but has eight graded stakes wins and earnings of $2.2 million for owner George Kirkorian.

Stone Age is back for another shot Rebel’s Romance, this time with Chad Brown as the trainer (Aidan O’Brien was the previous trainer). Last out, the 4-year-old colt finished fifth in the Sword Dancer (G1) on Aug. 26 in his second start of the year (first with Brown) and has two wins in 16 career races.

Post time is 1:40 p.m. ET.

The picks: 1 Rebel’s Romance 2 War Like Goddess 3 Pioneering Spirit

The field for the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, from the rail out, with odds:

1 So High (Romero Maragh, Naipaul Chatterpaul), 50-1
2 War Like Goddess (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott), 2-1
3 Grand Sonata (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher), 30-1
4 Rebel’s Romance (William Buick, Charlie Appleby), 9-5
5 Pioneering Spirit (Jose Lezcano, Linda Rice), 8-1
6 Stone Age (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Chad Brown), 5-1
7 Soldier Rising (Jose Ortiz, Christophe Clement), 5-1
8 Astronaut (Kendrick Carmouche, Tom Albertrani), 10-1

A look at the other graded stakes races on the card that are not Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’ races:

$500,000 Jockey Club Derby Invitational (G3), 1 3/8 miles, turf, 3-year-olds

Let us continue: When Charlie Appleby saddles a horse in America … in this turf race, the trainer sends out unbeaten Measured Time (3-for-3 in England) in a field of nine.

The Frankel colt is the 2-1 morning-line favorite and breaks from the rail with William Buick aboard.

Webslinger is the 7-2 second choice, coming off fourth- and second-place finishes in the Belmont Derby Invitational and the Saratoga Derby Invitational, respectively.

Trained by Mark Casse, the gray gelding Constitution has earned more than $1 million from 11 career stars (4-3-1). Look for him to run closer to the leaders in a field of nine going 1 3/8 miles. Javier Castellano has the call from post 3.

“The problem is he doesn’t break overly fast, and it takes him a little bit of time to get in gear,” Casse said. “So, a couple times he’s been compromised. He definitely runs a little better when he’s in the middle of the pack or a little closer. Javier knows that but sometimes the horse doesn’t listen.”

Todd Pletcher has three entries: Fearless Soldier (8-1), Classic Catch (10-1), and Lost Ark (15-1).

Post time is 4:22 p.m. ET

The picks: 1 Measured Time 2 Fearless Soldier 3 Webslinger

$200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya (G3), 1 1/8 miles, turf, 3 and up fillies and mares

McKulick is the 3-5 favorite in a field of six, with two also eligibles, Movie Moxy a 4-5 and Peak Popularity at 2-1. Whoever ends up in the field, the picks are: 1 McKulick 2 Romagna Mia 3 Parnac

$200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint (G3), 6 furlongs, turf, 3 and up

 The field is losing 5-2 favorite Big Invasion in favor of the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in hopes of firmer ground, according to Thin White Line was the 5-1 second choice on the morning line.

Fauci, the horse, is back, at 20-1. The 5-year-old has a 2-8-5 record from 15 career starts and comes into this one with a 12-race losing streak.

 The picks: 1 Thin White Duke 2 Fauci 3 Dancing Buck


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