Clement Has Gufo Training Forwardly For Manhattan

Gufo training forwardly for G1 Manhattan


Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo registered his first work since running second in his 2021 bow in the Grade 1 Man o’ War on May 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., with the Declaration of War colt posting a half-mile breeze in 50.85 on Saturday over the Belmont inner turf course.

Trainer Christophe Clement said he was encouraged by the work and will keep Gufo on target for the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan contested at 1 1/4 miles on the turf on Belmont Stakes Day June 5.

“Gufo is doing well and had a good work yesterday,” Clement said. “It was the first maintenance breeze back, and we’ll work him next weekend and then go for the Manhattan.”

Gufo won three stakes during his 3-year-old campaign in 2020, starting with the English Channel in May at Gulfstream Park before winning his first graded stakes contest in the Grade 3 Kent on Independence Day at Delaware Park.

After a close second in the Saratoga Derby Invitational, where he finished just a head back to Domestic Spending, Gufo posted a one-length win in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby in October going 1 ¼ miles over a firm turf.

In November, Gufo challenged Domestic Spending again and finished third, just a neck behind his nemesis’ winning effort in a blanket finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby over firm going at 1 1/8 miles at Del Mar.

After more than five months off, Gufo returned to action in the 1 3/8-mile Man o’ War over a Belmont turf course rated good, finishing second by a nose to Channel Cat in a thrilling finish that netted the Kentucky Bred a career-best 97 Beyer.

The Manhattan, one of eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, has been won by Clement on three occasions, starting with Forbidden Apple in 2001 and including back-to-back victories by Gio Ponti in 2009 and Winchester in 2010.

Decorated Invader didn’t provide the finish Clement was looking for when fifth in Saturday’s $100,000 Seek Again. But the fellow Declaration of War colt still earned a 90 Beyer for the effort, which was the second start of his 4-year-old year after running third in the one-mile Danger’s Hour on April 10 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning, Decorated Invader is 5-2-1 in 12 career starts. The $200,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Sale won the Grade 2 Hall of Fame and the Grade 2 Hill Prince last year.

“It was a disappointing performance yesterday but he came back in pretty good shape,” Clement said. “We’ll just have to regroup and go from there.”

Plum Ali, who started her sophomore year with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Appalachian on April 3 at Keeneland, breezed Sunday in preparation for her next start. Clement said she is on target for the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf on Opening Day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on Thursday, June 3.

Plum Ali went a half-mile in 48.25 on the Belmont inner turf as she seeks to earn another stakes win after achieving that status twice as a juvenile. The daughter of First Samurai started her career 3-for-3, following a debut score in July with a victory in the Mint Juvenile Fillies in September at Kentucky Downs before winning the Grade 2 Miss Grillo in October at Belmont.

Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, Plum Ali’s lone off-the-board finish in five career starts was her fifth-place effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“She worked for the Wonder Again and did well, so we’re really happy with that,” Clement said.

Clement could be well-represented in the annual New York Breeders’ Showcase Day, featuring six stakes races for New York-breds on Memorial Day Monday, May 31. The veteran conditioner could have seven contenders in a day designed to show off some of the best talent bred in the Empire State, with Sea Foam targeting the $200,000 Commentator and Timeless Journeyfor the $200,000 Critical Eye.

Waterville Lake Stable’s Sea Foam will be making his 6-year-old bow off a nearly six-month layoff, last in action when fourth in the Alex M. Robb in December at the Big A. The Commentator is a handicap for 3-year-olds and up going a one-turn mile on Big Sandy.

Merrylegs Farm homebred Timeless Journey ran fourth in her first start as a 4-year-old, being outkicked in the stretch during a one-mile turf route against optional claimers in May at Belmont after winning her 2020 finale on the Aqueduct main track in December. Clement will have her again try the main track in the Critical Eye, which is also contested at a one-turn mile.

Oak Bluff Stables’ Therapist, a winner of eight stakes, is on course for the $125,000 Kingston for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Therapist, who has won stakes in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, will look to extend his streak to five straight years, with the now 6-year-old gelded son of Freud making just his second appearance of 2021. City Man is also a possibility for the Kingston.

Other New York Showcase Day contenders for Clement include Brattle House and Pay Grade for the $125,000 Bouwerie for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs; and Classic Lady for the $125,000 Mount Vernon for older fillies and mares going one mile on the Widener turf course.

The post Clement Has Gufo Training Forwardly For Manhattan appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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