Godolphin Quartet Arrives For Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Four Godolphin runners trained by Charlie Appleby – Rebel’s Romance, Desert Peace, Summer Romance and Althiqa – arrived at Belmont Park at 11 a.m. Sunday to prepare for starts during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that runs from Thursday, June 3, through Saturday, June 5, headlined by the 153rd running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

The geldings Rebel’s Romance and Desert Peace started their journey from Dubai to Belgium, while the fillies Summer Romance and Althiqa, shipped from the U.K. to join the duo before their flight to New York. All four horses will remain in quarantine until Tuesday morning.

“They all shipped well and are very relaxed,” said traveling assistant Sophie Chretien, who will oversee training and saddling duties for the talented quartet. “We’re here early so we’ll have more time to get settled in and get used to Belmont.”

The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the “Test of the Champion” for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.

Group 2 UAE Derby-winner Rebel’s Romance is set to compete in the Belmont Stakes on June 5. The sophomore son of Dubawi, an Irish homebred out of the Street Cry mare Minidress, has won 4-of-5 starts.

Following a fourth in the Saudi Derby at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in February, Rebel’s Romance made the grade last out with a 5 1/2-length score in the 1 3/16-mile Group 2 UAE Derby on March 27 at Meydan.

“It was a very good race and it showed he has matured a lot,” said Chretien of the UAE Derby effort. “He went to Saudi before the run at Meydan and it took him a while to mature, but he has matured a lot and he won the Derby with class. We just have to keep his mind relaxed because to do well in these big races you need a horse as cool as possible in his head.”

Chretien said the sizable gelding should appreciate the stretch out in distance.

“I think he’s built that way and more distance will suit him,” said Chretien. “He’s a big boy.”

Desert Peace, a 4-year-old son of Curlin, was a $1.3 million purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Bred in Kentucky by Doug and Felicia Branham, the colt’s stakes-winning dam Stoweshoe is a full-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire mare Taris.

Desert Peace was a nose winner last out traveling one-mile on May 11 over the Meydan main track.

While no specific target is confirmed yet for Desert Peace, the Grade 2, $300,000 True North, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and up on June 4 is a possibility.

“We’ll see how he trains, but he could aim for the True North. Time will tell,” said Chretien.

Summer Romance and Althiqa, who finished first and third last out in the nine-furlong Group 2 Balanchine on February 18 at Meydan respectively, are targeting the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Just a Game, a one-mile turf event for older fillies and mares.

“The two fillies are physically very similar. They both won in Dubai and will run in the same race here in New York,” said Chretien.

Summer Romance, a 4-year-old daughter of Kingman out of the Statue of Liberty mare Serena’s Storm, is a half-sister to multiple Group 1-winning millionaire Rizeena.

Bred in Ireland by Roundhill Stud, Summer Romance captured the 1 1/16-mile Group 3 Princess Elizabeth in July at Epsom. Last out, in her second start of the season, Summer Romance won the Balanchine by 2 ¼-lengths at Meydan.

Althiqa, a British homebred by Dark Angel and out of the Shamardal mare Mistrusting, won the Prix Amandine in July at Deauville in France ahead of a trio of group placings to close out her sophomore season. The grey filly launched her 4-year-old campaign in style with a score in the Group 2 Cape Verdi at Meydan ahead of her third in the Balanchine.

Appleby previously indicated a good result in the Just a Game could see Summer Romance try her luck in the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana, a nine-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares on July 17 at Saratoga.

“Summer Romance is one who can handle a little more distance going forward,” said Chretien.

For more information, visit www.BelmontStakes.com.

The post Godolphin Quartet Arrives For Belmont Stakes Racing Festival appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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