Brilliant Speed will try to get back to his winning ways Saturday at Belmont Park when he goes postward in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf course. Although it has been since the Sept. 4 Saranac Stakes (G3) at Saratoga last year when Brilliant Speed was last seen in the winner’s circle, the 4-year-old colt has remained competitive while racing at the graded stakes level. He has just not been able to get that breakthrough performance and win.
In his race just previous to the Bowling Green, Brilliant Speed finished third to winner Point of Entry and runner-up Al Khali in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at 12 furlongs on the grass at Saratoga Aug. 18. Before that, the Live Oak Plantation home-bred was sixth in the Grade 1 United Nations, a race in which fellow Bowling Green entrant Air Support was second. However, trainer Tom Albertrani was critical of the ride given to Brilliant Speed that day by Joel Rosario, saying he should have been much closer to wire-to-wire winner and fellow Florida-bred Turbo Compressor earlier in the race.
In the last 12 months Brilliant Speed, who was the 2011 Florida-bred Champion Three-Year-Old Male, has also finished second in the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap, third in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and third in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Brilliant Speed will be ridden Saturday by Javier Castellano and they will break from post two.
The horse to beat in the Bowling Green appears to be Air Support. Breaking just inside Brilliant Speed on the rail, Air Support has put in a solid third-place performance in a $75,000 optional claiming race since finishing second in the United Nations. Trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey for Stuart S. Janney III, Air Support will be looking for his first victory since taking the Grade 2 Virginia Derby in July of last year.
McGaughey has given the riding assignment aboard Air Support to John Velasquez Jr.
Also coming into the Bowling Green out of the Sword Dancer is Newsdad, the fourth-place finisher, three-quarters of a length behind Brilliant Speed that day. Trained by Bill Mott for James Karp, Newsdad last won in March when he took the Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Another who has been knocking at the door of graded stakes recently, Newsdad was also fifth in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland in April and fourth in the Grade 1 Man o’War Stakes at Belmont in July.
Newsdad will break from post position three with jockey Junior Alvarado in the irons.
Photo by NYRA