Lead by King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) runner-up Fort Loudon, four Florida-breds help make up the nine-horse field that will be trying to take the winner’s share of the $400,000 purse attached to the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park today. The six furlong Vosburgh is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint to be held at Santa Anita Nov. 3 and is also part of “Super Saturday” at Belmont Park with six stakes worth $3.4 million.
At 6-1 in the morning line, Fort Loudon is not expected to be the post time favorite in the Vosburgh. That honor should be earned by the entry of Sean Avery, winner of the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 7; and Jerome Handicap (G2) winner The Lumber Guy.
However, Fort Loudon has shown he can be difficult to deal with in graded competition. Other than his second-place finish in the Kings Bishop, the son of Journeyman Stud stallion Awesome of Course won the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes at Calder in July. That was the third consecutive stakes victory at that time for Fort Loudon who had also won the $75,000 In Summation Stakes in May and the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes in June, both also at Calder.
Trained by Nick Zito for Fred Brei of Ocala, Fla., Fort Loudon was bred in Florida by Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm. Corey Nakatani will be aboard Fort Loudon for the first time in the Vosburgh and they have drawn post five.
Also representing the Sunshine State are Little Drama (12-1 in the morning line); Zero Rate Policy (30-1) and Royal Currier (15-1).
Little Drama takes a big jump up in class in the Vosburgh having won a $75,000 optional claiming race at Saratoga on Aug. 20 in his last start. Trained by Michael Mareina for breeder Harold L. Queen of Ocala, Little Drama has two stakes wins to his credit having taken the $75,000 Philmont Stakes at Parx Racing in April of 2011 and the $97,000 Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder in 2010. The 4-year-old gelding by Stonewall Farm Ocala stallion Burning Roma will be ridden by jockey Rajiv Maragh from post three.
Royal Currier is another stepping up into graded stakes competition having finished third in the $76,000 Affiliate Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 8 when beaten by Sean Avery and Zero Rate Policy. Trained by Patricia Farro for MAT Stables LLC, Royal Currier is an extra consistent performer having won four of his last six races and 12 of 27 lifetime. Bred in Florida by Adena Springs, Royal Currier won the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes and $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth and the $83,000 Diablo Stakes at Belmont in those last six starts. Sean Elliot gets the mount on the son of Red Bullet and they will load into the seven hole of the starting gate before the Vosburgh.
Although he has long odds in the Vosburgh, Zero Rate Policy has shown he can run with several of the Vosburgh entrants. Before finishing second in the aforementioned Affiliate stakes to Sean Avery, the 4-year-old son of Trippi was second to Little Drama in that Aug. 20 optional claiming race. Bred in Florida by Lybby F. and Ronald Gay of Belleview, Little Drama is also a graduate of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2010 March Sale of Two Year Olds in Training where he sold for $100,000 from the consignment of Tony Bowling’s All In Sales.
Photo by Coady