A.P. Indian, Wavell Avenue head Belmont sprint stakes

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 28th, 2016

A.P. Indian has established himself as the East Coast’s top contender for the Breeders’ Cup TwinSpires Sprint (G1), winning all five starts this year including back-to-back Grade 1s, and the 6-year-old gelding will receive his final tune-up before shipping to Santa Anita when he contests Saturday’s $300,000 Vosburgh (G1) at Belmont Park.

The 6-furlong race serves as a “Win & You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup and features a field of eight.

Trained by Arnold Delacour, A.P. Indian concluded 2015 with a sixth to Runhappy in the Phoenix (G3) at Keeneland and had only a pair of listed stakes victories to his credit when returning to the races in May. He’s quickly risen through the sprint ranks, earning his first graded tally when taking the Belmont Sprint (G3) on July 9, and the Kentucky-bred son of Indian Charlie exits a pair of convincing wins in the A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) and Forego (G1). Regular rider Joe Bravo has the call.

The Vosburgh marks the highly-anticipated return of X Y Jet, who was last seen posting an excellent head second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) in late March. The gray speedster really came on over the winter for trainer Jorge Navarro, earning big BRIS Speed ratings while reeling off three straight stakes wins at Gulfstream Park, and the 4-year-old shows seven listed works for his comeback. Emisael Jaramillo retains the mount aboard the Kantharos gelding.

Joking will also be returning from a freshening, making his first start since capturing the True North (G2) at Belmont on June 10. The 7-year-old gelding has won three straight for Charlton Baker and possesses a commendable 8-5-3-0 record at Belmont. Manny Franco sticks with the son of Distorted Humor.

Other runners include Vanderbilt runner-up Holy Boss and Forego third-placer Stallwalkin’ Dude.

The $300,000 Gallant Bloom (G2) serves as a final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) and Wavell Avenue will be attempting to rebound in the 7-furlong event before making a title defense at Santa Anita. The Chad Brown-trained 5-year-old mare registered her first win of 2016 when taking the Shine Again two starts back but didn’t fire finishing sixth in the Ballerina (G1) last out.

An Ontario-bred daughter of Harlington, Wavell Avenue recorded a fast-closing second in the 2015 Gallant Bloom before notching her lone graded victory in the Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland. Joel Rosario will be up.

Paulassilverlining, a multiple Grade 3 winner this year but fifth in the Ballerina, is also part of the seven-horse field. Grade 3 queen Hot City Girl returns to open company off a sharp score over state-bred foes in the Union Avenue at Saratoga and multiple Grade 1 runner-up Wonder Gal, who recently returned from a seven-month layoff with an 11-length allowance romp, also merits respect.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) hopefuls are in the spotlight in the $200,000 Pilgrim (G3). Eleven runners, including a pair for the main-track only, were entered for the 1 1/16-mile test on inner turf and Oscar Performance rates as a leading contender following a 10-length maiden win at Saratoga. Jose Ortiz rides the Kitten’s Joy colt for Brian Lynch.

Convincing maiden winner J.S. Choice represent the Todd Pletcher stable and Brown has a pair in Oiseau de Guerre and Sir Douglas. With Anticpation (G2) third-placer Bird’s Eye View and French maiden winner My Bo Chop, who didn’t experience the cleanest trip when fifth in his U.S. debut, are other runners of interest.

A.P. Indian photo credit to Adam Coglianese/ Wavell Avenue courtesy of Coady Photography