Betting with, and against, Yibir in the Man o' War Stakes
A compact field of six will go 1 3/8 miles on the Belmont Park inner turf in Saturday’s lucrative $700,000 Man o’ War S. (G1). The grassy feature is the headliner of four graded stakes tilts carded on the day.
Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) star #3 Yibir (1-1) is a formidable favorite for conditioner Charlie Appleby. The Godolphin homebred was fantastic in 2021 when picking up four stakes tallies, including a fantastic score in the $1 million Jockey Club Derby on the course in September, when he was a brilliant last-to-first victor. The gelded son of Dubawi concluded his three-year-old season with a superb score over a top-notch field at Del Mar, and he has been sharp in this campaign, as well.
The chestnut missed by a neck in the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) when making his yearly debut, which preceded a runner-up performance at Newmarket last time out. The four-year-old is a bit quirky, but he possesses a deadly turn of foot, and the favorite also exploded in his lone prior try on the Belmont turf. William Buick comes in to ride the one to beat, which adds a level of confidence, as well.
#5 Highland Chief (20-1) is the wild card in the field. One of two in the event for conditioner Graham Motion, the son of Gleneagles knocked heads with some of the best of his generation as a three-year-old and would be a major factor on Saturday with a return to that form. The Irish-bred was coming on late in a recent allowance race run at 1 1/16 miles at Aqueduct in an obvious prep for this encounter. He’s worth a flier at a big price beneath Trevor McCarthy.
Grade 1 winner #2 Gufo (7-5) missed by a nose in the race in 2021 and is an obvious threat for Christophe Clement. The chestnut son of Declaration of War has won or placed in 14 of 15 lifetime performances, including each of his five outings on this oval. The five-year-old was sharp in his seasonal debut and looms large with his best effort under the guidance of regular rider Joel Rosario.
#4 Abaan (9-2) is not as classy as the aforementioned duo, but the Todd Pletcher pupil has obvious talent, and he is controlling speed in a field lacking pace. The Grade 3 star elevated his game since moving to the turf in the summer, and he ran a very good second in the Pan American S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park most recently, as well.
The Will Take Charge five-year-old, who was second in his lone prior try on the surface, will have Luis Saez in the controls.
Yibir – With
- $15 trifecta: 3 with 5 with 2,4 ($30)
- $10 trifecta: key 3 with 2,5 ($20)
Yibir – Against
- $5 trifecta: 2,4,5 with 3 with 2,4,5 ($30)
- $3 trifecta: 2,4,5 with 2,4,5 with 3 ($18)