Effinex will try to rebound in Suburban

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TwinSpires Staff

July 1st, 2016

Edited Press Release

Grade 1 victor Effinex will try to rebound from his sixth-place finish in the June 18 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs as an expected heavyweight for the $500,000 Suburban Stakes (G2) for four-year-olds and up going 1 1/4 miles as part of the Stars & Stripes Festival on July 9 at Belmont Park.

In 2015, the reigning New York-bred Horse of the Year beat multiple Grade 1 hero and classic winner Tonalist by a head in an exciting edition of the Suburban. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Effinex closed out his season with a game second-place effort to American Pharoah in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and a win in the Clark Handicap (G1).

Effinex opened his five-year-old campaign with a third-place run in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) prior to taking the Oaklawn Handicap (G2).

Also probable for the Suburban are Grade 3 scorer and Stephen Foster runner-up Eagle for trainer Neil Howard; Grade 1 hero Noble Bird, a romping winner of the Pimlico Special Handicap (G3) before placing sixth time out in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1); Group 2 victor Mubtaahij, unraced since finishing second in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) and making his first start for Kiaran McLaughlin; Shaman Ghost, triumphant in last year’s Queen’s Plate and most recently the Brooklyn Invitational (G2); multiple Grade 3 winner Samraat, runner-up in the Westchester Stakes (G3) and fourth in the Brooklyn in his last two; and Excelsior Stakes (G3) winner Kid Cruz.

Grade 2 hero El Kabeir, fourth most recently in the Stephen Foster, and multiple stakes winner Turco Bravo, second in the Brooklyn, are considered possible.

Kid Cruz, who followed his Excelsior score with a one-paced seventh in the Brooklyn, readied for the Suburban by breezing five furlongs in 1:03.06 on Wednesday over Belmont's fast training track.

Trained by Linda Rice, the bay son of Lemon Drop Kid also captured the John B. Campbell Stakes at Laurel Park earlier this season.

"We're still on course for the Suburban," Rice said. "He came out of the workout good. The trip didn't work for us in the Brooklyn. He's not an easy horse to ride and I think he just got too far back. Jose (Ortiz) has ridden him well in the past. We're going to draw a line through it and try again."

Rice will also send out Flatterywillgetyou to make her graded debut in the $150,000 Victory Ride Stakes (G3) on the July 9 card.

Coming off four straight victories, the chestnut filly will now face a step up in class following a one-length victory while making her stakes bow in the Bouwerie Stakes last out on May 30. The Flatter three-year-old has won her last two starts over Belmont's Big Sandy.

"We're expecting it to be tough, but she's done nothing wrong,” Rice Said. “She clearly likes the Belmont course better than Aqueduct, so I wanted to give her a chance to get that graded win for her broodmare value going forward."

Flatterywillgetyou breezed five furlongs in company on Wednesday, clocking 1:00.50 on the training track for the bullet.

"It was a very nice breeze, we were happy with it," Rice said.

The Victory Ride, for three-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs, is expected to attract recent New Start Stakes winner Behrnik's Bank; Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) victress Lost Raven; and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) runner-up Paola Queen, fifth in the June 11 Acorn Stakes (G1).

Jersey Girl Stakes runner-up Appealing Maggie, two-for-two stakes debuter Coppa, Grade 3-placed Quick Release and last-out maiden winner Malibu Stacy are possible.

Effinex photo courtesy of NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography