Ironicus returns a winner, Sea Calisi runs big in U.S. debut as Jose Ortiz sweeps three graded stakes Saturday at Belmont

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 11th, 2016


A trio of graded races took place during the second week at Belmont Park.

Sheepshead Bay S. (G2): Martin Schwartz’s SEA CALISI (Youmzain) was last early, made a big move to take the lead in early stretch, and cruised home to a 2 ½-length tally with Jose Ortiz. The Euro import went 1 5/8 miles on the “yielding” turf course in 2:18 4/5 for trainer Chad Brown.

Westchester S. (G3): Alto Racing’s ANCHOR DOWN (Tapit) led from gate-to-wire in posting a fine 6 ¾-length romp beneath Jose Ortiz. The five-year-old sped one mile on the muddy main oval in 1:35.

Fort Marcy S. (G3): Stuart Janney III’s IRONICUS (Distorted Humor) inched to the lead near midstretch and finished best in posting a 1 ½-length triumph under Jose Ortiz, who swept all three graded stakes Saturday. The Shug McGaughey-trained horse endured 1 1/8 miles on the “yielding” turf course in 1:50 4/5.

Track Stats

A total of 48 races were held at the Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 50 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 69 percent of the wins during the week. From 36 races on the main oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (22 percent), while three of the 12 grassy races were taken all the way on the lead (25 percent).  

Of the trio of winners who led throughout on the lawn, two came in inner turf route events and the other in a dash.

We liked the way the main oval played, even with all of the moisture in the ground. Eight winners went wire-to-wire, with six in sprint runs and a pair going long. We thought being close early was good, but not essential in order to get the job done.

Meet Totals












33 (44%)

2nd Choices:


14 (19%)

Turf Wire:


6 (25%)

Dirt Wire:


10 (20%)





Wednesday (5/4)

3RD – SECOND CITY (Distorted Humor) confronted the clear early leader nearing midstretch and pulled clear late to a decisive score under Luis Saez. The seven-year-old gelding could turn out to be a nice claim for conditioner Pat Reynolds.

5TH – UNBRIDLED JUAN (Unbridled’s Song) surely relished the sloppy conditions, recording a powerful allowance tally for conditioner Jimmy Jerkens and coming home in a swift :31 1/5! The well-bred four-year-old will be super tough next time with anything like this showing.

8TH – ECONOMIC MODEL (Flatter) handled the class relief with ease in this allowance spot, and will likely be back with stakes runners before long after this fine outing. The Chad Brown pupil has talent and appears in line for a solid second half of 2016.

Thursday (5/5)

1ST – Mark Casse’s TALE OF TWO (Tale of the Cat) lived up to his billing with a strong debut win in this sprint with Joel Rosario riding. The two-year-old colt was much the best and will be facing stakes foes next time in all likelihood.

7TH – Jerkens’ JUBA (Tapit) gave this barn a second fine winner during the week when powering past this field with ease. The five-year-old showed big improvement off of his latest run which came at Gulfstream Park, and he rates a big chance in his subsequent performance.

Friday (5/6)

8TH – CONDO KING (Tiz Wonderful) didn’t hang on late in this stakes dash, but the sophomore colt showed heart late after being passed and we like him going forward for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

Saturday (5/7)

3RD – CONNECT (Curlin) won as expected in this allowance tilt for conditioner Chad Brown, but it was the way he did so that impressed us. The three-year-old colt powered home to win for fun and is another with possible stakes ambitions in the near future.

7TH – CELTIC CHAOS (Dublin) swept to the front with a big move early in the stretch and the three-year-old poured it on late in a most impressive tally under Eric Cancel. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee clearly has some class to him.

11TH – SEA CALISI left quite an impression in this U. S. debut and the four-year-old filly could really be any type as she gets more acclimated to stateside racing. We like this prospect a lot.

A Look Ahead


A quartet of graded races will lead the way on Saturday at Belmont Park. The $400,000 Man o’War S. (G1) is the headliner, and will be accompanied by the $250,000 Ruffian S. (G2), $200,000 Peter Pan S. (G2) and $150,000 Beaugay S. (G3).