Kaigan, Wake Forest set for rematch in Man o' War

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 11th, 2016

Trainers Mark Casse and Chad Brown started off the Belmont Park spring/summer meet hot, with Casse winning with four of his first 10 starters and Brown hitting with six of his first 18. Saturday's $400,000 Man o' War (G1) could easily fall to either one as they saddle the likely top two betting choices, Kaigan and Wake Forest.

Kaigan is Casse's only starter in the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War, contested on the inner turf. Winless in seven starts last season, the six-year-old gelding has continued a penchant to settle for minor awards this term with three seconds in four starts, but did sneak in an overdue win in last month's Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream, in which he edged Wake Forest by a head going 12 furlongs.

Of the two, only Kaigan has run in the interim. That was in the April 23 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland, where he finished a half-length behind Da Big Hoss, who had also beaten him to the line in the Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston in January.

Wake Forest, a dual Group 3 winner in Germany prior to his importation, finished sixth in last summer's Arlington Million (G1) in his U.S. debut. Making his first start for Brown in the Pan Am, the Sir Percy horse made up nearly eight lengths and just missed with a strong rail bid.

Brown has two others in the Man o' War lineup. Morandi, a Group 1 winner in France as a juvenile four years ago, has been unplaced in a pair of stateside allowances, while multiple Grade 3-placed Money Multiplier exits a narrow score in an entry-level allowance at Aqueduct.

Bill Mott starts two here, including Grade 1-placed stakes winner Closing Bell and Go Around, who has run well over this course in the past and comes off a win in the Florida Cup Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs.

Also starting a pair is Graham Motion, who sends out former Canadian Horse of the Year Up With the Birds and Can'thelpbelieving. Up With the Birds, fifth in the Elkhorn is season debut, is looking for his first win in nearly two years, while Can'thelpbelieving has placed in two of four prior stakes attempts.

The field is rounded out by former Italian highweight Biz the Nurse, making his first start since July.

Ball Dancing, who landed the 2015 Jenny Wiley (G1) before finishing up the track against Tepin in her next two starts, should appreciate the drop in class for the $150,000 Beaugay (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf.

The Chad Brown trainee returned from a nine-month layoff to contest the May 12 Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs, but finished far back in a dull effort.

The Beaugay marks the season debut of My Miss Sophia, who missed by less than a length to Dacita and Tepin in the Ballston Spa (G2) last August. She was a distant third to Tepin over soft ground in the First Lady (G1) when last seen in October.

Grade 3 veterans Recepta, Strike Charmer, and Sistas Stroll are also among the field of eight fillies and mares.

(Adam Coglianese Photography)