Private Zone ready to make seasonal bow in Belmont Sprint
Edited Press Release
Multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Private Zone is scheduled to make his first start of 2016 as the headlining act in the Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs during Belmont’s Stars & Stripes Racing Festival on July 9.
The seven-year-old Macho Uno gelding posted a 3 1/4-length victory in last year's Belmont Sprint, going on to win the Forego Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and finishing second to Runhappy in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1).
Private Zone will be making his first start since finishing fifth as the defending champion in the Cigar Mile (G1) last fall at Aqueduct, which was also his first start for trainer Brian Lynch.
Private Zone will likely be joined in the Belmont Sprint by Grade 2 winner Ready for Rye.
That Tom Albertrani trainee began his return to dirt in earnest on Friday when posting a half-mile in a leisurely :51.04 over Belmont Park’s fast main track.
The conditioner was happy with his charge's third-place run in the grassy Jaipur Invitational (G3) on Belmont Stakes Day most recently.
"He ran well. We got a little boxed in, but I don't want to make any excuses," Albertrain remarked.
Ready for Rye's Jaipur performance was enough for Albertrani to suggest a run in the Belmont Sprint, and the trainer indicated that he has no reservations about the colt's switch back to dirt.
"He's a very versatile horse," he said. "He's effective on both surfaces, I think. He tries hard enough for me to expect him to put in a good effort next week."
Others considered likely for the Belmont Sprint Championship are last-out True North Stakes (G2) hero Joking for owner/trainer Charlton Baker; Westchester Stakes (G3) winner Anchor Down, a distant second to Frosted last out in his historic Met Mile (G1) victory; Grade 2 victor Holy Boss, a length third in the True North last out for trainer Steve Asmussen; A. P. Indian, back-to-back winner of the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing and Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park thus far this season; and multiple stakes-placed Nubin Ridge for trainer Chris Englehart.
Stakes scorer and Donald LeVine Memorial runner-up Roxbury N Overton is questionable.
Private Zone photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography