Rock Fall will be hard to beat in Vosburgh
From an historical perspective, horses seeking victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), now sponsored by TwinSpires.com, have been better off not winning the Vosburgh (G1) at Belmont Park. Only one horse, Artax (1999), has been able to pull off the double, while a number of Vosburgh placers have gone on to win the big one.
That bit of hoodoo is unlikely to stop Rock Fall from being considered a major threat to win both. The Todd Pletcher trainee enters Saturday's $400,000 Vosburgh on a six-race win streak, including back-to-back victories in the True North (G2) and Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1).
The son of 2004 Sprint winner and champion Speightstown is undefeated in three starts at Belmont, plus he won an allowance at Keeneland, site of this year's Sprint, by open lengths in April. His most serious test came in the Vanderbilt, where he just edged The Big Beast by a nose.
The Big Beast has shown a preference for Saratoga and is not in the Vosburgh lineup, so Rock Fall figures to be a prohibitive favorite in the six-furlong dash.
Salutos Amigos ran fourth in the Vanderbilt and fifth in the Forego (G1), but might perk up now that action has returned downstate. The David Jacobson charge captured the Bold Ruler H. (G3) in his last trip over the track, and dominated sprints at Aqueduct last winter.
Jacobson also saddles True North runner-up Stallwalkin' Dude, who is expected to fare better than most coming off a restricted stakes win at Saratoga.
Palace, a multiple Grade 1 winner and third in the Vosburgh last season, has had just two starts this term, most recently finishing third against New York-bred foes in the $98,000 John Morrissey. A reversion to his very best form is required.
The recent form of Wildcat Red, Weekend Hideaway, and Brothersofthetime don't look strong enough.
La Verdad, six-for-seven at Belmont and last-out winner of the Ballerina (G1), will be a heavy favorite to make it five in a row in the $300,000 Gallant Bloom H. (G2), a 6 1/2-furlong prep for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Dame Dorothy, a dull sixth as the favorite in the Ballerina, captured the Humana Distaff (G1) and Bed o' Roses H. (G3) earlier in the year and is eligible to rebound for Todd Pletcher.
Street Story and Room for Me have chased both favorites to no avail this season, while Classic Point returns from an extended layoff after capturing the Inside Information (G2) and Go for Wand H. (G3) by narrow margins in her last two.
Rock Fall (yellow silks) gamely winning the Vanderbilt courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography