Wake Forest tops Brown triumvirate in United Nations

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 1st, 2016

Trainer Chad Brown has won the United Nations (G1) two out of the last three years, courtesy of Big Blue Kitten, and he now dispatches a three-pronged attack on Sunday’s $300,000 renewal at Monmouth Park.

Topping the Brown squadron is German import Wake Forest, who exits a career-best victory over stablemate Money Multiplier in the May 14 Man o’ War (G1) at Belmont.

Sixth in last summer’s Arlington Million (G1) for trainer Andreas Wohler, Wake Forest was not seen again until a rattling second by a head in the April 2 Pan American (G2) in his debut for new connections. He made good next time in the Man o’ War, where he had to escape from traffic before unleashing a stellar turn of foot to get up in time. Wake Forest was among Brown’s posse entered in the June 11 Manhattan (G1) on Belmont Day, but scratched to await this prize. John Velazquez renews their partnership from post 3.

Man o’ War runner-up Money Multiplier had every chance given his forward placement throughout a slow pace, yet simply could not live with Wake Forest’s explosive burst. Their rematch over the same 1 3/8-mile distance in the UN is unlikely to witness a form reversal, although it must be noted that Money Multiplier is better off at the weights. He spotted Wake Forest two pounds at Belmont, but now receives a five-pound concession from the 123-pound highweight. Javier Castellano picks up the mount on Money Multiplier, also a close second in last year’s Kent (G3) and Saranac (G3). He might need an easier spot to notch his first stakes win.

It’s possibly significant that Irad Ortiz Jr., who had been aboard Money Multiplier in his last pair, instead teams up with Brown’s other contender, Mr Maybe. The Ghostzapper gelding was a rapid improver in the second half of last season, capping a three-race winning streak with a last-to-first romp in the November 14 Red Smith (G3) at this trip. Mr Maybe has raced only once since when a belated third in the March 5 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream, but rates a threat at his best.

The Mark Casse-trained World Approval captured last year’s American Derby (G3) and Saranac (edging Money Multiplier), and he’s raised his game this campaign with a trio of strong placings. After his rallying second in the Mervin Muniz (G2) at Fair Grounds, World Approval was just nailed by Divisidero in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day. He was no match for Flintshire last time in the Manhattan, but still finished an honorable third, beaten a half-length for second by the troubled Ironicus. It’s only a matter of time before World Approval gets his turn at the Grade 1 laurel. The Live Oak homebred now gets a rider switch to Florent Geroux.

Triple Threat has been a frustrating horse to follow, both in his native France and in the Bill Mott barn. Still, the son of the late, great German stallion Monsun has flashed his considerable talent on occasion, including in his U.S. debut right here in last summer’s Monmouth (G2). Triple Threat has yet to back up that performance in his ensuing stakes appearances, failing to hit the board in five of his last six Grade 1 attempts. (Of course, it’s not his fault that he had to jump a fallen rival in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic two back.) We long-suffering Triple Threat fans have fingers crossed that the Team Valor and Gary Barber homebred is happier to be back on the Jersey Shore.

Graham Motion, whose prior UN victories have come with eventual champion Main Sequence (2014) and Better Talk Now (2005), sends out the less accomplished Can’thelpbelieving. The Irish-bred son of Duke of Marmalade is a fairly consistent type, however, and comes off a third to Wake Forest and Money Multiplier in the Man o’ War. It’s quite possible that the 5-year-old gelding has more to offer, and the booking of “Jersey Joe” Bravo raises the level of interest.

Riviere du Loup and Bigger Picture are both taking a gigantic class hike off recent allowance scores. Of the two, Riviere du Loup has the more intriguing profile as the son of Ghostzapper and 2003 E.P. Taylor (G1) heroine Volga. Originally based in France with Jean-Claude Rouget, he was claimed from owner/breeder Joseph Allen and trainer Christophe Clement last summer. Riviere du Loup has won three of six for Jason Servis, and he stamped his ticket here with a good-looking tally over this course. Bigger Picture, likewise a reformed claimer, is two-for-two in New York since being haltered by Mike Maker.

Cement Clement shapes up as the likely pacesetter, but it’s tough to envision this minor stakes-placed performer hanging around for the duration. Noble Road (no rider listed at this writing) is another with class concerns.

Top photo of Wake Forest courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography.

Triple Threat photo courtesy of Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo.