Disco Partner set a new world record for six grassy furlongs when taking the Jaipur Stakes (G3) last out on June 10. Mohaymen finished 11th going a mile in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) most recently on the same day.
Saturday will see these two very different runners meet in the $150,000 Forbidden Apple Stakes at Belmont Park. The one-mile contest will be contested over the Widener Turf and drew a field of 11.
Disco Partner is no stranger to turf, having compiled a 12-6-3-1 mark on the green during his career. The Disco Rico five-year-old began that career with trainer James Ryerson, but was transferred to Christophe Clement, for whom he’s captured his past two starts – the Elusive Quality Stakes on April 29 and Jaipur Stakes most recently.
Both of those starts came at Belmont Park while sprinting. Disco Partner has gone beyond seven furlongs just once in his time on track, missing by three parts of a length in a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claimer in November 2015 at Aqueduct.
“I’ve always wanted to try him at a mile,” Clement said. “He came out of the Jaipur great and he’s been training well, so we want to see how he’ll be able fare at this distance. Depending on his performance, there will certainly be more options on the table going forward.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. has been aboard Disco Partner for his past four starts and stays aboard for this event.
Mohaymen has plenty of experience racing at route distances, but none over the grass. The four-time Grade 2 scorer winner is looking to get back to the winner’s circle after dropping his past six contests, including a fourth-placing in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Kiaran McLaughlin will give Junior Alvarado a leg up on the four-year-old son of Tapit as he tests the turf.
Also lining up in the Forbidden Apple is Grand Arch, who will break from post 3 under jockey Luis Saez. The pair teamed up in 2015 to take the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and Fourstardave Stakes (G2) as well as finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). The Brian Lynch-trained gelding’s best performance last year came when third by three parts of a length in the Dixie Stakes (G2) to kick off his seven-year-old campaign, and he’ll make his eight-year-old bow here off a ninth-placing in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October.
“Since he’s returned from his layoff he’s been doing well for us and coming into the race good,” Lynch said. “If he shows us what he’s capable of then we’ll use this as a prep race for the (August 12) Fourstardave (Handicap [G1] at Saratoga). I think he’ll be forwardly placed where he runs well in a stalking position.”
Offering Plan ran down King Kreesa in the Kingston Stakes last out on May 29, with each making his seasonal bow in that yielding-turf affair. The veteran duo rematch in this spot, which King Kreesa has captured for the past two years.
“He’s training well and has had two productive breezes coming into this race,” trainer Linda Rice said of the eight-year-old King Kreesa. “We’re not going to change his style, he’s always been comfortable on the front end so I think he should be forwardly placed.”
Jose Ortiz has the call on King Kreesa while Javier Castellano rides Offering Plan for trainer Chad Brown.
Earlier on Belmont’s Saturday card, six juveniles will go six furlongs in the $100,000 Rockville Centre Stakes.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has two entered – Analyze the Odds and What a Catch. Both colts are maiden winners, with the former scoring by 4 1/2 lengths on April 20 at Aqueduct and the latter taking his first start at Belmont Park on June 2 by 5 1/2 lengths.
Analyze the Odds returned June 9 to try stakes rivals and finished fifth in the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park. Manuel Franco picks up the mount on the Overanalyze colt while John Velazquez will be aboard What a Catch.
“He’s only run twice but he’s run better than he’s breezed,” Pletcher said of Analyze the Odds. “I’m hoping that will continue to be the case.
“I thought What a Catch worked very well and Analyze the Odds was second to him,” the conditioner added.
Another to watch in the Rockville Centre is the Joe Sharp-trained Morrison, who broke his maiden at first asking by 17 lengths in a sloppy, sealed, off-the-turf contest at Belmont on June 18. Jose Ortiz chose to stick with the gray son of The Factor instead of Analyze the Odds, whom he rode in his first two starts.