ELMONT, NY — Rebecca Hillen’s Asymmetric will make her first start for coach Wesley Ward in Sunday’s $100,000 Paradise Creek for sophomores sprinting seven furlongs on Widener Turf at Belmont Park.
A son of Irish descent HighlightAsymmetric comes to his American debut after a close seventh place finish in Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park at Newmarket on September 25 to close a youth campaign which saw him post a record 5 for 6 in the prize money.
Asymmetric was a first half-length winner in June sprinting six furlongs on good turf at Goodwood before an allowance score two weeks later at Newmarket. He finished second on his debut in the stakes when he beat a Lusail header in Group 2 Tattersalls in July at Newmarket, but found success on his next outing with a late score in Group 2 Unibet Richmond in July at Goodwood.
The bay colt was shipped to France for a start in Group 1 Darley Prix Morny where he briefly took the lead but was stuck in the final meters to the wire to settle for show honors at 1 3/4 lengths from Perfect Power.
Ward said Asymmetric has made steady progress in his work since arriving in his barn this winter and two equipment changes have made a difference in his training.
“He took a while to come back,” Ward said. “He came to me with great accomplishments under his belt. Around Christmas, we started him from scratch and threw him at Turfway. He really wasn’t showing much. We practice without shoes , but then I added shoes and blinders and he changed everything right away.
Ward said he hopes Asymmetric can handle the stretch of distance on his first start beyond six furlongs.
“Distance is the only thing that’s a bit of a question mark,” Ward said. “He’s going seven-eights, and I would have preferred five-and-a-half or six for this horse, but he’s in great shape now and ready to go. We’ll let him settle in and relieve him on the stretch and have a run. to them. How he raced in Europe, that’s how I would like him to race here.
While distance can be an issue, Ward said racing around corners for the first time isn’t.
“He was perfect in the turns [in training] and he is a really easy horse to train. He has no problems and he is already in Belmont and will be training there all week,” Ward said.
Asymmetric was originally scheduled to face fellow Paradise Creek contender Big Invasion in the William Walker at Churchill Downs on May 4, but were eliminated.
“I wish I had coached him because every job since has been great and he’s ready to run a big race,” Ward said.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. receives the call from extension 7.
Lucky of Harrell Ventures is still looking for his first in-game victory after a third-place finish at Woodhaven on April 23 at Aqueduct Racetrack for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Speightstown will return to the sprint for the first time since his first score on the second request to run six furlongs on the turf of the aqueduct.
“I think seven furlongs should be a good distance for him,” Pletcher said. “He broke his maiden at six, he’s been running well for a bit longer, so it looks like seven furlongs might be ideal.”
Lucky stretched a mile for his first start against winners Dania Beach in January at Gulfstream Park and finished second, a head behind stablemate Grand Sonata, who left that race to win Grade 3 Kitten’s Joy.
The chestnut colt then won an optional allowance seeker two starts later at Gulfstream by two lengths before his effort in the 1 1/16 mile Woodhaven where he set the pace and continued to be brushed aside honors by Fort Washington . .
Well-bred Lucky is the second foal of multi-stakes winning Broken Vow mare Rosalind, who won Grade 1 Ashland 2014 at Keeneland and Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay 2015 on the indoor turf at Belmont.
Lucky will come out of post 1 with Flavien Prat in irons.
Big Invasion, winner of the Reeves Thoroughbred Racing double stakes, was last seen taking the William Walker at Churchill Downs with an offbeat run from Joel Rosario. The Christophe Clement-trained son of Declaration of War has now won his last three starts by 9 1/4 combined lengths, starting with a first score on second request where he achieved a best speed figure of 94 Beyer for the ‘effort.
Big Invasion won on their Texas Glitter debut in March at Gulfstream, chasing a length of the pace before taking a slight advantage at the top of the lane and pulling away for a three-length victory. In four lifetime starts, the bay colt has amassed field-best earnings of $210,295 and boasts a perfect board record.
Rosario receives the call from extension 4 again.
Team Valor International’s Maritime Wings will also make their United States debut after finishing their youth season with an off-the-table effort in the Group 2 KPMG Champions Golden Fleece one-mile run in September at Leopardstown.
Trained by Joseph Patrick O’Brien, the chestnut colt from Gleneagles finished twice in his native Ireland, winning Group 3 Japan Racing Association Tyros and Group 2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity honors at the Curragh. Maritime Wings snapped its maiden on first demand at Paradise Creek distance and will cut back after extending a mile on its last outing.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will start from position 6.
To complete the peloton, the first Carpe’s Dream winners [post 5, Dylan Davis] and high before [post 2, Manny Franco], who is entered in Sunday’s Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park. Filly of Stakes Champagne Poetry [Luis Saez]who is entered in cross-in in Saturday’s Grade 3 Soaring Softly at Belmont, is entered for the main track only.
Paradise Creek, which is named for the winner of several graduated stakes and the 1994 Grass Horse champion, is scheduled as race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race card. The first message is at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Belmont Scenic Lawn, (Photo FL)