ELMONT, N.Y. – Stakes action at beautiful Belmont Park kicks off on Friday as Shea D Boy’s Stable’s Bank On Shea will seek a repeat triumph in the $100,000 Affirmed Success, a six-furlong main track sprint for older New York-breds.
Bank On Shea, who enters off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack, will be making his debut for trainer Ray Handal.
Previously conditioned by Carlos David, the son of leading New York sire Central Banker captured the six-furlong Pelican on February 12 at Tampa Bay Downs over next out winners Baby Yoda and Pudding. Bank On Shea, lightly raced for a 5-year-old, boasts a record of 9-5-1-1 and earnings of $502,250.
Bank On Shea captured last year’s Affirmed Success in his second start off a 13-month layoff when racing for trainer Tyler Servis. This was his first stakes victory since his 2-year-old season, when he won the NYSSS Great White Way at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“He does everything right in the barn. He eats up and loves to train,” Handal said. “It’s a little bit of shorter rest than we want. It’s only about 22 days since the Carter, but he came out of it in good shape, so I think he’ll run well.”
Handal, a longtime friend of David, said it made sense to campaign Bank On Shea in New York.
“We’ve been best friends since we were teenagers, so I’ve known him forever. We’re always helping each other,” Handal said. “It made a lot of sense to leave him up here since he’s a New York-bred. We’re giving it a whirl.”
Dylan Davis will ride from post 4.
Eddie F’s Racing’s Lobsta will look to get back on a roll after scoring two stakes victories at Aqueduct this winter. The 4-year-old son of Emcee ended his sophomore year on a high note, winning the NYSSS Thunder Rumble on December 5 with a game effort over multiple stales winner My Boy Tate, en route to finishing first via disqualification in the Say Florida Sandy on January 8. He enters off a distant fourth as the favorite in the one-turn mile Haynesfield at Aqueduct on March 20.
“It’s not really his ideal distance, and it looks like Bank On Shea loves it. But hopefully somebody runs with him, and we’ll be right off the outside,” trainer Gary Sciacca said. “He likes the front and he’s a fighter so if he breaks well, maybe he’ll just go.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano retains the mount aboard Lobsta from post 5.
The multiple graded stakes-placed Ny Traffic, who boasts field-best earnings of $760,740, will attempt to maintain a perfect record at Belmont for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.
A last-out fifth in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile on March 5 in South Florida in his 5-year-old debut, the son of Cross Traffic was an open-lengths winner of both his efforts at Belmont Park. He captured the Hudson in October at Belmont by 8 3/4 lengths two starts back in his only stakes victory and was a 6 3/4-length winner of a seven-furlong state-bred allowance optional claiming event in May, earning a career-best 103 Beyer.
Ny Traffic, bred in New York by Brian Culnan, is owned by John Fanelli, Cash is King Racing, LC Racing, Team Hanley and Paul Braverman.
Jose Ortiz will be aboard from post 1.
Rounding out the field are Reggae Music Man [post 2, Jose Gomez], a winner of his last two starts for trainer Patrick Reynolds, and two-time New York-bred stakes winner Hold the Salsa [post 3, Omar Hernandez Moreno].
The Affirmed Success honors Albert Fried, Jr.’s multiple graded stakes winner, who captured the Grade 1 Carter at the age of 8 for trainer Richard Schosberg. The son of Affirmed boasted a record of 42-17-10-6 with earnings in excess of $2.2 million.
The Affirmed Success is slated as Race 3 on Friday’s nine-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Bank on Shea, (NYRA Photo)