Castle Chaos Possible for G1 Met Mile

May 27, 2024

Castle Chaos just misses in the Fred W. Hooper (G3) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park (Coglianese)

Spirit And Glory Likely for G3 Eatontown

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Castle Chaos, who matched a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure last out when a close second in the Grade 2 Carter presented by NYRA Bets, is under consideration for the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on Saturday, June 8 during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, at Saratoga Race Course. The Met Mile, to be contested out of the Wilson Chute, offers a ‘Win and You’re In’ berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Del Mar.

Trained and co-owned by Robert Falcone, Jr. with Sanford J. Goldfarb and Nice Guys Stables, the 6-year-old Palace Malice gelding has endured close runner-up efforts in two of his last three outings, beginning with a rallying nose loss to Tumbarumba in the one-mile Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper in January at Gulfstream Park. That effort also garnered a 97 Beyer.

He followed with an off-the-board effort in the one-mile Listed Stymie on March 2 here but returned to form with a stalking second in the seven-furlong Carter, finishing a neck back of the victorious Post Time, who is Met Mile-bound.

Falcone, Jr. said Castle Chaos may be a better horse when racing closer to the pace.

“He can run both ways,” Falcone, Jr. said. “You don’t want to leave yourself too much to do coming from too far back, but he’s a very versatile horse.”

Castle Chaos has breezed back four times, including a half-mile Friday in 48.55 over the Oklahoma dirt training track.

“He worked well. He’s doing good,” Falcone, Jr. said. “We’re looking at the Met Mile as an option.”

The Kentucky-bred Castle Chaos, who finished third in the Grade 2 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets in December here, was haltered for $75,000 from a close runner-up effort on debut in September 2021 at Saratoga.

He was away from the races for one year after finishing last-of-7 in back-to-back starts to complete his 4-year-old campaign. Since a victorious return to action last June at Monmouth Park in a six-furlong optional-claiming sprint, Castle Chaos has climbed the ranks to be competitive at the graded level.

“I think the time off did him a lot of good,” Falcone, Jr. said. “He’d had one little thing after another and with all the time off he came back more mature and really found himself in that one-turn mile category.”

Falcone, Jr. indicated Castle Chaos, who boasts a career ledger of 16-3-5-4 for purse earnings of $370,160, could also come under consideration for the Grade 3, $150,000 Salvator Mile, a two-turn test for 3-year-olds and up on June 15 at Monmouth Park.

Spirit And Glory dominant in the Plenty of Grace April 21 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

Spirit And Glory, a deep-closing type in her early ventures in the U.S., has found a new frontrunning approach here under Jose Lezcano that has resulted in a five-length victory in the one-mile Listed Plenty of Grace in April and a close third last out in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Beaugay.

Co-owned by Falcone, Jr. with Michael Nentwig, Michael Dubb, Beast Mode Racing and John Rochfort, the 5-year-old Cotai Glory mare rallied last-to-first to win her stateside debut in June 2022 at Belmont Park. Since then, she has added four Listed stakes to her tally, including the 2022 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs, the Miss Liberty last May at Monmouth and the Albert M. Stall Memorial in February at Fair Grounds.

Last out, in the Beaugay, Spirit And Glory was hounded on the lead by Whitebeam and took a precarious lead into the stretch run but battled on gamely to finish third as Neecie Marie closed from last-of-5 to win by a neck over Whitebeam, who maintained second by a head.

“I ran her back quickly which I usually don’t do with many horses,” Falcone, Jr. said. “She ran her eyeballs out that race getting pressured the whole way around the track and just getting beat at the end.”

While Spirt And Glory is nominated to the Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game on June 7 at Saratoga, Falcone, Jr. said the mare is more likely to wait a week and run in the Grade 3, $150,000 Eatontown on June 15 at Monmouth.

“We might try the Eatontown and hopefully get her a graded stakes win. We can always see how she runs there and take a shot at a Grade 1 later on,” Falcone, Jr. said. “The Eatontown would give us a little extra time as well. We’ll see how it [the Just a Game] comes up and who is headed in that direction. I’d love to give her a shot here, but we can always come back to the bigger magnitude races. She’s won four stakes and we’ve been picking our spots well and picking up some decent purses while doing so.”

Falcone, Jr. said he’s pleased with how Spirit And Glory has responded to racing on the lead.

“She can be tough in the morning and tough for the jocks in the afternoon throwing her head up, she’s real light-mouthed,” Falcone, Jr. said. “Jose gets along great with her, and he just lets her break and do her thing and lets her have fun out there. I think she enjoys running like that more than any other way.”

Bred in Ireland by Dr. Noel Cogan and Patrick Williams, Spirit And Glory is out of the Invincible Spirit mare Supreme Spirit. She has banked $497,220 through a 19-6-2-2 record.

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