ELMONT, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will seek to build on his recent graded stakes success at Belmont Park when he saddles Dynamic One and Untreated in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban for 4-year-olds and upward going 10 furlongs at Belmont Park.
The Suburban, slated for Race 4, kicks off stakes action on a loaded Stars and Stripes Racing Festival card, which also boasts the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, a 10-furlong turf test for 3-year-old fillies in Race 7; the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies in Race 8, and the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational for 3-year-olds going 10 furlongs on the turf in Race 9.
The top-four finishers in the Suburban will have their nomination, entry and starting fees waived if they start in the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3 at Saratoga Race Course. The 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Keeneland.
Pletcher, who is in the midst of a stellar weekend here, captured the Grade 2 John A. Nerud with Life Is Good and the Grade 3 Dwyer with Charge It on Saturday and Sunday’s Perfect Sting with Jouster. He will seek his second Suburban score after securing victory with Keen Ice in 2017.
Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Phipps Stable’s Dynamic One exits a one-length victory in the listed Blame on June 4 at Churchill Downs, where he recorded a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure. His victory in the nine-furlong test saw the 4-year-old Union Rags chestnut turn the tables on familiar foe Scalding, who bested him in the Grade 3 Challenger in March at Tampa Bay Downs and the Grade 2 Ben Ali the following month at Keeneland in which Dynamic One finished a respective third and second.
Dynamic One finished second in his stakes debut in last year’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct ahead of an 18th-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. He rebounded with a 1 3/4-length win in the next-out Curlin at Saratoga but was sent to the sidelines following a distant seventh in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers and did not return to action until this year.
Pletcher expressed delight in seeing Dynamic One return to form this season.
“I think he ran very well last time and has taken a step forward in each of his starts this year,” Pletcher said. “We’re hopefully heading in the right direction. He’s a horse that we always thought would improve with a little age and we have kind of seen that so far this season. Each race has been a gradual step forward, so hopefully he continues on that trend.”
A $725,000 purchase from the Claiborne Farm consignment at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Dynamic One boasts the rich maternal bloodlines of 1988 Champion Older Filly and undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign. His dam, Beat the Drums, is out of Storm Flag Flying – the 2002 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly.
Dynamic One will break from post 5 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Team Valor’s Untreated strives for his first win since capturing a pair of one-turn mile tests over the winter at Aqueduct. The 4-year-old Nyquist bay arrives in fair form, finishing a pacesetting third in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May, which came on the heels of a close second in the Excelsior on April 2 at Aqueduct.
The Pimlico Special was the first time Untreated dictated terms upfront, a running style Pletcher said does not quite suit him.
“He found himself on the lead at Pimlico, which might not be his preferred running style,” Pletcher said. “He’s kind of proven that he’s right on the verge of breaking through in the handicap division and I think the mile and the quarter should suit him.”
Joel Rosario will ride Untreated from post 1.
First Captain, a last out winner of the Grade 3 Pimlico Special, will aim to become the first horse to secure the Pimlico Special-Suburban double since Invasor  and Mineshaft , who were both named Horse of the Year following their respective campaigns.
The 4-year-old son of Curlin, purchased for $1.5 million at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale and owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm, Bobby Flay and Woodford Racing, displayed a strong late kick in the 9 1/2-furlong Pimlico Special, running down Untreated and Pletcher-trained Vindictive to pick up his second graded stakes victory.
Trained by four-time Suburban-winning Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, First Captain is unbeaten in three starts over Big Sandy and will make his first start over the surface since capturing last year’s Grade 3 Dwyer. He suffered his first career defeat in his sire’s namesake restricted race last July at Saratoga. Victorious upon return to action at Gulfstream Park in late February, First Captain was an uncharacteristic last-of-7 in the Grade 1 Carter two starts back on April 9 at Aqueduct.
“He’s a lightly-raced colt with a world-class pedigree who is trained by one of the best to ever do it,” said West Point Thoroughbreds spokesman Jason Blewitt. “It was nice to put the Carter in the rearview mirror and run down a couple of really nice Todd Pletcher horses. It was great to see. I know as the summer wears on he’ll have to run better than he did at Pimlico, but I don’t think we’ve seen his best race to date. I’d like to think there’s significant improvement left in him.”
Luis Saez, who piloted First Captain in the Pimlico Special, will return from post 4.
Last year’s Suburban winner Max Player will attempt to be the first horse to sweep back-to-back editions since Effinex in 2015-16. Soundly beaten in both of his starts this year, the son of Honor Code will attempt his first trip to the winner’s circle since capturing last year’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen.
Max Player, the lone millionaire in the field, boasts earnings in excess of $1.3 million and a record of 14-4-1-2, which also includes a pair of third-place finishes in the 2020 Belmont Stakes and Runhappy Travers.
Leading rider Dylan Davis will pick up the mount from post 2.
Completing the field is the Uriah St. Lewis-trained Forewarned, who will make his first start in New York since winning the Excelsior over Untreated. The 7-year-old veteran is by two-time Suburban winner Flat Out [2011, 2013] and brags three triumphs at the Suburban distance, having captured the last three runnings of the ten-furlong Best of Ohio Endurance at Mahoning Valley Race Course.
Regular pilot Dexter Haddock will ride from post 3.
First run in 1884, the Suburban is one of the oldest stakes races on the NYRA circuit, and has been won by over 30 champion thoroughbreds, including Hall of Famers Equipoise , Tom Fool , Kelso [1961, 1963], Buckpasser , Dr. Fager  and Forego .
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.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Dynamic One (NYRA Photo)