ELMONT, N.Y. – A total of eight European contenders, representing a cumulative three nations, cleared quarantine on Sunday and jogged the wrong way over the Belmont training track in their first pieces of preparation for Saturday’s beginning legs of the Caesars Turf Triple Series, featuring the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational and the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, both at 10 furlongs.
The octet of European horses, who arrived in New York on Friday, visited the dirt training track at 10:30 a.m. Amongst the group were Belmont Oaks contestants Agartha [Joseph O’Brien], Hot Queen [Pia Brandt], Know Thyself [Francis-Henri Graffard] and With The Moonlight [Charlie Appleby]. Those training for the Belmont Derby included Implementation [Pia Brandt], Machete [Fabrice Chappet], Nations Pride [Charlie Appleby], and Royal Patronage [Charles Johnston].
Daniela LaCroix, travelling assistant for French-based conditioner Pia Brandt, said Hot Queen and Implementation have settled in well since arriving in the United States from her training yard at Chantilly.
“Everything went fine. The horses feel good. We are ready to go,” LaCroix said. “Hot Queen doesn’t mind the ground, maybe she prefers it a bit soft, but she can go on any ground. Implementation is a little bit the same.”
Hot Queen, a two-time winner in her native France, will enter off a sixth-place finish going one mile in the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham on June 5 at Chantilly.
Implementation, an American-bred son of Constitution, broke his maiden at one mile over the Chantilly turf. He finished third two starts back in the Group 3 Prix de Guiche on May 10 at Chantilly, a race won by subsequent French Derby and Coral-Eclipse winner Vadeni.
Representing the stable of Charlie Appleby and globally acclaimed Godolphin are With The Moonlight and Nations Pride, as well as Creative Flair, who is possible for the $150,000 River Memories on July 10 and the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana six days later at Saratoga Race Course. Creative Flair raced in the last two legs of the female division of the Turf Triple series last year in the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks [third] and the Jockey Club Oaks [fourth].
The trio of horses trained under the watchful eye of Appleby’s travelling assistant Sophie Chretien.
“Everything went fine. The horses are good and feel good,” said Chretien. “We just went for a jog to stretch their legs and show them a bit of daylight after being in quarantine. Everybody was happy. They are horses that will suit their races. Creative Flair was here last year, so she knows America.”
With The Moonlight, a two-time winner by Frankel, was a distant 11th in the last-out Group 1 Epsom Oaks on June 5. Nations Pride, by Teofilo, won the Jumeriah Derby at Meydan Racecourse in his 3-year-old debut before winning a listed stake at Newmarket. He last raced when eighth in the Group 1 Epsom Derby.
“With The Moonlight is a big scopey filly,” Chretien said. “I think Nations Pride should fit American tracks. He ran in Dubai and won there.”
Turf Triple invitees Stone Age [Belmont Derby] and Concert Hall [Belmont Oaks], from trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle Training Center in Ireland, are scheduled to ship to New York on Wednesday.
NYRA Press Office