ELMONT, NY— Dual Grade 1 winner Gufo captured the Grade 2 Pan American in his 2022 debut in April at Gulfstream Park and will look to make his next start in the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o’ War traveling 1 3/8 miles over the inner turf on May 14 at Belmont Park.
Owned by Otter Bend Stables, the 5-year-old son of Declaration of War, who finished second to Channel Cat in the Man o’ War last year, earned his first of two Grade 1 victories in the 2020 Belmont Derby Invitational. He notched his other Grade 1 victory with a determined score over Japan by a neck in the Sword Dancer in August at Saratoga Race Course. Gufo closed out the year with a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in November at Del Mar.
Gufo had his first work at Belmont on Sunday, breezing five furlongs over the main track in 1:04.08 with regular rider Joel Rosario in the irons.
“He’s doing great and getting ready for the Man o’ War,” Clement said. “Rosario breezed him and I’m very happy. We’ll work him again this weekend on the turf. It will be a tough race, but that’s OK.”
Clement is searching for his third Man o’ War victory after sending out three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti to back-to-back victories in 2009 and 2010.
Oak Bluff Stables’ graded stakes placed Therapist will target the 1 1/16-mile $125,000 Kingston for state-breds on May 30 at Belmont after finishing a game second in the open-company Elusive Quality sprinting seven furlongs on April 30.
Clement said he was pleased with the effort from Therapist, who closed from eighth with a flying finish to secure runner-up honors by a half-length over American Monarch.
“He came back well and we’ll look for that turf stakes at the end of the month,” Clement said. “He runs well and doesn’t win too often, but he did run a great race.”
The 7-year-old son of Freud, bred in the Empire State by Oak Bluff Stable and Clement, has won eight stakes races for total purse earnings of $753,865. Out of the Smart Strike mare Lady Renaissance, Therapist is a full brother to the stakes-winning mare Fresco, who Clement also conditioned for Oak Bluff Stables.
NYRA Press Office
Photos: Chelsea Durand/Susie Raisher