In Italian Works for G1 Just a Game

June 4, 2023

In Italian winning the Jenny Wiley. (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)

G2 Pennine Ridge-winner Kalik to G1 Belmont Derby

NYRA Notes

ELMONT, N.Y. – Peter Brant’s top-class turf mare In Italian (GB) put the finishing touches on her preparations for Friday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game with a four-furlong breeze over the Belmont inner turf in 48.03, a bullet of nine moves over the distance on Sunday. 

The Chad Brown-trained daughter of Dubawi exits a one-sided victory in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Jenny Wiley on April 15, her third top-level win. 

“She went a maintenance half,” Brown said. “She went a little quick, but she just does things so easily—that’s nothing for her.” 

Brown’s weekend was by all measurements an excellent one, thanks to standout Saturday performances from promising young stock. 

Kalik takes the Pennine Ridge June 3. (Walter Wlodarczyk)

Robert LaPenta, eFive Racing Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stables’ Canadian-bred Kalik was an impressive gate-to-wire victor of the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong turf test for sophomores in which he bested the late-closing Far Bridge by one length with race favorite Silver Knott in third.

The Pennine Ridge provided the top-three finishers an automatic invite to the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Derby Invitational on July 8. 

Brown said the $200,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase has earned another step up with the 10-furlong turf test for sophomores under consideration along with the $1 million King’s Plate, a 10-furlong Tapeta test which is restricted to Canadian-bred sophomores on August 20 at Woodbine.

“He’s doing super and we’ll point to the Belmont Derby,” Brown said. “We have an eye on the King’s Plate later in the year with him.” 

Redistricting breaking maiden at Belmont Park June 3. (Adam Coglianese)

The buzz horse of the day was arguably Klaravich Stables’ eye-catching debutante sophomore Redistricting (GB), who manhandled a 1 1/16-mile turf maiden by a widening 4 3/4-lengths under Irad Ortiz, Jr. 

Purchased by Mike Ryan at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale 2021 for $199,669, the son of Kingman will be pointed toward graded stakes company with the Grade 1, $600,000 Saratoga Derby Invitational a key target. The 1 3/16-mile turf test for sophomores is slated for August 5.

“We always had high hopes for this horse,” Brown said. “We had a couple problems at two and we had to send him home. He didn’t have any surgeries—it was just minor physical issues and behavioral issues, and we made the tough decision, like I did with Domestic Spending [also by Kingman], to just geld the horse. When he stormed through the stretch, I briefly thought maybe I shouldn’t have gelded him, but I don’t think he would have got there the same way if I didn’t. 

“I’m thinking the Saratoga Derby for him,” Brown continued. “Domestic Spending won the Saratoga Derby [in 2020] right on the wire. He reminds me of him, so I was thinking we bridge him with an allowance beforehand and then to the Saratoga Derby, that way I’m not just throwing him into the deep end.”

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