Trainer Joseph O’Brien will give next week’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival an extra kick of international flavor as the young Irish conditioner will be represented by Baron Samedi for the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup and Thundering Nights for the Grade 2, $750,000 New York.
Baron Samedi has won his last six starts, including a victory in the Group 3 Vintage Crop on April 25 at Navan Racecourse off a 182-day break. The 4-year-old son of Harbour Watch defeated accomplished stable mate Master of Reality and last year’s Group 1 Irish Derby winner Santiago in a compact but quality field assembled for the 1 ¾-mile endurance test.
“He’s really matured physically,” O’Brien said. “He’s shown that he’s quite versatile and has gone into this season the right way.”
Meanwhile, Thundering Nights seeks her first triumph since winning the Group 3 Snow Fairy in August at The Curragh. The daughter of Night of Thunder finished a close second to multiple grouped stakes winner Broome in her 2021 debut in the Group 3 Alleged on April 17 at The Curragh. Three starts back she was third to Group 1-placed Cayenne Pepper at Group 2 company in September at The Curragh.
“She’s performed well over heavy ground and soft ground, so ground wise she seems pretty versatile,” O’Brien said.
The pair of runners are currently en route to Belmont Park and expected to arrive late Saturday.
Belmont Park Press Release