Morley sends out Assertive Style and Locally Owned in BSRF

June 9, 2022

ELMONT, N.Y. – Tom Morley will saddle a pair of starters for Flying P Stable at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with Assertive Style entered in Friday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental and Locally Owned in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational.

Assertive Style drew post 11 in a talented field of 13 older fillies and mares, who will sprint six furlongs over the Widener turf in Race 11 to close out Day Two of the festival. Morley claimed the 4-year-old Nyquist dark bay for $80,000 out of a runner-up effort in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint in March at Fair Grounds. 

He entered Assertive Style in the six-furlong License Fee on May 1 over the Belmont inner turf, but had to scratch. She returned in the Grade 3 Vagrancy at 6 1/2-furlongs over Big Sandy on May 14 and she closed to finish third.

Morley said he is pleased to be involved in the lucrative festival which will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

“I’m extremely grateful to be taking part. It’s a good thing for our barn,” Morley said. “Assertive Style is doing fabulously well. We wanted to run her on the turf earlier this year and she spiked a temperature for 24 hours, so we had to scratch her out of that spot and then she ran very well in the Vagrancy.”

The dark bay is out of the Scat Daddy mare Sca Doodle, who ran third in the 2013 Avowal over the Woodbine turf. Assertive Style, who has posted a record of 17-5-1-4, has made three starts on turf with her most recent effort at Fair Grounds providing her best result thus far.

“I’m really looking forward to getting her on grass,” Morley said. “She’s out of a Scat Daddy mare and she’s got great big feet and angular pasterns, so she looks like a turf horse to me. The fact we have her graded-stakes placed is huge.”

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who guided Zindaya to victory in the 2016 Intercontinental, will have the return call aboard Assertive Style.

“He rode her in the Vagrancy and he’s worked her in the mornings, so he knows her very well,” Morley said. “She’s got enough speed that she should be handy and she’s a big filly, so if there’s a bit of a scrum going on, I wouldn’t swap horses. She’ll be able to barge her way around the place.”

Morley said the key to a winning trip on Friday will be a tempered stalking trip in a loaded field that should have plenty of early pace.

“The day we claimed her at the Fair Grounds, she circled the field and then got nailed late on,” Morley said. “She’s a filly you want to ride with a little bit of patience. She’s got one kick. He [Castellano] knows that and rode her like that on the dirt and she gave him a nice kick down the lane to get third. I’d expect her to be fifth or sixth early…let her switch her leads and then quicken up down the lane.”

Locally Owned will exit post 6 under returning rider Dylan Davis in the 12-furlong Brooklyn for older horses in Race 5 on Saturday’s card.

The 6-year-old Distorted Humor gelding was haltered for $40,000 in February 2021 at Fair Grounds and has since provided two wins in seven outings, including a one-length score over Brooklyn rival Lone Rock in the 13-furlong Grand Prix American Jockey Club in September at Belmont. 

Locally Owned finished third in his seasonal debut on May 6 in the Flat Out, completing the trifecta behind Brooklyn rivals First Constitution and Portos.

“To get the race into him in the Flat Out was very important going into the Brooklyn,” Morley said. “All my horses seem to improve for their first start of the year. He’d been off six months and he made a lovely move into the race around the second turn of the Flat Out and gave me a bit of a surprise that he ran as well as he did. He just got tired in the last eighth of a mile. I expect to see him take a big step forward.”

Morley said he is hopeful that the typically forwardly-placed Lone Rock [post 1] and First Constitution [post 5] can provide an honest pace.

“I think with Lone Rock drawn on the inside and First Constitution returning, there should be a good even gallop and that generally means that Locally Owned runs his race,” Morley said.

The Morley stable is off to a good start at the Belmont spring/summer meet with a record of 27-6-1-4 heading into Thursday’s card.

NYRA Press Office
Photo Locally Owned winning the Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational at Belmont Park under Dylan Davis.(Susie Raisher)

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