Shipsational rallies off the pace to prevail in $150K Bertram F. Bongard

September 27, 2021

ELMONT, N.Y. – Iris Smith Stable’s Shipsational, with Luis Saez up, overtook pacesetter Senbei in the stretch run en route to a two-length score in Sunday’s $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard, a seven-furlong sprint for New York-bred juveniles at Belmont Park.

Trained by Edward Barker, the Midshipman chestnut impressed in his 6 3/4-length debut win in July sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs against fellow state-breds over a sloppy and sealed main track at Saratoga. He entered from a difficult trip in the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide in August at the Spa where he was bumped repeatedly at the start, finishing fourth.

Funny Cide-winner Senbei, with Manny Franco up, set splits of 23.04 seconds and 46.48 on the fast main track in the Bongard under close watch from Whittington Park as Shipsational saved ground along the rail.

Shipsational angled to the two path through the turn as Happy Happy B chased wide with Whittington Park dropping out of contention. Shipsational engaged Senbei for the stretch run and took command near the eighth pole en route to a convincing win in a final time of 1:23.64. 

“He’s a really nice, nice colt. He’s trained well since the day we got him,” Barker said. “I think he’s going to be a special New York-bred. The last race was a throw out. He had trained super coming into this race and I am really, really happy for Mrs. Iris Smith and the whole team.”

Saez said Shipsational finished up strong.

“We had to work a little bit, but he gave me a good kick. He ran pretty great,” Saez said. “Last time, he had a lot of trouble in the race. He missed the break and got bothered a lot. Today, things went our way. He got a good break; he was right there and he won.”

Senbei, Surprise Boss and Whittington Park completed the order of finish. Happy Happy B fell at the wire unseating rider Jose Ortiz.

Ortiz will attend local area hospital for x-rays on his left ankle. Dr. Anthony Verderosa, NYRA’s Veterinary Department Director, advised Happy Happy B incurred a catastrophic injury to his right foreleg and was humanely euthanized on track.

Barker said Shipsational, a $210,000 purchase at the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, could target the $250,000 Sleepy Hollow, a one-turn mile for state-bred juveniles here on October 30. 

“Probably. We’ll have to give him some time and see what we’ve got,” Barker said.

Bred in the Empire State by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone, Shipsational banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to 3-2-0-0. He returned $6.80 for a $2 win wager.

Live racing returns Thursday at Belmont Park with a 9-race card. First post is 2:05 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

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By Keith McCalmont

Photo: Shipsational (Joe Labozzetta)

Have to give out Props to @jonathanstettin for yesterday winners sure did help me have a big day 👌🏻$

Mike @tout1horse View testimonials