ELMONT, N.Y.—Not too many people believed Uriah St. Lewis had a chance when he sent out 45-1 shot Discreet Lover to an upset win in the 2018 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. But the Repent bay proved the doubters wrong, rallying to a neck score over Thunder Snow as the second longest shot on the board in the eight-horse field.
On Saturday, Informative, listed at 50-1 on the morning line, will only have to beat four other horses to pull off an unlikely upset in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Keeneland.
“People will always try to discourage you, but in horse racing every horse has a chance if they’re in the race. This race is going to be tough, but I think he has as good a chance as any of them if the race sets up right,” St. Lewis said.
To do the unthinkable, Informative will need to rally past two of the fastest horses in the country in the undefeated Grade 1-winner Flightline [post 1, 3-5ML, 124 pounds] and multiple graded stakes winner Speaker’s Corner [post 2, 8-5ML, 125 pounds].
But St. Lewis believes the one-turn mile for 3-year-olds and up might set up for his deep-closing charge, especially with Informative getting in light at just 116 pounds.
“I expect two horses to hook each other and go pretty, pretty fast – maybe 44 or 43 and change. Going a mile, I think we should be OK,” St. Lewis said. “That’s what we expect up front and hopefully he can take it from there.”
Informative finished off-the-board in his seasonal debut in May at Belmont in the Grade 3 Westchester, racing evenly off a five-month layoff. The 5-year-old Bodemeister horse has since reeled off a pair of bullet works at his Parx base, including a half-mile in 46.63 on June 1.
“We don’t crank them up as much to run their first race back,” St. Lewis said. “We crank them up so their second or third races they run the way they should be running. He’s doing fantastic. All we can do is take a chance.”
Informative has precedent for providing shocking upsets in graded races. Last summer, nearly one year to the day of the Met Mile, Informative rallied from last-of-10 at odds of 79-1 to best Ny Traffic in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.
“He broke, sat back and made one run,” recalled St Lewis. “And that’s what we’ll do here. We’ll keep him in contention enough to see what unfolds in front of us and if it unfolds the way we expect, it won’t be a surprise to us but it will be to a lot of other people.”
St. Lewis will also be represented in the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival by War Tocsin, who is listed at a less hefty 30-1 morning line in Friday’s Grade 2, $300,000 True North at 6 1/2-furlongs on the main track. The field of six is led by the reigning Champion Male Sprinter Jackie’s Warrior, a multiple Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
War Tocsin, in search of his first win since an optional-claiming score in April 2021 at Parx, enters from a third-place finish at 17-1 in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint on May 21 at Pimlico. The veteran of 40 career starts boasts a ledger of 3-8-4 and is likely to be near the pace.
“He has a lot of speed. He’s training good and coming along good. We just have to pray he gets everything his way,” St. Lewis said. “Jackie’s Warrior didn’t want to try the horses Informative is trying. It’s a horse race and our horse always shows up.”
St. Lewis said he has entrusted jockey Dexter Haddock with the call on both horses because the rider has bought into his program, which includes a 42-1 score aboard Forewarned in the Queens County in December at Aqueduct.
“He’s very important because he listens and he believes in the horses,” St. Lewis said. “You have to have a jockey that believes in the horses. That’s why we bring our own jockey. If you don’t believe, there’s no sense trying.”
NYRA Press Office
Uriah St. Lewis, to the left of Discreet Lover, after their upset win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in September 2018. (NYRA/Coglianese)