By Emily Shields
The undercard of the 2020 Belmont Stakes includes two other Grade 1 events, the $300,000 Acorn and the $250,000 Jaipur. The Jaipur is a turf sprint over six furlongs on the inner turf course, and drew a field of eight.
Among the runners is #4 Pure Sensation (5-2), who won this race in 2016. He then ran in it in 2017, finishing fourth, and 2018, running third. He missed the race last year after winning the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup a week earlier, and has won five of his last eight starts. He has been top three in four of five tries on this course.
Trainer Christophe Clement has given Pure Sensation time off since he ran fifth, beaten just over three lengths, in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita where he was favored. He has been working at Payson Park in Florida, then shipped up to New York in early June and has one work over the turf to prepare for this. This nine-year-old has not shown any signs of slowing yet, having one of his best seasons in 2019.
The six-year-old mare #2 Oleksandra (7-2) was a Grade 3 winner at Keeneland in a thrilling effort last October. She had previously won a stakes at Saratoga, and finished third in Grade 2 company at Woodbine. Following her Keeneland win, the Neil Drysdale-trainee was second, beaten just a half-length in the Grade 2 Monrovia at Santa Anita. The horse that beat her, Jolie Olimpica, is a track-record setting star, who simply outran her to the wire. The daughter of Animal Kingdom has a real shot.
#3 Texas Wedge (4-1) starts for Peter Miller. He has won two stakes already this year, including a Grade 2 at Santa Anita and a listed stake at Gulfstream Park. He was fourth in the Daytona (G3) at Santa Anita with the highest career figure of his life against a class field. He can certainly rebound here.
#5 Stubbins (3-1) finished ahead of Texas Wedge in the Daytona. The Doug O’Neill trainee will be ridden by Luis Saez for this first time here. He has been top three in 10 of 12 career starts, and was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) ahead of Pure Sensation. This is a Grade 2 winner at Keeneland last year.
#6 Hidden Scroll (8-1) was considered a legitimate Kentucky Derby threat last year when he won by 14 lengths on debut in the slop at Gulfstream Park. He has been a struggle to campaign since, running disappointingly in two Derby preps, then getting 10 months off before winning his Gulfstream comeback sprinting. He was then short priced in races at Oaklawn and here on the grass at Belmont, but ran poorly. He shortens up again for trainer Bill Mott in this.
Comebacker Kanthaka, White Flag, and Lonhtwist complete the field.
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