Trainer Chad Brown has been bombarded all week long with questions regarding Good Magic and Gronkowski’s status for Saturday’s Travers. So, it was almost a welcome relief when he was given the opportunity to talk about something else for a change – his turf horses Offering Plan and Fifty Five, the likely favorites and ones to beat here Friday in the $150,000 West Point and Yaddo stakes.
The West Point, for 3-year-olds and up, and the Yaddo, for fillies and mares, are among the six stakes for New York-breds on Friday’s Showcase Day card. Both races will be decided at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Offering Plan has suffered frustrating losses in the last two editions of the West Point. He was beaten a neck by King Kreesa when third in 2016 before returning to finish a half-length behind Get Jets last summer. Both times, Offering Plan came flying down the stretch, only to fall short.
Offering Plan entered the 2017 West Point off a fifth-place finish against open company in the Forbidden Apple six weeks earlier. He follows the same schedule this year, exiting an even stronger third-place effort behind the red-hot Voodoo Song in the one-mile Forbidden Apple. He also defeated many of his chief rivals on Friday earlier this spring when he rallied to win the Kingston going a mile at Belmont Park on May 28.
“He’s a really consistent horse, he’s coming off a very big effort, and we’ve been targeting this race for a while,” said Brown. “I would say he’s going into this race just as well if not better than last year. He’s really been training super. He’s definitely pace dependent – that and the trip is always key with him.”
The pace should be an honest one in the West Point, with the speedy Black Tide among the 10 likely to start should the race remain on the grass. Black Tide set the pace in this race last summer before finishing a tiring fourth, nearly two lengths behind Offering Plan, although his form has tailed off since he won the Mohawk last fall at Belmont.
The field for the West Point will be a familiar one, bringing back the first three finishers from the Kingston, including runner-up Rapt and the 9-year-old warhorse Kharafa, who was third in this race a year ago.
King Kreesa also is still going strong at 9. Trained by David Donk, King Kreesa is looking to snap an eight-race losing streak that dates to his narrow decision over Kharafa and Offering Plan in the 2017 West Point.
Rapt will need plenty of pace and a little racing luck to negotiate his way through the bulky lineup from his customary place near the rear of the field. Rapt has hit the board in his last four outings but is without a win to show for those good efforts, which date to the 2017 Mohawk.
Fifty Five goes into the Yaddo with a win and two seconds from three starts this year. She was a graded stakes winner last year as a 3-year-old and does her best running from off the pace.
“She got a little bit of a late start this year and had one of her scheduled races canceled due to the weather this summer,” said Brown. “Like Offering Plan, we’ve been pointing for this race for a while, and she’s training extremely well. She’s a bigger, stronger horse than she was last year, and I think she should have even better things in front of her this season.”
The Yaddo lured nine fillies and mares, including Feeling Bossy, who led throughout before outlasting Fifty Five by a neck to capture the one-mile Mount Vernon on May 28 at Belmont in her 2018 debut. Feeling Bossy has run once since, turning in an even effort to run fifth against open competition in the Perfect Sting.
La Moneda makes her stakes debut in the Yaddo while on a roll for trainer Tom Morley. She has won three in a row, the last two coming against opening company, including a high-level optional claimer over the local turf course earlier in the session. Among her victims during the recent streak are Lady Joan and War Canoe, both of whom also are key contenders in the Yaddo, with the latter exiting a seventh-place finish while beaten less than six lengths in the Grade 1 Diana.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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