ELMONT, N.Y. – Raging Bull will likely have to overcome a paceless race to continue his winning ways when he starts as a heavy favorite in Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Hill Prince Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf at Belmont Park.
Raging Bull, a French-bred son of Dark Angel, has won 4 of 5 starts beginning with a maiden win at Keeneland in April. His only blemish came here in the Manila Stakes in July, when he couldn’t overcome a loose-on-the-lead Up the Ante and finished second.
Raging Bull rebounded with eye-catching victories in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes and the Grade 3 Saranac, both at Saratoga. It was in the Saranac he overcame a slow pace to turn the tables on Up the Ante.
This will be Raging Bull’s sixth start of the year. Trainer Chad Brown is hoping to run him here and in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Dec. 1 before putting him away until 2019.
“He’s a really nice horse,” said Brown, who trains Raging Bull for Peter Brant. “He seems to be thriving. He continues to improve.”
Trainer Mark Casse sends out the uncoupled entry of March to the Arch and Ride a Comet. March to the Arch finished third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Raging Bull in the Saranac. Ride a Comet was scheduled to run in the Saranac, but instead was re-routed to the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, which he won by 1 1/2 lengths.
“We sent Ride a Comet out to California to get firmer turf,” Casse said. “I thought, and so did Jose [Ortiz], that when he ran in the Hall of Fame he struggled with the soft turf.”
Casse said that if the turf isn’t firm Saturday he could scratch Ride a Comet.
March to the Arch won the Toronto Cup on “good” ground at Woodbine in July and ran third in the Saranac.
“I thought he ran good,” Casse said. “I didn’t have a whole lot of excuse for him. I thought he had a great trip. He’s going to have to be a little better than he was last time.”
Raging Bull, by Dark Angel
Last 3 Beyers: 95-92-88
◗ Has done very little wrong in five-race career, with his only loss coming to the then razor-sharp Up the Ante in the Manila going shorter.
◗ Showed at Saratoga he could handle turf with give in the ground as well as two turns.
March to the Arch, by Arch
Last 3 Beyers: 93-86-80
◗ Missed second by a neck to Up the Ante when beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Raging Bull in the Saranac.
◗ In winning the Toronto Cup in July, he beat next-out stakes winners Rose’s Vision and Neepawa.
Have At It, by Kitten’s Joy
Last 3 Beyers: 83-76-85
◗ Though he’s been beaten twice by Raging Bull, his last race was a solid second to Rose’s Vision in the Better Talk Now at Saratoga on Aug. 27, and his recent works have been good.
“I know it’s a stiff assignment in the Hill Prince, but if they’re training well and feeling good, take a shot,” trainer Christophe Clement said.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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