Bettors who play name angles will have a hard time getting past Group 2 winner Toast of New York when he makes his U.S. debut July 5, in the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park.
Formerly the Jamaica Handicap, which had been contested at the Belmont fall meet, this will be the first edition as the Belmont Derby Invitational. The New York Racing Association accomplished its goal of attracting a strong international field for the 1 ¼-mile turf race, as five of the 11 3-year-old entrants started their careers outside of North America.
One of those five is Michael Buckley's Toast of New York, who will be making his first start since rolling to a 2 ½-length score in the UAE Derby March 29 on the synthetic surface at Meydan. Trained by Jamie Osborne with regular rider Jamie Spencer making the trip as well, Toast of New York has won three straight races by a combined 30 ½ lengths.
The biggest question mark for Toast of New York, who drew the rail, will be the return to turf for the first time since finishing off the board in his career debut last year at Leicester. His three straight victories came on synthetic surfaces in England and the United Arab Emirates.
BELMONT DERBY DRAW
The most accomplished U.S. starter in the field is Grade 1 winner Dance With Fate, racing for the first time since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Two Step Salsa posted a 1 ¾-length win in this year's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on the Polytrack at Keeneland and registered the same margin of victory in his only career turf start, an allowance/optional claiming race Jan. 24 at Santa Anita Park.
Joseph Ciaglia, Sharon Alesia, and Bran Jam Stable's Dance With Fate will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, who was aboard for the Blue Grass and the Derby.
Owners associated with John Magnier's Coolmore operation will send out Adelaide. The Group 3 winner in Ireland enters off a runner-up finish to Eagle Top in the King Edward VII Stakes June 20 at Royal Ascot, where the son of Galileo was favored.
Also making his U.S. debut will be Pornichet, who is owned by his trainer Gai Waterhouse. The son of Vespone enters off a third place finish in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas). He'll race for the first time with blinkers and Lasix.
The field also includes the top two finishers from the $500,000 Penn Mile in winner Bobby's Kitten and runner-up Global View.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Bobby's Kitten, a grade III-winning son of Kitten's Joy who finished third as the favorite in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, has hit the board in all six of his career turf starts.
Glen Hill Farm's Global View, by Galileo, won this year's American Turf Stakes on the Churchill Downs turf.