Flintshire and jockey Javier Castellano win the Woodford Reserve Manhattan (Gr I) at Belmont Park
The well-traveled Multiple graded-stakes winner Flintshire will make his return to Saratoga Race Course on Saturday headlining the 58th running of the Grade 2, $ 250,000 Bowling Green Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf.
Owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, the now 6-year-old first traveled to Saratoga last year following a successful European campaign under trainer Andre Fabre to win the Grade 1 Sword Dancer. He followed that performance with a pair of second-place finishes in the Group 1 Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe and Group 1 Hong Kong Vase before being transferred to trainer Chad Brown. In his first start for Brown Flintshire came off a six-month layoff to win he won the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap on June 11 at Belmont Park. by 1 ¾ lengths picking up a field best 110 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He’s doing really well,” said Brown. “His last work was at Belmont but he’s here [Saratoga] now. He came to us in really good shape from Andre Fabre, in mint condition. At his age, for a horse to come in looking that good, it’s really a testament to how well both Fabre and Juddmonte managed this horse, as well his whole career with all the traveling he’s done.”
Looking to use the Bowling Green as another step towards the ultimate goal, The Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, Brown preferred the timing of this race to keep Flintshire sharp, rather than to just remain in training.
“I think he got a lot out of the Manhattan,” added Brown. “Exiting the race he’s a fitter and stronger horse. I feel like the timing of this race works well for him. I hate to take him out of Grade 1 competition but I like where he’s at fitness wise.”
Expected to receive the majority of support at the windows, Flintshire will leave from post positon 2, reuniting with Javier Castellano who was aboard for the Sword Dancer and Manhattan, Flintshire will leave from post position 2.
Leading the charge to upset the expected favorite is Grupo Seven C Stable’s Grand Tito. With two wins from four starts this year, the 6-year-old son of Candy Ride most recently finished fourth in the Manhattan. Previous to that race he was third in the Grade 2 Pan American Games on April 2 at Gulfstream Park.
Drawing post 5, Grand Tito will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
A multiple graded stakes winner in his own right, West Point Thoroughbreds Twilight Ecllipse will look to turn the tables on Flintshire. Last year, he finished third to in the Sword Dancer and in 2014 fashioned a third-place finish to Flintshire’s second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Coming off an allowance victory on July 8 at Belmont, Twilight Eclipse has deslighted trainer Tom Albertrani with his training.
“He’s come out of his last race training really well,” said Albertrani. “We know we’ve got a tough horse to beat but we finished close to him a couple of years back in the Breeders’ Cup. Hopefully we run our ‘A’ game and we’ll take our shot.”
Drawing the rail, Twilight Eclipse will be ridden by for the first time by Manny Franco.
Rounding out the field are Danish Dynaformer for trainer Roger Attfield and owner Charles Fipke, who last out won the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes on July 3 at Woodbine Racetrack, and Can’thelpbelieving for trainer Graham Motion and owner Albert Frassetto.
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