News and STORIES

Sovereign Heads Competitive Man O’ War Stakes Field

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Friday May 07, 2021
There promises to be some very exciting action at Belmont Park this weekend, as the Grade 1 Man O’ War Stakes takes place. The race will be the tenth race on the card at Belmont and will see four talented horses aged four and over compete for the $700,000 purse. Contenders will travel over more than a mile in the race, and there are a number of horses that could be worth a second look for the race this weekend.

Sovereign Leads The Betting

Irish-bred Sovereign is the leading horse in the betting at present, as the Chad Brown-trained horse looks for a third career win in 15 starts. He has an excellent record of placing throughout his career, as he has placed on eight starts, which means that he has finished in the top three in more than half of his races. American fans may not know too much about this five-year-old, as the majority of his career has been spent in Europe, with runs in the United Kingdom and Ireland. His first Graded victory came in the form of the illustrious Irish Derby in June 2019, which came just a month after he had finished tenth in the Epsom Derby.

That strong Graded form continued throughout 2020, as he finished third in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Curragh and a second at Royal Ascot in King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. However, his form dipped towards the end of the season as he finished sixth in the Irish St Leger and fifth in the British Champions Long Distance Cup. A credible third in the Bahrain International Trophy to end the season means that there are still interesting claims for Sovereign as he makes his first start in the States.

Gufo Among Leading Contenders

The fact that Sovereign will be making his first start on American soil may be enough to put some gamblers off. Our pick for the race comes in the form of Gufo for trainer Christophe Clement. This four-year-old has strong Graded form and was the winner of the Belmont Derby Stakes last year. He followed that up with a decent third in the Hollywood Derby. Two strong Grade 1 performances heading into the Man O’ War Stakes is excellent form as far as we are concerned. His record is also impressive, as he has finished in the top three on all eight career starts, with Gufo winning on five occasions.

British-bred Ziyad for trainer Graham Motion will also be among the leaders in the betting. Despite spending the majority of his career in Europe, he has impressed on his first two American starts. He finished third in both the Sycamore Stakes and Red Smith Stakes at the end of last year. Ziyad also has strong European form, as he finished third in the Grade 2 Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville and third in the Grade 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Outside Chances For The Man O’ War Stakes

Field Pass and Moon Over Miami will be among the bigger priced selections that could get involved in the place positions. Field Pass has finished fourth in both his last two runs, with his most recent appearance coming in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes. However, the former Ontario Derby winner will need to find something more against this talented field.

Moon Over Miami is yet to win this season and is yet to win a Graded race. He came close last time out when he finished second in the Pan American Stakes. Channel Cat is another that is open for improvement, as he finished second in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland last time out. Shamrocket and So High will be the two outsiders in the betting for the Man O’ War Stakes.

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