Irish War Cry, Hollywood Handsome join field for Belmont

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NEW YORK — Irish War Cry and Hollywood Handsome have joined a probable 12-horse field for the Belmont Stakes, which is still shaping up with a week to go until the last leg of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Graham Motion said Sunday that Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry will make his next start in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont on June 10. The colt finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby after prompting a fast pace and didn’t run in the Preakness.

Hollywood Handsome will make his Triple Crown debut in the Belmont. The colt finished fifth in the Illinois Derby and won an allowance race at his home base of Churchill Downs three weeks later. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Hollywood Handsome is already at Belmont Park, where he completed his last serious workout on Friday.

Joining them as probable starters in the $1.5 million race are: Classic Empire, Japan-based Epicharis, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiplier, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit and Twisted Tom.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Sunday he has a spot on a New York-bound plane booked for Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, but no decision has yet been made whether the Southern California-based horse will run.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

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BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.