Joseph O’Brien targets Belmont Stakes Festival as Baron Samedi bids to extend win streak to seven

Horse Racing Joseph O'Brien - sends Baron Samedi to Belmont
Joseph O’Brien: has sent Baron Samedi and Thundering Nights to the Belmont Racing Festival. Photo: Breeders’ Cup/Bill Denver/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

By NYRA press office

USA: Baron Samedi, who has been transformed from lowly rated handicapper to G2 winner by Joseph O’Brien, will bid to maintain a remarkable winning streak in New York at next week’s Belmont Racing Festival.

The four-year-old has been flown to the US to contest the Belmont Gold Cup, a $400,000 event over two miles on Friday’s card in which he will seek his seventh win in a row. Stablemate Thundering Nights contests the $750,000 New York Stakes on the same card; both races are G2 events and John Velazquez rides both Irish visitors.

Belmont Stakes: the takeaway as Essential Quality wins an epic on a great day for Godolphin

Baron Samedi never finished nearer than fifth in his first five starts but since he was gelded he has gone undefeated, starting his sequence in August last year with a handicap victory off a mark of 65 and ending the season with a G2 triumph in the Prix de Conseil de Paris, in which he beat Mare Australis, now a leading Arc contender.

Now rated 112, Baron Samedi won the G3 Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan first time out, beating his stablemate Master Of Reality. “He’s really matured physically,” O’Brien said.

“He’s been a nice, progressive horse into this season,” the trainer went on. “He’s a horse that will stay well. Tactically and ground wise, he’s shown that he is quite versatile. He was a relatively cheap purchase of a foal. They bought him for very little money. As he has matured physically, he’s really matured. He’s got better with more distance.”

Four-year-old filly Thundering Nights won the G3 Snow Fairy Stakes at the Curragh last year and finished a close second to Broome in last month’s 2021 debut.

“She’s a really nice filly,” O’Brien said. “Night of Thunder has been a great stallion in Europe and she ran a really big race at The Curragh last out. She’s quite versatile from a ground standpoint.”

The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival runs from June 3-5, and is headlined by the 153rd running of the $1.5m Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the US Triple Crown which is set to feature Godolphin’s UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance.

He will be one of four Charlie Appleby-trained horses running at the meet with Desert Peace set to contest the G2 True North on Friday, while Althiqa and Summer Romance are on course for the G1 Just A Game on the Belmont undercard.

• Visit the Joseph O’Brien website and the New York Racing Association website

‘If it’s good or faster, we’re up for it big time’ – William Haggas on Derby hope Mohaafeth

Royal Ascot: Irad Ortiz joins John Velazquez and Joel Rosario on star-studded Wesley Ward team

Top marks: Satoshi Kobayashi celebrates Group-race breakthrough in Italian Derby

World top 20 active racehorses | World top jockeys and trainers

Visit the Horse Racing Planet home page for more racing news