He gave us all a thrill when closing deep on favored Outwork in the Wood Memorial. Now Trojan Nation will be taking his talents back to New York with an intended start in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. The third jewel of the Triple Crown often has a maiden or two, but historically of course, they do not fare all that well against classy company. The son of Street Cry [IRE] finished sixteenth in the Kentucky Derby, and following a strong work at Belmont Park, hopes to hit pay dirt in the sandy loam of the main track.
Horse: Trojan Nation
Pedigree: Street Cry [IRE] x Storm Song, by Summer Squall
Jockey: Aaron Gryder
Trainer: Patrick Gallagher
Career Record: 7:0-1-3
Triple Crown Record: 16th in Kentucky Derby
Running Style: Closing
Owner: Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones
Summary: Missing the Wood Memorial (I) by a short stubborn head at 80-1 odds, Trojan Nation showed the racing world he was a fit closer to the race’s hot early pace and that he loved a sloppy going. But what else to draw from there? It might be worth arguing that he belongs to the club of horses who did not appreciate the California soil but romp in New York– much like Whitney (I) winner Moreno!– and that he might just need more ground. What better race that appeals to both of these aspects than the Belmont Stakes, where every longshot has a shot?
From a pedigree standpoint, Trojan Nation is interesting, being by distance sire Street Cry [IRE] and out of 1996 Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Storm Song. In this family, distance races are a strong suit, with prior crosses of Street Cry with Summer Squall mares yielding G1 winning juvenile Street Hero.
However, from a historical standpoint as well as a handicapper’s concerning this year’s running, the typical closing style exhibited by Trojan Nation won’t cut it here with maybe one early speed type in the cards. The colt benefited from an early duel between Matt King Coal and Outwork in the Wood Memorial, and even then, he couldn’t close the book. He has been working bullet moves at Belmont Park, with five furlongs timed in :59 1/5 one week before the Belmont and a breeze in 1:00 1/5 six days prior.
Feature image courtesy NYRA/Adam Coglianese