Cheyenne Stables and Gaillarida Racing’s stakes-winning 2-year-old colt Opry will carry 122 pounds, including jockey Javier Castellano, when he goes postward in Saturday’s $200,000 Pilgrim S. (G3) at Belmont Park.
The 1 1/16-mile turf event drew a full field of 10 juvenile males in what is Belmont’s traditional prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), to be held at Churchill Downs in early November.
Opry, trained by Todd Pletcher, figures to be one of the favorites on Saturday based on his scintillating win in the With Anticipation S. (G3) on Aug. 29 at Saratoga, when he came from well off the pace to win by 1 1/2-lengths.
The dark bay son of Declaration of War has trained very well since, firing a bullet four furlongs on the grass in his most recent move on Sept. 21.
Opry actually broke his maiden in the With Anticipation, his second lifetime start.
“Initially, the plan was to run him on the turf and he drew the also-eligible,” said Pletcher of Opry’s path on getting to the races for the first time on Aug. 11. “When that race came off the turf we decided not to run even though we could’ve drawn in. We entered him back and the race came off the turf again, so I figured he trained well enough on the dirt that we needed to get him started. He ran a respectable race that day and I’d been impressed enough with his turf works to think it wasn’t crazy to enter him in the With Anticipation. Since then he’s continued to develop and certainly has earned his way into running here.”
Opry drew post five for Saturday’s race, which has a scheduled start time of 5:16 p.m. ET.