June 9 – On last year’s Belmont Stakes Day undercard, Paul Pompa Jr.’s Rally Cry ran third in the Easy Goer Stakes. This weekend, the 4-year-old returns to the Belmont undercard—but this time, he steps up to take a shot in the Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1).
Rally Cry will be joined in the Met Mile starting gate by his multiple graded stakes winning stablemate Tommy Macho, making his first start since a third-place finish in the Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct Racetrack in April.
“He runs better when he’s freshened a little bit,” said Pompa. “There’s nothing wrong with him. We targeted the Carter, and we targeted the Met Mile. We could have run him in between, but there was nowhere to run him.”
Pompa came close to running three horses in the race, but his grade 1 winner Connect was forced to the sidelines with an injury late last month.
Pompa purchased Rally Cry as a pinhooked two-year-old at the 2015 Barrett’s sale of Selected 2-year-olds in training, paying $250,000 him. He purchased Tommy Macho privately after the horse’s first start, on the advice of bloodstock agent Nick Sallusto.
“It was a really good purchase,” said Pompa of the Macho Uno 5-year-old who has earned nearly $623,000. “He’s been hard-knocking for the last two or three years and he has a real chance.”
“I’ve bought a lot of nice horses from Nick,” he went on. “D’Funnybone, This Ones For Phil, Franny Freud. Nick has a lot of credibility with me.”
Both Rally Cry and Tommy Macho seek their first grade 1 win on Saturday; both are trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Met Mile with Quality Road in 2010 and Palace Malice in 2014. The win would be Pompa’s first in the race.
“I’m a fortunate guy,” he said. “I’ve got some nice older horses.
– by Teresa Genaro/The Blood-Horse (edited)