2024 Man O’ War Stakes (Belmont) - Analysis, picks, and predictions (GRADE: 75%)

Pick Pony |May 10, 2024, 9:11 p.m.

About the Man O’ War Stakes

Man O’ War at Belmont at the Big A

The Man o’ War Stakes is a Grade I horse race for thoroughbred horses aged four years and older, held annually in early May at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is run over one and three-eighth miles on turf and is named in honor of Man O’ War, a U.S. Racing Hall of Fame Champion who was ranked No. 1 in the Blood-Horse magazine’s Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century. Since the Breeders’ Cup Turf was introduced in 1984, the Man o’ War Stakes has become a significant preparatory event in the early fall.

This year, the Man O’ War will be Race 7 on the 11-race card at Belmont at the Big A.

2024 Man O’ War Stakes entries, picks, and predictions

Ohana Honor

Ohana Honor’s speed is consistently trending upward, but both her E1 and E2 paces show a downward trend. He’s one of the slower horses in the group. Ohana Honor’s works have been tailing off as the time between races decreases. That’s a good sign that Claude McGaughey is using this race as a training run. Toss.

Kertez

According to Trainer Christophe Clement, the previous race was used to prepare his runner for the Man o’ War event. Thus, the recent victory in the Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park appears to be a bonus. And don’t let the close finish fool you. A bad start and a clumsy lead change going down the stretch cost this French prodigy at least a length or two.

His speed could improve in this second race after a layoff. If so, he could give Nation’s Pride a run for his money. We’re putting Kertez in the Place position. Boxing with Nation’s Pride may be a good bet.

So High

So High could set the pace with Rocket and Roll, but can he hold it? Throughout his career, he has not seen much improvement in speed, and all of his pace figures are declining. We suspect he’ll put on a good show but finish out of the money.

Harry Hood

Harry Hood barely lost the Pan American by a nose, bested by Kertez, and clocked his best times ever - by far. However, that was a fluke. AI is predicting a decline in speed for this race. He will finish slightly out of the money.

Tawny Port

Christophe Clement’s second entry, Tawny Port barely lost the Pan American and is likely better than he appears on paper. Clement concurs:

Tawny Port is a beautiful horse. He’s very game. He’s very unlucky not to have won a graded stakes this winter. He’s run very well twice. So, we’ll try again.”

Can he do it? Possibly. His works have been strong, and it’s always hard to bet against Christophe Clement. His speed is improving at a consistent rate, which puts him right up there with Kertez and Harry Hood. If the overlay develops and the odds look good, drop some money on him just in case. We think he’ll finish #4 but hey…

Greek Order

His first US debut was a clumsy affair with a poor start and some trouble on the turn; thus, his sixth-place finish might be worse than it was. Bill Mott’s Greek Order should not be ignored. He likely won’t finish in the money - but could come close. Pay attention to the overlay.

Rocket and Roll

Rocket and Roll could be the pacesetter in this race, but his speed is nothing to write home about. His works are declining, possibly to rest him because we all know this route is too long for him. Toss.

Silver Knott

Charles Appleby’s second entry, Silver Knott barely missed favorite status. He won the VisitLEX Elkhorn Stakes (G2) last month with a decent speed rating that certainly could improve in this second race after a layoff. He has the fourth-fastest average speed in this race, with speed and pace all improving. His works were unusually slow, but that was likely just a tuneup to keep him moving. Silver Knott has an excellent shot. He’ll finish in the money, possibly in the #2 spot, but more likely, he’ll Show.

Nation's Pride

Dubai, England, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, and now the United States. One of two entries for trainer Charles Appleby, Godolphin’s Irish homebred Nation’s Pride will enter as the race favorite after a November layoff. How could he not after winning nine of his fifteen starts, including the Canadian International Stakes (G1) last fall, where he earned a 117 Equibase Speed Figure? The year prior, he won the 2022 Caesars Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes in his first and only race on the grass with a similar 116-speed figure. Traveling doesn’t seem to slow him down.
Traveling assistant Christiane Harley said:

“He loves to be away from home and to travel around. For a colt, he’s very good. He loves it. He’s doing well and has worked well. I have taken him around before, so I know him. He seems as good as he’s always been.”

But what about the layoff? Nationals Pride won the last three times he returned from a layoff. Even though Appleby put another horse in the race, we don’t think this is a training race for him. It’s Nation’s Pride for the win, but an underlay might prohibit decent money.