Wolfson eyes Belmont Park for Atreides - NBC Sports

Wolfson eyes Belmont Park for Atreides
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September 4, 2014, 11:15 pm

After reporting that undefeated Atreides has come out of his 17 1/2-length victory in last Saturday's Monarchos at Gulfstream Park in good order, trainer Marty Wolfson said that the Stonestreet Stable homebred's next start has yet to be decided.

"We're looking at all our options. We're looking at Indiana or maybe the Kelso," Wolfson said Thursday. "I don't know. We're not sure."

The Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand on October 4 and the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso at Belmont Park on September 27 both have their pluses and minuses for Atreides, who has won his three starts at Gulfstream by a total of 25 3/5 lengths while registering three-straight 100-plus BRIS Speed figures.

The Indiana Derby is restricted to three-year-olds, but the 1 1/16-mile distance isn't deemed ideal by Wolfson.

"Indiana is two turns," he explained. "I hate to experiment two turns and ship. It's just an option. (The Kelso) is logical. It gives us a month."

The Kelso is a one-turn mile for three-year-olds and up.

"It's a mile, but it's against older horses. There aren't many three-year-old races. Any three-year-old races are around two turns," Wolfson said. "The Kelso is around one turn, which is really great."

Atreides has performed in his brief three-race career like a colt with considerably more seasoning, which could signal that he's ready to compete with older foes.

"Mentally, he is. Physically, I don't know," Wolfson admitted. "He came in with a great foundation from (Stonestreet trainer) Ian (Brennan) in Ocala, but mentally, he's very mature."

The smooth-striding Atreides couldn't have been more impressive while scoring his open-lengths romp in the one-turn mile Monarchos. Rating kindly off a sensible pace along the backstretch, the Kentucky-bred colt swooped to the lead under his own power around the far turn and powered to a dominating victory.

"He does it so easy. That's the way it looked when he went :44-and-2 and :56-and change in his first race. He didn't look like he was running that fast," Wolfson said.

The son of Medaglia d'Oro debuted at six furlongs on July 12 with a 5 1/2-length victory in 1:08.69, just .57 seconds off the track record set by champion Big Drama in 2011. The half-brother to Grade 1 heroine Dreaming of Julia came right back to run 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15 2/5 while scoring by three lengths on August 10.

Atreides is one of 29 winners ridden by Edgard Zayas during the last nine racing days at Gulfstream Park. The 21-year-old jockey has ridden at least two winners on each of the nine programs during a streak that includes three four-win days, as well as a five-win performance.

Zayas has been aboard for all three of Atreides starts and has become increasingly impressed with the colt.

"He's really a great horse. He has a really beautiful stride and a lot of ability," Zayas said. "You feel like he's galloping easy and then you see the fractions -- :22 and :44; he's flying. But he relaxes. He's not crazy speed. He's been improving race by race."

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