Bernardini can sire his second feature winner in a week with Stay Thirsty in the G1 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Belmont this Saturday.
Stay Thirsty already has a G1 to his credit in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and he will take on older horses for the first time in New York City.
“Stay Thirsty seems to be maintaining form really well,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Since the Kentucky Derby, he’s trained like a different horse. The Derby knocks some of them for a loop but he did the opposite and thrived off it.”
Stay Thirsty (3c Bernardini – Marozia by Storm Bird) was bred in Kentucky by John Gunther and was a $500,000 buy at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2YO Sale in February 2010.
He has earned more than $1.40 million for owner Mike Repole and the $750,000 Jockey Club Cup is a stepping-stone to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Bernardini won the 2006 Jockey Club Cup but was unlucky when beaten by Invasor in that year’s BC Classic.
Bernardini colt To Honor And Serve began a big week for the Darley shuttler with a record-breaking victory in the G2 Pennsylvania Derby (1800m) on Saturday.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was pleased but not surprised when To Honor And Serve defeated G1 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice by two lengths in the fastest time for the race in 32 editions.
To Honor And Serve (3c Bernardini – Pilfer by Deputy Minister) won the G2 Nashua Stakes and G2 Remsen Stakes at two but was sidelined with a suspensory ligament injury prior to the Kentucky Derby.
He was bred in Kentucky by Twins Creeks Farm and was a $575,000 yearling buy at Keeneland in September 2009.
Mott trains the colt for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation and his long-term goal is also the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 5.
“We will discuss the Breeders’ Cup after Saturday,” Mott said. “The timing would be right and things have fallen into place.”
Bernardini (A.P. Indy) is currently covering his fourth southern book of mares at Darley Kelvinside for a fee of $38,500 (inc gst).