Shanghai Bobby, 2012 champion 2-year-old male, will make his first start in more than five months when he competes in the $100,000 Aljamin overnight stakes Sept. 20 at Belmont Park.
The Aljamin, race 3 on the card, is restricted to 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs.
Unbeaten in five starts as a 2-year-old, including a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park, Shanghai Bobby seeks his first victory of 2013. He was second in the Holy Bull Stakes in January and fifth in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby March 30, both at Gulfstream Park.
In April he was diagnosed with a pelvic stress fracture that forced him to miss the Triple Crown races. With a strong performance Friday, Shanghai Bobby could target November races like the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita or the Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack, trainer Todd Pletcher said.
"We're very pleased with the way he has been coming back," Pletcher said of Shanghai Bobby, who has been training at Saratoga Race Course. "He's grown up a bit, and it'd be good to get him started on a positive note. The first thing we need to see is a solid run from him on Friday."
The Aljamin will be Shanghai Bobby's first sprint start since his victory in the seven-furlong Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes last year. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Shanghai Bobby for the first time in the Aljamin.
Owned by Starlight Racing, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Shanghai Bobby drew post position 3. Shanghai Bobby's competition includes stakes winners Purple Egg and Whiskey Romeo, as well as stakes-placed Tenango.
"Even though it's an overnight stakes, it drew a competitive field," Pletcher said. "There are several nice horses in the race, and I hope [Shanghai Bobby] is not rusty and that he's ready to go."
The field also includes Slan Abhaile and Dads Caps.