Draw For The Belmont Stakes Is Wednesday; Field Of 13 Likely

Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Exaggerator, who galloped the morning of June 6 at Belmont Park, is expected to face 12 other 3-year-olds in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

The field for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont grew to 13 with the addition of WinStar Farm’s Gettysburg, who finished third in an allowance race at Belmont May 26. The speedy Pioneerof the Nile   colt gives WinStar two Belmont starters; Creator, a Tapit   colt who won the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), was already expected for the race.

Preakness winner Exaggerator could take on as many as 12 foes in the Belmont. Photo by Anne Eberhardt.
Preakness winner Exaggerator could take on as many as 12 foes in the Belmont. Photo by Anne Eberhardt.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux was on hand to watch Exaggerator gallop 1 1/2 miles Monday morning.

“He looks great,” Desormeaux told New York Racing Association media officials. “I haven’t seen him in 12 days. I think he put on a few pounds, which is always a positive quality, especially when you’re running races that are so close together. (Assistant trainer) Julie (Clark) and his groom tell me he’s eating all his meals with vigor. That’s all we can ask for.”

Desormeaux said the Curlin   colt, who is owned by Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners, and Rocker O Ranch, will jog on the training track June 7 and school in the paddock in the days leading up to the Belmont.

“The track is a little deeper I think than (Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course), so that’s why we got him here as early as possible,” the trainer said. “It’s a little different—wider sweeping turns, (and a) deeper, sandy surface. I wanted to get him more action over the track.”

Gettysburg, a maiden winner in seven starts, likes to run on the near the lead unlike Creator, who comes from well off the pace. Gettysbury had been trained by Todd Pletcher but is now in the barn of Steve Asmussen, who June 6 told NYRA officials the colt would start in the Belmont.

As for Creator, he breezed a half-mile in on the training track in :50 4/5 Monday morning in his first work at Belmont since his arrival.

“He worked nice and steady with a good rhythm,” Asmussen assistant Toby Sheets said. “He actually loves it here. It’s much quieter than Churchill, so that makes a big difference.”

Samuel Henderson’s Suddenbreakingnews, a closing fifth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in his last start, worked a half-mile in :49 2/5 at Churchill the morning of June 6 and is scheduled to travel to New York Tuesday.

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said the Mineshaft   ridgling, yet another who likes to come from well back in his races, is well-prepared for the Belmont.

“I’m excited to bring this horse up there because I think the horse has a real chance,” Von Hemel said. “I’m looking forward to Saturday. You always think your horse is peaking at the right time and is the best he can be when you go into a race like this, but we’re very happy with the way he’s doing. We wouldn’t be coming otherwise.”

Others expected for the Belmont are Brody’s Cause, Cherry Wine, Destin, Forever d’Oro, Governor Malibu, Lani, Seeking the Soul, Stradivari, and Trojan Nation. Forever d’Oro and Seeking the Soul, both owned and bred by Charles Fipke and trained by Dallas Stewart, are coming off maiden victories May 29.


Reprinted from www.bloodhorse.com