- Nick Zito tells the NY Post why he’s sending three horses with no graded stakes credentials in the Belmont. "One thing I learned from Hirsch Jacobs and Allen Jerkens is that when your horses are doing good, run 'em…..These three horses could not be doing better than right now." He has all three up at Saratoga and will send them to Belmont on Wednesday. Steve Haskin has an interesting tidbit about Zito trying to buy Afleet Alex after seeing his maiden win at Delaware on TV.
Zito called Ritchey himself. "Nick asked if he was for sale," Ritchey recalled. "Then, he said again, 'Name your price.' But the owners (Cash is King Stable) had no interest in selling."Watchmon could be the longest price on the board, but his owner tells us “He'll get the distance." It’s amazing how assuredly we’re told that these horses will get a mile and a half, when some haven’t proven they can win at shorter distances. Patrick Biancone is at least honest when he said of Chekhov, “The only thing I don't know about is the distance." [Bloodhorse]
"He was the only horse that's ever reminded me of Spectacular Bid," Zito said. "I remember when 'The Bid' broke his maiden, and it was so similar. I wanted to buy the horse for Bob LaPenta. I knew this was no ordinary horse; that's why I told Timmy to buy him at any price. Here I am offering a million dollars or more for a horse who had just broken his maiden at Delaware Park and they turned us down." [Bloodhorse]
- With Richard Dutrow suspended until July 30, he’s lost, at least temporarily two of his stars. Sis City and Saint Liam have been sent to Bobby Frankel, like he needs anymore outstanding thoroughbreds. While the racing manager for Stonerside said that Sis City’s owners “would review the situation” once the suspension is served, Saint Liam’s connections said that “we're planning on giving the horse back to Rick, mainly because Bobby has so many in that category, including the big gun." [Daily Racing Form] Indeed, Saint Liam, who battled within a neck of big gun Ghostzapper, is aiming for the same races as the champ - the Whitney and the Woodward.
- Medallist has been retired to stud with a fractured sesamoid and will stand at Three Chimneys in Kentucky; he won the G2 Dwyer and two G3’s including last year’s Withers. He’s a son of Touch Gold, the winner of the 1997 Belmont, edging a determined Silver Charm, who was the even money favorite. It was the first time since 1989 that a horse came in with a chance to win the Triple Crown, and when Tom Durkin called that Touch Gold, who was owned by Frank Stronach, had won by a “heartbreaking half length,” you could feel the disappointment in his voice. Little did he know what would transpire the next year! It was the beginning of the revival in attendance for the Belmont, which had reached some scary low points. Though that doesn’t seem long ago, Touch Gold’s first crop is now five. He stands at Adena Springs for $50,000.
- If you have some time on your hand, check out this page from NYRA's Belmont site; it contains complete replays and calls of past Belmonts, hopefully you're lucky enough to have the right plug-in. If so, be prepared to spend some time. The Head Chef wanted to go to dinner before, but I got kind of involved. She was standing by the door as Angel Cordero got Bold Forbes to hold off Mackenzie Bridge. But then, when I got to the Marshall Cassidy years, I suddenly got very hungry and we were outta here; his shrill drone was particularly unwelcome after listening to races from the 70's with a young Dave Johnson, then at the very top of his game.