- Barbaro chomped "phenomenally large" carrots as a wide-open field of 12 takes shape for the Belmont. Steve Crist says don’t bother to start scouring musty chart books from decades past to find a weaker Belmont lineup.
How about going back a mere 52 weeks?Jazil, High Finance, Sunriver, and Bluegrass Cat are all scheduled to work out on Monday morning. Dan Pietz is hoping that Steppenwolfer is OK after his six furlong work in 1:10 1/5 on Friday.
There's no one in this year's field who appears remotely as talented as Afleet Alex, but there's no evidence that Giacomo is any better than half of this year's lineup. Last year's Belmont had four graded-stakes winners, while this one has five. Last year's field had just three runners (Afleet Alex, Giacomo, and Reverberate) who had ever run a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 or better, while this year's has seven - High Finance (103), Bob and John (102), Deputy Glitters (102), Sunriver (102), Bluegrass Cat (101), Sacred Light (99), and Steppenwolfer (98). [Daily Racing Form]
“The fast work was probably a combination of a fast track and him working well. If you saw him do it, you would have thought he went in 1:14.”Team Valor purchased Oh So Awesome because they figured that the crop was a weak one and that the Belmont would be up for grabs. Though I’m sure they weren’t figuring on the eventual turn of events to make that so, they are right where they want to be. Barry Irwin told the Thoroughbred Times: "I've seen worse Belmonts for sure, but there's not anything in there that will scare anyone away." [Thoroughbred Times] He closed well enough for third in his Belmont debut to, I suppose, make him a viable candidate here.
Although Peitz said Steppenwolfer looked fine, he won’t know what impact the work had until the colt goes back to the track to train.
“I’m expecting him to be good when he goes back to the track,” Peitz said. “I’ll probably jog him a couple miles tomorrow, unless the track is real sloppy, then we’d probably shedrow him.” [NYRA]
NYRA VP Bill Nader maintains that "I think 60,000 is a realistic number for the Belmont Stakes Day attendance." [Albany Times-Union] With no horses with any real star power, NYRA is emphasizing the tradition of the race in its print ads, with pictures of Secretariat’s romp, Affirmed and Alydar’s duel, and a picture of our own trainer, Billy Turner in reference to Seattle Slew. They’re also reminding us that admission is “only $5.” That’s half of the price last year, but still more than the usual $2 grandstand admission. But the alcohol ban is still in effect, at the request of the NYPD and Nassau County police, according to.....Nader. [NY Post] I make the over-under 54,000.
- Attima took all the money for the G2 Honeymoon BC Handicap at Hollywood Sunday, and coasted home to a win at 4-5 over the previously-undefeated-in-the-US Foxysox. Take a look at the past performances, and you’ll see another example, as with the male division in the Shoemaker last week, of horses with very ordinary form in Europe moving to the fore of their divisions over here. Attima, by the Gone West stallion Zafonic, could do no better than third in three tries against graded company in France, but now moves on the the G1 Hollywood Oaks Invitational, for which she earns an automatic bid. Maybe. "The Oaks is in just 25 days," [trainer Julio Canani] told TVG, citing several other races later in the season. "That's not enough time. The first thing to me is the animal." [Bloodhorse]
Foxysox, winless in five races in the UK, suffered her first loss in her fifth start here.