- This is a must-win for Lost in the Fog today in the G3 Aristides Breeders Cup at Churchill. We can give him the first-off-the-layoff excuse in his Golden Gate debut in April, coming as it did against a very sharp sprinter in Charthage (who will run at Bay Meadows on Sunday). There’s nobody as good as that one in here; none of these horses (including Lost in the Fog for that matter) have cracked triple Beyer digits in their last two races. Greg Gilchrist expects a better effort today.
"With all the build-up and expectations, I didn't want to flat out say the horse was going to run bad but I made it clear [the Golden Gate Sprint] wasn't going to be his best race. Sure enough, three days later he was dead lame. He had a big bruise in one foot. So it was there, we took care of it and, overall, I'm sure he's a much fitter horse than he was six weeks ago." [FOX Sports]Three other stakes on the Churchill card, as the Kentucky track and Belmont will trade big weekend for the next three weeks (Belmont Stakes next week, Stephen Foster the following).
- Nice allowance win for Rathor at Belmont on Friday, and Bobby Frankel has bigger goals in mind for the four-year old son of Machiavellian. "If he runs really well, he could come back in the Suburban,” Frankel said earlier in the week. He ran really well; in fact, it was closer to a public workout as Elbar Coa never even thought about going to the whip, and was able to gear the horse down near the wire. He’s now undefeated in three races on the dirt here after coming over from the UK.
- Steppenwolfer had a huge workout on Friday, getting six furlongs in 1:10.36.
Belmont clockers timed Steppenwolfer in fractions of 12.16 seconds, 24.00, 35.65, and 47.06. Steppenwolfer galloped out seven furlongs in 1:23.73 and continued out a mile in 1:37.62.Dan Pietz said that the colt hadn’t worked so quickly since his work for the two-year old sale that he topped at $375,000, and reader Marc asks “How good would Steppenwolfer be if he hadn't been cranked up for a 2-yr-old sale?” Perhaps we’ll find out next Saturday. We don’t generally see the Belmont won in the last-to-first fashion that one would associate with Steppenwolfer, but perhaps he’ll be closer to the pace this time. "I think he has more natural speed than what he shows in the afternoon," Peitz said. [Bloodhorse]
Castillo wasn't pushing on the horse, and the horse was not blowing back at the barn.
"He did it in a way that left my mouth open,'' Castillo said. [Daily Racing Form]
- John Velazquez returned to the races with a win at Belmont on Friday, guiding Pletcher’s Mr. Sam I Am to a win in the 4th race. He was supposed to ride at Monmouth, but appeared at Belmont instead, and just like that, it was ‘thanks, see ya’ for Garrett Gomez, who was originally named to ride. It seemed like a major sucker bet, as Mr. Sam I Am was sent off at 6-5 despite having never run on the turf. But sentiment got the better of logic in this case, and it was a triumphant return for the rider, who was out since April 13, when he suffered injuries - a fractured collarbone, partially collapsed lung, torn shoulder ligaments and bruised ribs - that would have many of us still lying in bed watching TVG.