Friday, June 07 2019

Belmont Park Notes 6/7

• Pletcher's first Belmont victory remains special
• Rushing Fall stands out in a crowd of Grade 1 winners
• Juddmonte's world-class legacy on display for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival
• Mitole puts streak on the line in G1 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap
• If the shoe fits...Tax training well into G1 Belmont Stakes
• Hennig has trio ready for BSRF action
• Intrepid Heart blossoming into a top-level contender
• Sisterson hoping for big day on Belmont undercard in Manhattan, Woody Stephens
• Triple Crown jockey autograph signing on Saturday

ELMONT, N.Y. - A dozen years, more than 2,700 victories and some $233.6 million in purses earned have passed since the filly Rags to Riches won the 2007 Belmont Stakes, but even after all that time trainer Todd Pletcher can't help but smile when recalling his first victory in a Triple Crown race.

"One of the amazing things about it, especially in the year afterward, is how people would come up to me and recall where they were and what they were doing when she won," said Pletcher, who will be seeking his fourth victory in the 1 ½-mile "Test of the Champion" on Saturday at Belmont Park with Intrepid Heart and Spinoff. "It really was a special moment for a lot of people."

The now seven-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner did not make a final decision on whether to start Michael Tabor's chestnut filly until the week of the race, not long after it was announced that Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense would not be running. The field remained a tough one by any standards, including, among others, Preakness winner Curlin, Derby runner-up Hard Spun and Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago.

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