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Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Belmont Stakes Notes


• Orb ‘fine’ morning after Sunday breeze; Pletcher awaiting final decision from owner Repole; Incognito set for Belmont Stakes following Sunday breeze; Always in a Tiz decision to come Tuesday; Oxbow and Will Take Charge scheduled to arrive this evening
• McPeek confirms Frac Daddy for Belmont Stakes
• Rain prompts Rodriguez to postpone Vyjack’s breeze to Tuesday
• NYRA to offer a Secretariat poster giveaway on Friday


ELMONT, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Kentucky Derby winner Orb was maintaining good form the morning after the colt breezed four furlongs, his final major work prior to Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes.

“He came out of his work good, ate up good, walked this morning, seems to be fine,” said McGaughey, who trains the son of Malibu Moon for Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable.

As many as 15 horses could end up contesting the 2013 Belmont Stakes, which could force Orb, a stretch-runner, and jockey Joel Rosario to thread their way through traffic.

“[The large field is] more concerning than anything else because not all of them in there belong, but they have as much right to run as anybody else, so I do think the race will be pretty spread out,” said McGaughey. “He ran with 18 in the Derby.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher reported this morning that all five of his Belmont Stakes hopefuls were “A-OK” following their breezes on Sunday, and that a decision on race status for the filly Unlimited Budget and the lightly raced Midnight Taboo was still pending.

“I have not yet spoken with [owner] Mike Repole, and he will make the final decision,” said Pletcher, who definitely will saddle WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary, Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice, and Repole’s Overanalyze in the 1 ½-mile race.

Incognito, fifth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, also emerged from his Sunday workout in good shape, according to Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Trainer Dominick Schettino said on Monday he and owners Anthony and MaryEllen Bonomo will make a final decision on Always in a Tiz’s status for the Belmont by tomorrow afternoon. Schettino and the Bonomos will choose either the Belmont Stakes or the $150,000 Easy Goer on Saturday’s undercard for Always in a Tiz, most recently ninth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 6.

D. Wayne Lukas’ Belmont Stakes contenders Oxbow and Will Take Charge remain scheduled to arrive at Belmont Park via van Monday evening.

* * *

Trainer Ken McPeek confirmed Monday morning that Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Frac Daddy will run Saturday in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes.

McPeek said the Scat Daddy colt will fly to New York from Kentucky tomorrow and be ridden in the third leg of the Triple Crown by Alan Garcia.

“Talking to Carter Stewart, the principal partner for Magic City, he’s game, you know?” McPeek said. “We still believe this is a really, really good horse, but for whatever reason it hasn’t happened for him. Sometimes you throw deep and it goes incomplete, but you can’t score if you don’t throw. [Stewart] is the ideal client to throw deep and we won the Travers for him last year [with dead-heat winner Golden Ticket].”

Frac Daddy, who descends from the same female family as 1997 Delaware Handicap winner Power Play, has one win in seven career starts. He broke his maiden in his second start last November at Churchill Downs and then finished second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.

This year, he disappointed McPeek with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, and then was three wide on the far turn when seventh behind Orb in the Florida Derby. Frac Daddy ran in the Kentucky Derby and finished 16th.

“I do believe the horse will run well,” McPeek said of the plan to go in the Belmont. “I think the pace in the Belmont will suit him well, too. He drew outside in the Derby and couldn’t get position, and I don’t think he handled the slop. He’s worked on a dry track a couple times recently and worked freaky good. I think he’s got a big shot at it.”

* * *

Monday morning rain prompted trainer Rudy Rodriguez to push back Vyjack’s scheduled breeze to Tuesday. Instead, the gelding galloped 1 ½ miles over the Belmont main track with Rodriguez aboard.

“He jogged a bit and galloped the wrong way,” said Rodriguez. “He was acting up a little bit and I didn’t want him fighting me, so I opened him up a little bit. He seems good.”

Rodriguez said Vyjack’s Tuesday breeze will come at 8:45 a.m. The trainer also confirmed that Julien Leparoux will ride the Pick Six Racing color-bearer for the first time in the Belmont Stakes.

“He’s a very good rider and has very good hands,” said Rodriguez of Leparoux. “So, hopefully, he’ll be able to get the horse to relax and be at the back of the pack. And, hopefully, he’ll be able to make a move.”

Vyjack – who opened his career with four victories, including the Grade 3 Gotham in March at Aqueduct – is looking to regain the winning thread in the Belmont after finishing third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at the Big A in April and 18th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4.

* * *

Forty years ago, Secretariat cemented his place in history with an unimaginable 31-length victory in the 105th Belmont Stakes, capping an amazing run in becoming the ninth horse to win racing’s Triple Crown.

To celebrate the anniversary of Big Red’s accomplishment, the New York Racing Association, Inc. will be holding a Secretariat poster giveaway on Friday, June 7, the day before the running of the 145th Belmont Stakes.

Posters will be handed out at the paddock, backyard and clubhouse gates, free with paid admission, while supplies last.



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