Monday, May 24, 2010


BELMONT PARK NOTES: Sunday, May 23, 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – With trainer Alexis Barba looking on, Make Music for Me had his first breeze at Belmont Park Sunday morning, covering a mile in 1:43.65 in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 5.

The other Belmont hopeful on the work tab was Grade 2 Dwyer runner-up Drosselmeyer, who went six furlongs in 1:14.10 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.


While the times appeared slow, both Barba and Mott felt the main track was somewhat deep and said they were satisfied with the moves. Make Music for Me’s breeze was the only one at a mile, while Drosselmeyer’s was the faster of two at six furlongs, with workmate Raging Wit covering the distance in 1:15.24

“I’m not used to the times here, but he’s fine,” said Barba, who is more familiar with the synthetic surfaces in southern California, where she is based. “The track is deep, and it’s what we needed to do. It’s a good time to get a good workout in him.”

The move was the third for Make Music for Me since his last-to-fourth performance in the Kentucky Derby, having breezed a half-mile in 48.60 on May 10 and five furlongs in 1:03.20 on May 16, both over the synthetic surface at Keeneland.

Barba said the colt, owned by Peter and Ellen Johnson, would walk, jog and gallop until his next breeze on May 30.

Mott, who will be saddling his fifth Belmont Stakes starter and first since Vision and Verse finished second in 1999, said the WinStar Farm colt’s work was “visually impressive.”

“By the stopwatch it was slow, but we thought it was a useful work, considering the track was quite slow,” said Mott. “It was a good, steady work, he went by his company when he was supposed to, and he galloped out well.”

The Distorted Humor colt, who has not been off the board in eight lifetime starts, will work again next weekend for the 1 ½ mile Belmont, said Mott.

First Dude, runner-up in the Preakness, jogged over the main track Sunday morning under Tammy Fox, and will gallop 1 ½ miles daily until Saturday’s scheduled work, said the exercise rider.

“He seemed to handle it fine,” said Fox, who is overseeing First Dude’s Belmont preparations until trainer Dale Roman’s arrival on Friday. A son of Stephen Got Even owned by Donald R. Dizney, First Dude is 1-2-1 from five starts this year, having broken his maiden at Gulfstream Park on January 30.

A field of ten is shaping up for the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown, including the Bob Baffert-trained Game On Dude, Stately Victor, Stay Put, Uptowncharlybrown, Spangled Star and the Nick Zito-trained duo of Fly Down and Ice Box.

Saturday at Saratoga, Fly Down went a half-mile in 49.40.

* * *

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is not one given to superlatives, but he came close after Proviso’s bullet five-furlong work in 59.52 Sunday morning over the inner turf.

“It was,” he said, “one of those works that sort of ‘wowed’ you.”

Winner of the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile in her last start, the 5-year-old Dansili mare is being pointed to the Grade 1 Just A Game for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf on the Belmont Stakes undercard, in which she will be the likely favorite.

“It was a great work,” said Mott. “She lay in behind her company and came out the last sixteenth of a mile and finished well. It was very professional, and she seemed very relaxed in the early stages of the work, which has always been a bit of an issue. She tends to be a bit anxious, she settled in nicely.”

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Proviso began her career in Europe, and last fall finished second in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland in her United States debut. Fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic while in the care of the late Hall of Fame trainer, Bobby Frankel, she made her first start for Mott in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap on January 30 and then rallied from far back to nose out Fluke on the Kilroe Mile on the turf on March 6.

* * *

Eightyfiveinafifty turned in another swift work at Aqueduct Sunday morning in preparation for an expected start in the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard. The 3-year-old son of Forest Camp covered six furlongs in 1:11.84, the fastest of five moves at the distance.

“He’s on track and it’s all good,” said Gary Contessa, who trains the colt for Harold Lerner, John Moirano, and Team Stallion Racing. “We’re taking it one day at a time and everything needs to go according to plan, but if he comes out of the work well and continues to do well, we’ll run in the Woody Stephens.”

Eightyfiveinafifty last started in a muddy edition of the Grade 3 Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 24, finishing fourth. Contessa said that the colt seemed not to handle the track that day and that the race seemed to take something out of him, but that he has bounced back nicely in the five weeks since.

“He’s acting like his old self again and he certainly hasn’t lost anything in the morning,” said Contessa. “He’ll work again next weekend and it will be six weeks since the Derby Trial. I think the time has done him good, and that the Woody Stephens is a good spot and he’s coming into it well.”

* * *

Turf marathoner Interpatation, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic over soft ground, breezed five furlongs over the Belmont main track in 1:01.40 on Sunday morning.

The workout was the second drill for the 8-year-old gelding since an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy over 1 1/16th miles on May 1.

“He came out of the [Fort Marcy] well,” said trainer Bobby Barbara. “It was just to give him something to do. A mile and a sixteenth isn’t his game anymore. He doesn’t have the kick for distances like that.”

The gelded son of Langfuhr will make his next start in the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 5.

“We’ll go to the Manhattan and hope the skies open up,” said Barbara. “We never miss any dances!”

Owned by Elliot Mavorah, Interpatation has a record of 6-4-11 from 56 career starts and has earned over $1.15 million.

* * *

Nordic Truce, an undefeated 3-year-old colt from the barn of Christophe Clement, breezed on the turf at Belmont Park on Sunday morning in preparation for a start in the Grade 3 Hill Prince on June 4.

Clockers caught the sophomore covering four furlongs around dogs in 49.60, but Clement said the colt actually worked an additional furlong.

“It was actually five-eighths because he worked past the finish line,” said Clement. “He started behind a horse, but they finished up together.”

Owned by Ammerland Stud, the son of Yes It’s True has raced exclusively on the turf, breaking his maiden impressively at Calder before winning the Dania Beach at Gulfstream on January 16 and the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland on April 2.

“It’s a long year and the main races will be in the summer and the fall,” Clement said. “But for now we’re just looking at the Hill Prince.”


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