Only hours before the Derby, however, it was discovered he had an ankle injury, and instead, I Want Revenge became the first morning-line favorite to be scratched on the day of the race. The injury then turned out to be more serious that anyone initially suspected, and few thought I Want Revenge would ever return to the races after undergoing surgery to repair the damaged ligament in his right front ankle.
Although it will be the first time he’s saddled I Want Revenge in a race, trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. has seen enough in the colt’s training to be seriously impressed.
“Talent-wise, he stacks right up there as far as his training goes,” said Dutrow, who has had the Stephen Got Even colt in his barn since April. “It seems like he’s ready to run. He’s a good one, and he’s supposed to be with these kind of horses. He’s been developing the way you want a 4-year-old to develop. Every day has been a good day with him.
“He doesn’t train like he needs a race to show up,” added Dutrow, who will also saddle Pictural as part of the IEAH Stables’ entry in the Suburban, shortened from 1¼ miles to 1 1/8th miles this year. “If he gets a little tired, that’s OK, not a big deal.”
Joe Talamo, who was aboard I Want Revenge for all three of his victories, rides from post position 4 while Pictural, with Mike Luzzi up, breaks from post position 3. The entry is 7-5 on the morning line.
Also returning to the races off a lengthy layoff is Godolphin Racing’s Regal Ransom, the Grade 2 Louisiana Super Derby winner who was last seen fading to eighth after setting the pace in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Having wintered in Dubai, the 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor returned to New York in the spring and has been working steadily towards a return.
“It’s not the easiest spot, going nine furlongs coming back off a layoff, but if you had to run one off the bench, he’s the one,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to Godolphin head trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “We know he likes this track as well.”
Alan Garcia has the mount of Regal Ransom, 2-1 on the morning line, from post position 6.
Turtle Bird Stable’s Haynesfield is another who was on the 2009 Triple Crown trail, albeit briefly. The New York-bred son of Speightstown won four straight races at Aqueduct last winter, including the Count Fleet and Whirlaway, before finishing eighth behind I Want Revenge in the Gotham, his lone finish out of the money.
Off for seven months after the Gotham, Haynesfield returned to finish second in a restricted overnight stakes, then won the Empire Classic over fellow state-breds before wrapping up his sophomore campaign with a victory in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap.
In his 2010 debut less than three weeks ago, Haynesfield ran his record to 7-1-1 from 10 starts with a front-running victory in a New York-bred optional claimer going a mile.
“His comeback race was very nice,” said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “He’ll have to improve off that.”
Listed at 5-1, Haynesfield will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez from post position 7.
In his most recent start, Centennial Farms’ Convocation ran into the top older male in training, finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap behind Quality Road. Second in the Grade 3 Westchester on Opening Day at Belmont Park, the 4-year-old Pulpit colt will be making his first start past a mile this year.
Kent Desormeaux rides Convocation, 4-1, from post position 2.
Eldaafer has been no worse than third in all six of his starts at Belmont Park, with three victories, including a maiden win, a 1 1/16th mile allowance on May 20 and last year’s Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at 1½ miles. With Jose Valdivia Jr. up, the 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy will break from the rail at 10-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field is Unbridled Danger, who will be making the 82nd start of his career in the Suburban. The 7-year-old gelding, ridden by Jaime Rodriguez, is 30-1 on the morning line from post position 5.