Edited NYRA Release – Rich Strike, the 80-1 upset winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, arrived in New York at 1 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday to prepare for the 154th renewal of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday, June 11, at Belmont Park.
Trained by Eric Reed for Rick Dawson’s RED TR-Racing, Rich Strike shipped to New York by van from Kentucky and will be overseen by Reed for the duration of this stay as he readies for the “Test of the Champion” for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
Rich Strike, with exercise rider Gabriel Lagunes up, visited Belmont’s dirt training track at 9:30 a.m. with the accompaniment of outrider Juan Galvez and his pony Stormy, making two laps the wrong way round.
“He settled down a lot the second time round. A lot of that was trying to get him used to the pony. You could see the farther he went the better he accepted the pony,” Reed said. “I think by the end of the week they’ll be good buddies and on race day he needs a buddy.
“He’ll sleep the rest of the day. I know he’s tired, he just doesn’t show it,” Reed added.
Reed said Rich Strike will settle into a comfortable routine at Belmont going forward, schooling in the paddock in the morning before training on the main track.
“He’s so routine oriented. We’re in a new place, so we can set his routine here and in two days, he’ll be fine,” Reed said.
Rich Strike breezed five-eighths solo in :59 seconds flat Monday afternoon on the main track in front of the Churchill Downs crowd, working swiftly under Lagunes and galloping out strong.
Reed said Rich Strike won’t need to breeze again ahead of the Belmont Stakes.
“We might let him run down the lane Thursday or Friday,” Reed said. “He gallops faster than a lot of horses breeze. He really rolls around there. That will be up to Gabriel on Thursday or Friday, depending how he’s doing. I just want him to get his footing on that track and watch how he moves and see how he handles it.
but Getting Ready for His Broadway Debut photo credit Adam Coglianese, NYRA