Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Belmont Stakes: Not so Bleak

Posted by Brian Appleton on May 20, 2010

The Belmont Stakes will be completely bereft of any Triple Crown contenders this year for the first time since 2006. Not one single contender from the 5 young horses to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate and then continue on to the Preakness two weeks later this spring are going to brave America’s crowning distance race jewel for three year olds.

After the announcement that Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky and then Kentucky Derby champion Super Saver and

Ice Box

Derby third place finisher Paddy O’Prado would all be bypassing the final jewel of the Triple Crown was made, it seemed only Dublin and Jackson Bend would remain to run the course. Jackson Bend was questionable for a short while after the Preakness, with trainer Nick Zito unsure whether or not he wanted to send the talented colt on to the Belmont or freshen him for the late summer races. It came as little surprise when the decision was made in favor of the latter. Dublin was then left to carry the torch as the sole contender to compete in every leg of the Triple Crown this year. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas squashed that fantasy on the morning of May 20th, announcing that the chestnut son of Afleet Alex will instead be pointed to the bigger races later this summer after his rigorous Triple Crown campaign.

Although it may appear that prospective Belmont Stakes contenders are bleak at this point the field is actually shaping up to include some very nice young colts. Headlining the ever shrinking list of probably Belmont starters is Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box. After his spectacular stretch run in the Kentucky Derby during which he made up twice as much ground as any other runner, many people were looking forward to seeing this Nick Zito trainee tackle Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky again in the Preakness Stakes. His connections opted to skip the Preakness in favor of the Belmont Stakes though and now he comes into a race custom built to enhance his late-running style. This time he will enter the race as the favorite, well rested and with a master trainer at the helm. Hypothetically speaking; if Ice Box wins the Belmont he makes a strong case for the 3-year-old Male championship.

Other possible starters in the Belmont Stakes include Preakness Stakes runner-up First Dude, six-length Dwyer Stakes victor Fly Down, Dwyer runner-up Drosselmeyer, Lone Star Derby winner Game On Dude, Kentucky Derby fourth place finisher Make Music for Me, Blue Grass Stakes winner and eighth place finisher in the Kentucky Derby Stately Victor, Lexington Stakes third place finisher Uptowncharlybrown, Withers Stakes third place finisher Spangled Star and Stay Put.

If nothing else this year’s Belmont could prove to be a redemptive race for a number of contenders.

In other news Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and undefeated dual-champion Zenyatta both have been working well for their connections. Zenyatta is preparing for an incredible three-peat in the Vanity Handicap on June 13th while Rachel Alexandra’s next start is undecided.

I’ve included some pictures from my trip to the Kentucky Derby/Oaks below. Unfortunately my camera had some

Zardana

problems during the running of the Derby and I wasn’t able to get

Rachel Alexandra

any good pictures that day but I got some nice ones of Rachel Alexandra and the La Troienne

Be Fair #1, Morena #2

contenders.

Rachel Alexandra

Distinctive Dixie

Rachel Alexandra

Rachel Alexandra

Rachel Alexandra (can you tell what my focus was on?)

Unrivaled Belle

Into the Homestretch (A little blurry-hard to hold still when you're jumping and cheering)

Stretch Run

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7 Responses to “Belmont Stakes: Not so Bleak”

  1. Brock Sheridan said

    It will certainly be a good wagering race if the field size holds up. Not the star power we would want in the Belmont, but it has it’s intrigue. Should still have an impact on year-end honors.

    • Yes. It’s a shame that Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky are bypassing the Belmont, that probably means the general public won’t be aware of the race, and TV viewership/ratings will most likely be pretty low. It’s a shame the NYRA can’t seem to find a way to market the race as a good solo program instead of only cashing in when a horse has a chance at winning the Triple Crown.

  2. B,

    It looks like RACHEL isn’t putting out down the lane. The La Troienne was a classic example of a filly driving hard (UNRIVALED BELLE) and another not putting out. RACHEL is just so good that even at 80% or so, she’s going to extend UB maximally.

    I hope they find out what’s bothering her.

    As for the Belmont, it will be a competitive race. Is ICE BOX a 6-5 shot? That’s what he’ll probably be, right?

    • Hi Rob,

      I think they need to let Rachel Alexandra rate off the pace more, her biggest wins margin-wise have pretty much all come from right off the pace. The Oaks, the Haskell and the Mother Goose, they need to let her close into the pace from a few lengths back.
      I don’t think it’s a good idea to let her keep leading her fields like she did in the Preakness and Woodward last year, those two were her smallest margins of victory by far.
      She really has showed a lot of heart this year though!

      I’m not sure what Ice Box is/will be but I look forward to seeing how he runs in the Belmont.

  3. Great job with the Photo’s Bravo !!!

  4. Guy said

    Great pictures!

    I like Stately Victor for the Belmont.

    I’ve written a (free) preview, – I hope you don’t mind if I post it.

    http://www.latekick.com/Articles/BS2010_comments.aspx

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