Belmont Stakes Contenders
Black-Eyed Susan Day
Preakness Thursday Photos
Dawn over the gap at Belmont Park early Friday morning
With just a day to go before the 22nd Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, lots of the contenders came out for last-minute jogs over the main track and turf course. Slightly warmer weather and clear skies served to dry the main track further after the heavy rains earlier in the week, although the turf course is still yeilding and not expected to improve before the races. Several European imports cleared quarantine yesterday, so those horses were out for their first tests of the Belmont course. Many more horses were out than are shown here, but we decided to concentrate on favorites and ones we had not featured yet this week.
Tuesday workouts - rained out
Wednesday workouts - 21 horses
Thursday workouts - 39 horses
Borrego galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. Trainer Beau Greeley said, "He's got to run his race. If he does run his race, I think he'll win. He's doing well. You have to respect everybody in the race, but I wouldn't want to trade spots with anyone."
Oratorio cantered on the main track with owner John Magnier looking on. Trainer Aidan O'Brien said, "The only thing we're not sure about him is the dirt. We've always felt that horses that win the Classic are tough, they have speed and they stay a mile and one-quarter real well. He has all those things. He cantered around on the dirt this morning very happily and we were very happy with him, but we won't really know until those gates open. Kieren (Fallon, jockey) knows him better than anyone else and if he breaks well, who knows. Bob Duncan, who was a former New York Racing Association starter, has been over working with the horses at Ballydoyle. He has his own method and has been preparing them for the stalls using a bell and other things."
Gun Salute galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. "He went really smooth and came home good," trainer Bill Mott reported. "He looks good. He's a real tough horse. We hope he makes a good showing. It'll be a good measuring stick for what we can expect from him next year."
Bago galloped 1 1/2 miles on the inner turf this morning with jockey Thierry Gillet aboard. "I haven't been on it this morning but I will be later," Niarchos Family racing manager Alan Cooper said. "It's changing all the time. Thierry found it heavy yesterday but there are a lot of stories going around about whether it will dry out or not. I don't think it will be a problem, and Thierry's happy with him."
Leprechaun Kid galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track under exercise rider Rhonda Nalley. "He was a gorilla this morning," said trainer Mike Mitchell "We galloped him a good mile and a half just to get a little edge off him. We took him to the paddock and schooled him."
Ad Valorem galloped 1 mile on the inner turf course with jockey Kieren Fallon aboard. "In an ideal world he would like fast ground," trainer Aidan O'Brien said. "I don't know how bad it's going to be, but it's not going to be as bad as European soft ground. Ad Valorem has been crying out for nice ground all year, and he's had no luck the whole year. He was slowly away at Keeneland (in the Oct. 8 Shadwell Turf Mile), but he came home really well."
Gorella jogged 1 1/4 miles on the main track. Trainer Patrick Biancone said, "When she came to me, she had beaten (males) already in Europe. She was just coming to form before the (Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup) and I told the owners if she did come to form we might have to go for the big dollars. She has improved from that, and I think she has a shot."
Imperialism schooled in the paddock and then galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track with trainer Kristin Mulhall aboard. Mulhall, the youngest trainer in Breeders' Cup history at 23, said, "He's feeling awful good. We went over to the paddock and he dragged me around there. He wants to go." Groom John Flakes added, "We've had him over in the paddock the last couple of afternoons, and he'll go back over for schooling again today. He's a handful when he goes over there. He always is. He wants to do something. He thinks he's going to race."
Ouija Board went out for a gallop on the inner turf course with new jockey Jerry Bailey aboard. Lord Derby, who owns Ouija Board, said Friday he was delighted the filly has recuperated well enough to get a chance to defend her Filly & Mare Turf title. "It was touch and go there for a while," he said. "I give Edward Dunlop all the credit for being careful, conservative and protective of the filly. But she's doing fantastic right now, as good or better than last year."
Megahertz went out for a 1 3/8 mile gallop around the main track at Belmont Park under exercise rider Orlando Tiapia. The Filly and Mare Turf will be the final start of her career.
Film Maker galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. "I think Pat's excited about riding her again," said trainer Graham Motion, noting that Valenzuela felt like he'd learned a lot about the filly while finishing a close third in the Flower Bowl. "Her races tend to be a little peculiar at times. She's been shuffled back early a couple times. Once you ride a horse, it helps you to learn about the horse. She obviously has great value as a broodmare, but there's a chance she could stay in training,"
Angara jogged 1 1/4 miles in her final preparation for the race. Trainer Patrick Biancone said Friday morning his Beverly D winner would "upend them all" on Saturday. "She looks good; she's going to win the Breeders' Cup."
Mona Lisa galloped on the turf course Friday morning under jockey Kieren Fallon. "In an ideal world she would like fast ground," said trainer Aidan O'Brien. "I don't know how bad it's going to be, but it's going to be nothing like European soft ground. She's very much like her dad. The more racing and work she gets, the more she comes out smiling. Kieren was very happy with her this morning."
Luas Line jogged 1 1/4 miles around the main track Friday morning.
Stream Cat jogged 1 1/4 miles on the main track. "Stream Cat would have to be an extreme cat to win," trainer Patrick Biancone joked of his 30-1 shot. "He's in good form. We're here to enjoy the races. It's the biggest race day in the world. My clients are happy to be here. If we win, we'll celebrate. If we don't win, we'll celebrate." Biancone said the Turfway Park Polytrack he trained his Breeders' Cup horses on this month is the shape of the future. "It's a lovely surface. The horses enjoy it. In 20 years, everybody will be using it."
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