On the day before the Belmont Stakes, some entrants came out for the morning gallops despite the rain and sloppy track. It was a chilly 52 degrees and the rain kept getting harder as the morning progressed. The dogs were out a good three lanes into the track due to the wet weather. Although the weather is awful today, it is supposed to be sunny and 79 degrees tomorrow for Belmont Stakes day.
This afternoon are the Brooklyn Handicap (G2) at 1 1/2 miles and the Hill Prince Stakes (G3) at 1 mile on the turf for the 3-year-olds, so check back for results and photos from them later this evening.
Flying Private was the first I saw on Friday morning shortly after 6am. He came out with trainer D. Wayne Lukas for a light jog and apparently stablemate Luv Gov had already been out at that point. Lukas said, "We brought them out early and galloped around the 'dogs' on the main track. Our horses are doing very well, and it's a shame about this rain. Before today, I thought this track was in as good a shape as I've ever seen it. Hopefully, the rain will stop, we'll get some sun and (Glen Kozak, NYRA's director of racing surfaces) will be able to squeeze the track overnight and into tomorrow."
Mine That Bird galloped his usual mile and a half Friday morning. Trainer Chip Woolley said, "I'm confident, I got a great colt and he shows up every time. Hopefully he'll like this surface and he'll like the trip he gets around there. He seems to really get over the racetrack good, so that gave me a lot of confidence. We're ready, it's just a matter if we're ready enough."
Mine That Bird back at the barn checking out the media outside while walking the shedrow then getting his bath.
Looking ahead, Woolley said Mine That Bird would return to Churchill Downs on Monday, with the ultimate goal being a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita in October. He said, "Ideally, we'd like to have two starts between the Belmont and the Breeders' Cup. We've looked at races, but not picked any out."
Dunkirk walked through the paddock Friday morning and galloped a mile and one-quarter on the main track before returning safely to trainer Todd Pletcher's barn. Pletcher said, "I anticipate Charitable Man and Miner's Escape being forwardly placed. Hopefully, we're in a stalking position. I expect they'll be more closely grouped than the other (Triple Crown) races because the pace won't be as fast. And hopefully, we'll be the first one to put pressure on Charitable Man. I'll leave that to (jockey) Johnny Velazquez, and to also be cognizant of the favorite coming from behind."
Mr. Hot Stuff came out for his first gallop over Belmont Park's main track Friday morning. Trainer Eoin Harty said, "He actually handled it very well, but he wasn't surrounded by nine other horses." Thursday, Mr. Hot Stuff went out on the training track and Harty had been hoping the rain would cease this morning. Instead, it rained even harder than it did Thursday. "It must be retribution for my past sins," he said, "so I expect a flood of epic proportions."
Summer Bird came out after the break and galloped a mile and one-half over the main track Friday morning. Trainer Tim Ice said, "He skipped over it pretty easy."
Triple Crown quick links:
Oxbow upsets in the Preakness - Oxbow led the entire way in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Pimlico with Itsmyluckyday second and Mylute third. Heavy favorite Orb made a mild move to finish fourth. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Preakness undercard stakes results - There were 7 other stakes on the card, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) won by Skyring and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) won by Summer Applause. Get the results, charts, and photos for 6 of the races here.
Fiftyshadesofhay wins the Black-Eyed Susan - Fiftyshadesofhay just got up to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico by a neck over Marathon Lady with favorite Emollient 6th. On the undercard, Last Gunfighter won the Pimlico Special (G3). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2013 - My annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Preakness winner. The big surprise is that Kentucky Derby winner Orb is not in the top group!
Orb wins the Kentucky Derby - Orb was far back early but took the lead in the stretch and drew off to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
More Kentucky Derby Photos - More photos from the day including more of Orb, the trophy, the roses, Martina McBride, and lots of mud.
Kentucky Derby undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Derby day including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) won by Aubby K. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Princess of Sylmar upsets in the Kentucky Oaks - She rallied from far back to win the Kentucky Oaks by a half length over Beholder and Unlimited Budget, while favorite Dreaming of Julia was fourth. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Oaks day including the La Troienne Stakes (G2) won by Authenticity and the Alysheba Stakes (G3) won by Take Charge Indy. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Kentucky Oaks Entries - A field of 11 fillies will go, with Gulfstream Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia favorite at 3-1 from post 8. Get the post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.