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Mine That Bird heads out to the
track Friday morning
  • Belmont Stakes results & photos
  • Belmont Stakes field photos
  • More Belmont Day Photos
  • Manhattan Handicap & Just a Game S.
  • Acorn Stakes, True North Handicap,
        & Woody Stephens Stakes
  • Brooklyn Handicap & Hill Prince Stakes
  • Friday workout photos
  • Friday Belmont Stakes Photos

    Date: 06/05/2009

    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."
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