This weekend at Belmont Park several of the Belmont Stakes contenders were on the track, and on Sunday, Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom arrived at the Belmont Park. His main rival, Preakness winner Shackleford, shipped to Belmont early and has been at the oval for a week. This will be the 22nd time the Derby and Preakness winners have settled the score in the Belmont, but the first since 2005. It is also expected that the first 7 finishers of the Kentucky Derby will be in the Belmont Stakes.
Animal Kingdom arrived at Belmont Park on Sunday morning, and then worked a bullet 1/2 mile in 47.76 on Monday under jockey John Velazquez, the fastest of 32 at the distance. He galloped out 5/8 in 1:00.06 and 3/4 in 1:14.38. Trainer Graham Motion said, "John didn't ask him at all. He did it all on his own. That's why I only wanted to go a 1/2 with him because I figured he'd gallop out pretty strong. He just hasn't changed. He's remarkable. He's taking everything in his stride and he hasn't gotten worked up about it. You saw how he was today. He couldn't have been more laid back. That's what's impressed me."
Shackleford breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.30 on Saturday morning, out 3/4 in 1:14.21 under exercise rider Tammy Fox. Trainer Dale Romans said, “I am excited he’s doing so well and coming into the race the right way. I think he’s going to be very competitive. I wanted to see him work his normal work, and he did today. I thought he went around there really well and it looked like he did everything the way he was supposed to.”
Nehro galloped Saturday and worked 1/2 mile in 50.88, out 5/8 in 1:04.17 under exercise rider Cesar Garcia on Monday. Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen said, "I though he worked great, it was just exactly what the boss wanted. We were very pleased with him. He came back good, so onward and upward."
Brilliant Speed was out for a gallop and will breeze 5 furlongs on Tuesday in his final work before the Belmont Stakes. Trainer Tom Albertrani said, "He’s doing great. He’s due to breeze tomorrow with exercise rider Dan Blacker. Nothing too fancy; just let him stretch his legs. He’ll go out after the break." Joel Rosario will be in the irons on Saturday.
Harlan's Hello breezed 4 furlongs in 51.89 with jockey Rajiv Maragh aboard on Saturday morning. The final decision on whether he will enter will be made by Tuesday according to trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal. Shivmangal said, "We didn't go for a hard work. We expect a lot of Harlan's Hello, but we want to take more time with him. We want him to mature. He just had his birthday on May 8. We know he has a lot of potential, based off the race he just ran. It was a hard race for him. He's doing fine - he's eating and doing everything perfectly - but I just want to make sure we put him in the right spot."
Isn't He Perfect was out on the main track for some light work on Saturday. trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal said, "I gallop him two miles a day. Maybe Wednesday I might give him a 3/8 breeze just to open up his wind a little, but nothing much more." Shivmangal added that Rajiv Maragh will ride Isn't He Perfect in the Belmont.
Gio Ponti, the reigning Eclipse Champion turf male, made his final preparations for the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan on the Belmont Stakes undercard. After warming up on the main track, he had a 6 furlong work on the turf in 1:13.24. His trainer Christophe Clement said, "Gio Ponti had a very nice work. Everything is great. It was his final work before the race and the plan is to run, next Saturday in the Manhattan with Ramon Dominguez." The Manhattan would be his seventh career Grade 1 win if he is successful.
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.