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2016 Belmont Stakes Festival Thursday Photos

Exaggerator schooling in the paddock on Thursday afternoon.
Date: 06/10/2016

The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival runs from Thursday to Saturday, highlighted by the 148th Belmont Stakes run on Saturday June 11 with Preakness winner Exaggerator trying to win his second Triple Crown race as the 9-5 favorite from post 11. On a partly cloudy and windy Thursday morning with the temperature in the low 60s, several of the Belmont Stakes entrants went out to test the 1 1/2 mile main track on Long Island. The weather is currently looking pretty bad with thunderstorms moving in around 3pm on Belmont Day and temperatures in the mid-70s.

horse racingBrody's Cause galloped in the morning and schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. Trainer Dale Romans expressed surprise that Brody's Cause, who drew post 12 of 13, was made a 20-1 long shot on the morning line. He is the only horse in the field to match Exaggerator's two Grade 1 wins and he has beaten the 9-5 Belmont favorite twice, winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity and finishing third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a neck ahead of Exaggerator. "The worst thing that can happen is that you get carried a little wide, but it's so slow they'll be driving them like cars to get where they want to be," he added. "You've got good riders; they're not going to make mistakes." Luis Saez has the call aboard Brody's Cause.
horse racingCherry Wine also jogged on the main track like his stablemate Brody's Cause. Romans added, "We shortened them up a little bit today and did a little less. Everything's done. I just want them to be happy and feel good going into Saturday." Corey Lanerie will ride Cherry Wine.
horse racingCreator schooled in the paddock in the afternoon accompanied by trainer Steve Asmussen (far right). Toby Sheets, assistant to Asmussen said, "Everything looks great. All good." Creator had his last timed work on Monday going 4f in 50.6 seconds.
horse racingDestin went out for a gallop Thursday. Owner Randy Gullatt said the younger Destin was "as a very athletic colt" with "a good mind and disposition. We're not overly concerned with the time off. We felt like Destin was an immature colt through the first part of his 3-year-old year and that his best racing was in front of him. We believe he could be an even better older horse."
horse racingExaggerator walked on Thursday and then schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. Trainer Keith Desormeaux said, "He only had a walk day today. I can't believe people are actually interested if he ate up his feed last night, but he did. That's what we look for as trainers. [He was] full of life and vigor when we walked him this morning. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with this crazy weather. Mother Nature forgot to tell New York it's summertime."
horse racingGettysburg schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen said, "Everything looks great. All good."
horse racingGovernor Malibu blew out 4f in 52.40. "He had a very easy work this morning," said trainer Christophe Clement.  "He went out first set, stretched his legs and he looked great. He will school in the paddock later today and we'll leave it at that. I don't worry about (post 1) as much as most people. I worry about the horse. I know one thing, it's the shortest way around the track. If you're lucky enough to use some of the top jockeys you let them worry about that kind of thing."
horse racingLani galloped twice around on Thursday after working 5f in 1:00.43 on Wednesday. "He had a good morning and was okay at the gate," said trainer Mikio Matsunaga, who arrived Tuesday afternoon to oversee Lani's final preparations. "He is definitely not going to be in the first half of the field, but he will hopefully be much closer than last time," said Keita Tanaka, the agent representing owner Koji Maeda. "The pace will not be as fast, and he is very fit now."
horse racingSeeking the Soul, who galloped in the morning, will be making his stakes debut for trainer Dallas Stewart. He broke his maiden May 29 at Churchill Downs at 1 mile. Florent Geroux will be aboard the 30-1 shot.
horse racingStradivari, who drew post 5 for the Belmont, galloped in the morning. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Generally, in the Belmont, you don't sweat out the post position draw too much, but when it gets to be a field as big as this you really don't want to be way out there."
horse racingSuddenbreakingnews galloped once around under Brandon Velarde, trainer Donnie Von Hemel's Remington Park-based exercise rider, and also visited the paddock. Von Hemel said, "How often do you get to ride a mile-and-a-half race on a mile-and-a-half racetrack? We did look for someone (Mike Smith) with experience on how to ride this race. "I thought all the way through the spring and right up to the Derby that he had added some weight. Maybe he dropped a little coming out of the Derby, but he's put it all back on, so he's in very similar shape to what he was going into the Derby."
horse racingTrojan Nation galloped in the morning and schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. He is still a maiden and returns to New York for the second time since the April 9 Wood at Aqueduct, where he found himself in tight quarters along the rail and was beaten a head. Aaron Gryder, riding in his first Belmont, has the mount from post 9.
horse racingFrosted, who finished second to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in last year's Belmont, is back in Saturday's Metropolitan Handicap (G1). Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "Frosted couldn’t be doing any better. This race could be a little short for him, but we’re excited about it and I think there will be a lot of pace."

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