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2016 Belmont Stakes Festival Wednesday Photos

The Belmont Stakes trophy at the post position draw on Wednesday morning.
Date: 06/08/2016

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 sunny Wednesday morning with temperatures in the mid 60's, several of the Belmont Stakes entrants went out to test the 1 1/2 mile main track or 1 mile training track on Long Island. The weather is currently looking fairly good with a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms on Belmont Day and temperatures in the mid-70s.

horse racingCherry Wine galloped on the main track on Wednesday. Trainer Dale Romans said, "Cherry Wine is on the improve. The key going into these big races is they're just training so well and they feel so good and they're so healthy. We're not trying to stop any leaks." Cherry Wine will carry jockey Corey Lanerie from post 3 as the 8-1 fourth program choice.
horse racingDestin galloped twice around the training track. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "He ran a sneaky good race in the Derby. He didn't get away from the gate the way we wanted to. We didn't get to the position that we wanted to. He had to work to kind of get to the top of the stretch in the position that we hoped he'd already naturally be in just kind of stalking the pace. He's trained well since then, he's won a race over the Belmont track, and sometimes five weeks in between is helpful when you're taking on horses like Exaggerator that are having their third race in five weeks." Destin, third choice at 6-1, will have Javier Castellano aboard from post 2.
horse racingExaggerator also went out on the training track. Trainer Keith Desormeaux said, "It's a little different than usually us coming through the back door, but I've always said I'd much rather have the favorite than be 20-1. When you're 4-5 in your hopes of taking down a $1.5 million race, I'd much prefer that. It's not so bad. Kent has got to judge his own pace. He's got to ride with blinkers. It doesn't matter who's out there. He just needs to drop Exaggerator's head, let him get in comfortable 12 and change eighths and they can have as many speed horses as they like. But that's easy for me to say." Regular rider Kent Desormeaux gets the call out of post 11 as the 9-5 morning line favorite.
horse racingGovernor Malibu went once around the main track. Trainer Christophe Clement said, "It takes a good horse to win the Belmont. This race is a huge deal for me. I train at Belmont and it means a lot. It's very ambitious so let's run it and see what happens. I'm very happy. The horse is doing very well and he's a very sound horse. He's training forwardly and I guess we'll have to find out if he's good enough." Joel Rosario will ride Governor Malibu (12-1) from post 1.
horse racingLani has trained at Belmont Park since his ninth-place finish in the Derby. Kieta Tanaka, racing manager for owner Koji Maeda said, "To be honest, the Belmont Stakes has been the main target since we came here to the United States, so I'm very much looking forward to this weekend. He has been doing the same thing as what we do back home so ideally he is fit enough." Regular rider Yutaka Take gets the call aboard the 20-1 outsider in post 10.
horse racingStradivari galloped on the training track. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I think you can make a case that he was behind schedule a little bit leading into the Preakness and sometimes a race like that will move him forward. That's what we're hoping." Second choice on the morning line at 5-1, Stradivari will break from post 5 with John Velazquez aboard.
horse racingSuddenbreakingnews heads back to the barn after going once around the main track. "I don't think the post matters. He's going to go down and either turn left or right at the turn," owner Sonny Henderson said. "I think the mile and a half or over fits him like a glove." The 10-1 shot will have Mike Smith in the irons in post 4.
horse racingTrojan Nation gallops once around the main track. The 30-1 outsider 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 racingAll the Belmont Stakes trophies at the post position draw.
horse racingCupid won the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn then dropped off the Triple Crown trail. He is going in the Easy Goer Stakes on Saturday.
horse racingRachel's Valentina galloped along with the Belmont Stakes horses. She hasn't run since finishing 6th in the Kentucky Oaks and is not entered this weekend.

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