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2017 Belmont Stakes Thursday Morning Photos

Irish War Cry in front of the expansive Belmont grandstand on Thursday morning.
Date: 06/08/2017

The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival runs from Thursday to Saturday, highlighted by the 149th Belmont Stakes run on Saturday June 10 with Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry the lukewarm 7-2 favorite from post 7, in a race missing both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners. On a cloudy 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 good on Belmont Day, mostly sunny with temperatures near 80.

horse racingGormley galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Sammy Jimenez for California-based trainer John Shirreffs. "It went good. I thought he looked really good out there," Shirreffs said. "Sammy said he was a little strong, then he relaxed, then when some breezers went by he got a little strong down the lane so he tried to slow him down a little. All in all, I thought it was OK. He went once around the main track. He came out through the paddock, stood, walked over to the turn and picked up the jog and galloped around. I said to everybody, especially his connections, that the big thing for us will be when the rider comes off the track and says if the horse liked it or not. I asked Sammy if he liked the surface and he said he did. I thought that was really important."
horse racingHollywood Handsome is the 30-1 longest shot on the morning line, drawing post 5. Trainer Dallas Stewart said, "At the Louisiana Derby, I thought he ran real well. He was fourth, just beating one more jump for third and a couple lengths, but he was running hard and he was just -- I thought he ran great that day. So we didn't have -- we had a bad trip in the Illinois Derby, was just a bad race, and the allowance race was good, so I just think the horse can handle the distance."
horse racingIrish War Cry galloped 1 1/2 miles under assistant trainer Alice Clapham. Trainer Graham Motion said, "He looked good. Everything went very smoothly. He was great. Alice said he was looking around a little bit, but he's very sensible. He's not a complicated horse. He kind of takes things in stride, except for maybe Churchill where there was so much going on. It's a lot quieter and more settled than it was at Churchill, when it was so busy. I think it got him a little bit wound up at Churchill with all that was going on. It's nice to be able to come into our own barn and do our own thing, and stay with the system."
horse racingJ Boys Echo is 15-1 on the morning line and drew post 4. Trainer Dale Romans said, "This is a Classic. Whether it has the Derby winner or the Preakness winner, it's still one of the three greatest races that we have in this country. It's such a prestigious race. I've been here several times and I have a record of four thirds, and it's one of those things that, outside of the Kentucky Derby, we've won the Preakness, and the Belmont is the other box to check off. It's a great race with the greatest racing fans, the smartest racing fans. It's a race that I really want to get the trophy."
horse racinghorse racingLookin at Lee is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line and drew post 6. On Sunday he had his final timed work, 4f in 48.33, 8th fastest of 51 at the distance. "He came back great and I thought it went perfect," said Toby Sheets, assistant to Asmussen. "He seems to really like Belmont. We got great weather this morning, so that always helps." Thursday he galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track and then schooled in the paddock in the afternoon.
horse racingMultiplier galloped 1 1/4 miles under assistant trainer Tom Molloy. Trainer Brendan Walsh said, "He's just so laid-back, it'll just help him to focus a little bit more and maybe travel a little better early on in the race," Walsh said. "He broke his maiden without them, so I wasn't going to change then. Then he won the Illinois Derby without them so I wasn't going to change then either. I think now's a good chance to do it. I galloped him myself a couple of days before he worked and he was so much more focused and then I worked him in them last week and you saw how he worked. I think they'll really help him."
horse racingPatch drew the outside post 12 in the Belmont at 12-1 morning line odds. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "The Derby was a tough assignment, a lightly raced horse and draws the far outside post. He got a decent trip out of it, I don't think he relished the sloppy track. [He's by] Union Rags, a Belmont winner, out of an A.P. Indy mare, there's a lot of pedigree there to suggest that he's bred to get the mile and a half, and I think his style should fit the race well.
horse racingSenior Investment galloped on the main track under exercise rider Dylan Davis. On Tuesday he worked 4f in 50.19, with an openijng quarter of 25 2/5 and out 5f in 1:02 4/5. "It was a simple half-mile, nothing complicated, just let him stretch his legs over the track," trainer Ken McPeek said. "I think that horses need a little work over this racetrack before they run here and he handled it fine. What I call a 'happy half' - just keep him happy, switch his leads, give him a peek at the scenery, all that. Dylan said he was a little conservative with him, just kind of went easy and finished up well."
horse racingTapwrit drew post 2 and is 6-1 on the morning line. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I think he ran a sneaky good race in the Derby." Jose Ortiz will be in the irons Saturday.
horse racinghorse racingTwisted Tom drew the rail as a 20-1 longshot in the Belmont Stakes. He galloped once around Thursday morning and then schooled in the paddock in the afternoon.
horse racingCloud Computing won the Preakness but is sitting out the Belmont Stakes.
horse racinghorse racingSongbird galloped 1 mile and schooled in the starting gate Thursday morning and then schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. She is the 1-2 favorite in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) on the Belmont undercard, in her first start since finishing 2nd in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. "We've been very conservative with bringing her back off her layoff," said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. "(Owner Rick Porter) told me to take my time with her and I did. We had a nice, conservative program for her and so she's been brought along slowly but surely. She came in fine, settled in really fast, and went to the track this morning. She's bigger and stronger and I think she's a horse that can make the transition from 3 to 4. We'll find out soon enough on Saturday."
horse racingAbel Tasman, upset winner of the Kentucky Oaks, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the Acorn Stakes (G1) on Saturday.
horse racingMor Spirit is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Metropolitan Handicap (G1). "You don't know how they're going to react going one turn. I ran him in the Malibu, but seven-eighths was a little too short for him," trainer Bob Baffert said. "He has to ship well and run well. It's a different group he's got to run against. There's a difference between speed going two turns and speed going one turn. Last year I brought Cupid there and he was just completely lost going one turn. Some horses are that way."

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