Archive for May, 2012

Belmont contenders to get designated training time after near-miss incident with I’ll Have Another

New York Racing Association announced Thursday afternoon it has designated a specific time each day available for Belmont Stakes contenders to train, a move prompted by an incident earlier in the morning when dual classic winner and Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another was nearly hit by a loose horse on the track.

Starting Friday, June 1, Belmont contenders will be the only horses allowed to train over the Belmont Park main track from 8:30 – 8:45 a.m.  The Belmont Stakes contenders are not required to train during this timeframe, only that this timeframe will be reserved for only Belmont Stakes contenders to train.

I’ll Have Another was nearly taken out while on the track Thursday when Isleta, a 3-year-old maiden from the barn of Carl Domino, dumped its rider and came running past the Derby and Preakness winner and his pony Lava Man along the outside rail, missing the potential Triple Crown champion by inches.

After dodging that bullet, I’ll Have Another went on to gallop a mile around the Belmont oval.

 

“Once we dodged that, everything went well,” said trainer Doug O’Neill. “He jogged great, galloped super. I noticed every day he’s cooling out even quicker. He seems like he loves it here, and he’s really getting used to the oval and getting used to the footing, and I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s going.”

 

Noted Daily Racing Form photographer Barbara Livingston captured the incident. To view the slideshow of her photos on DRF.com, visit: http://www.drf.com/slideshows/ill-have-anothers-near-miss-training-belmont-stakes

Lukas: New Belmont protocols part of racing’s “spin”

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board issued a salvo of sorts when it announced it would implement  a strict  set of new protocols for horses and participants competing in next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. In addition to requiring all horses participating in the Belmont to be housed in one designated security barn beginning next Wednesday, other measures include administrative searches and checks of all equipment, feed, hay, bales, etc., and limited controlled veterinary access with all vets having to provide written notice of intended treatment prior to treatment of the horse from noon June 6 until race day.

One would think that before implementing such measures, the horsemen themselves would at least be given a heads up about the protocols they would be dealing with – if for no other reason than to make sure they had proper personnel on hand. As the news spread on Wednesday, it became clear that trainers with Belmont contenders were learning about the restrictions by word of mouth rather than from the officials involved.

“I found out with the rest of the world,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will saddle Optimizer in the Belmont, said from the office of  his barn at Churchill Downs Thursday morning. “My guys were fooling around on the internet and said ‘What the hell is this?’ and they printed (the story) out for me.

“I called  the stakes coordinator (Andrew Byrnes) yesterday and said ‘Where are you going to put me?’  and he said ‘We’re going to put you in Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn.’   I said ‘I’ve got four maybe five horses coming, does Kiaran have the space needed’  and he said ‘Kiaran said he’ll make whatever space was needed’. This was at two  in the afternoon I’m calling him and he never says anything of ‘Well, you’re going to have one of them that is not in that count’. I don’t know if he didn’t know or couldn’t release it.”

Michael Matz, trainer of Grade I winner and Belmont contender Union Rags,  told Daily Racing Form he wasn’t informed until he was contacted by one of their reporters – thus altering his original plans to ship Union Rags into Belmont on Thursday. The new protocols also only apply to horses running in the Belmont Stakes specifically and do not apply to those participating in the undercard stakes that weekend.

“Jesus, do they make this stuff up as they go along?” Matz told Daily Racing Form.

More than one person has already speculated the new measures are being aimed at Doug O’Neill, trainer of dual classic winner I’ll Have Another, who will be attempting to sweep the Triple Crown on June 9. O’Neill’s past TCO2 violations and the fact he was just handed a 45-day ban by the California Horse Racing Board for his most recent one in 2010 have put the charismatic trainer under an even larger microscope during this Triple Crown run at a time when Thoroughbred racing’s integrity as a whole is coming under question.

O’Neill said in a statement Wednesday he had “no problem” with the protocols and that “it’s a great way to show people who love the game that all the horses are housed together in the same locker room.”

No stranger to scrutiny – fair or otherwise – during his illustrious career, Lukas said he believes the new Belmont measures are part of an attempt by racing officials to try and convince the public they are doing all they can to make the sport more transparent.

“Here’s the thing, reality is one thing. Public perception is another thing,” Lukas said. “What’s happening in racing is we’re trying to put a spin on this that we’re really doing everything we can to clean up the game. The reality is this will not change the outcome of the race, not one iota. It may even be a little detriment to some horses, not from the standpoint of medication or anything, but from the standpoint of changing stalls and all the commotion and everything that goes with being all in one deal. But as far as the outcome of the race, I don’t think it changes one iota.

“We are going through this because of the flack we’re receiving,” Lukas continued. “The story should be I’ll Have Another is going for the Triple Crown, it should be a wonderful story in our industry. Instead it’s a secondary story. The real story is Doug O’Neill and the (Rick) Dutrows of the world, they’re the story. And yet Doug O’Neill has pretty much taken the high road to his credit. He’s putting a positive spin on his personality and program and everything he is trying to do. But the fact remains there is a suspension right in front of him.”

As of Thursday morning, Lukas said he still had not received word from any officials as to which barn was actually going to be designated as the stakes barn or if he could ship Optimizer straight into that barn when he arrives on Tuesday. He was, however, already having to juggle his own lineup of staff that was slated to accompany his horses.

“We had ear marked four people to go with this set of horses and I said I think we’re going to have to add one now, because for me to be comfortable, I want to put one with Optimizer around the clock,” Lukas said. “Now I’ve got to add another guy to help me with the other four.”

 

UPDATE: NYRA released a statement this afternoon announcing that Barn 2 would serve as the security barn and would be ready for Belmont Stakes contenders to move into starting on Tuesday, June 5.

 

 

 

 

Alpha out of Belmont Stakes

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha will miss the June 9 Belmont Stakes after developing a fever, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Thursday.

 

“He spiked a temperature on Tuesday evening,” McLaughlin said. “103. He was fine by 11 p.m. that evening after treatment, fine yesterday, and he’s fine today, but it’s too high a temperature too close to the race. It’s unfortunate.”

 

Alpha finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby. Earlier this year, the son of Bernardini won the Count Fleet and Grade III Withers at Aqueduct and finished second in the Grade I Wood Memorial prior to the Derby.

Slew’s trainer “impressed” by Doug O’Neill

After watching Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another gallop Tuesday morning over Belmont Park’s main track, trainer Doug O’Neill sought out the advice of one who has successfully been through the wringer before, spending about 40 minutes picking the brain of Billy Turner, trainer of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.

 

 “What a great man and a cool guy! He gave us a lot of helpful tips on how to prepare our guy for the big one,” O’Neill said. ” The one thing Billy said was … having the horse here earlier than later is a big edge. The fact that we’re here is huge. We talked about how not only do jockeys need to kind of figure out the oval, but horses do as well. Between the surface and the horses getting used to the oval, the earlier you’re here, the better.

 

“I had asked him about breezing, because I’m not planning on breezing I’ll Have Another. He said he only breezed Seattle Slew twice between the Preakness and Belmont because he needed to take the edge off him, because he was such a high energy horse. As you see I’ll Have Another is a pretty mellow horse, really.”

 

During a national teleconference on Wednesday, Turner said he was impressed with the how much attention to detail O’Neill and his team were paying to this Triple Crown attempt adding that every question his fellow trainer asked was “the right one.”

 

“He asked me the same questions that I asked the people in Kentucky when I went down there for the Derby because I wasn’t that familiar with Kentucky and how they do things,”  Turner said. “Doug wanted to know the ins and outs of training on a mile and a half race course, he wanted to know if he could use the paddock in the morning and things like that, what I thought of the gate crew. Those are the right questions. He is very astute and he is covering all bases. He is taking this thing very seriously.”

 

Though Turner sees I’ll Have Another as a completely different horse that Seattle Slew, he also sees some of the intangibles in the son of Flower Alley he believes is necessary for him to become the 12th Triple Crown winner.

 

“With I’ll Have Another, he’s just the kind of horse you can do anything with,” Turner said. “He has speed and you can use it, but you don’t have to with him. The way they train him for the race would be entirely different than the way we trained Slew. In Slew’s case, everything that we ever did with him it was a day to day thing more or less. You had to deal with the physical thing  and the mental thing, so you just couldn’t compare him with what’s going on with I’ll Have Another. They’re just two entirely different horses.”

 

O’Neill said he sees signs every day that I’ll Have Another is growing accustomed to Belmont Park’s 1 ½-mile oval.

 

“I think every day he’s gone a little better,” he said. “He’s switching leads perfectly, (exercise rider) Jonny (Garcia) is happy with him. Cooling out every day, he’s recovering quicker, so that’s a great sign. We’re very happy with the way he’s maintained his stride and the way he’s handling his daily gallops.”

 

Patrice Wolfson, who co-owned 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed,  added during the teleconference that after 34 years of holding onto the mantel of having the last horse to accomplish the historic sweep, she was ready to have I’ll Have Another pick up and relight the torch.

“I think this horse (I’ll Have Another) has a lot of tenacity,” Wolfson said. “He really loves to run and looks like he wants to win. He looks like he would be a good successor if it comes about. There were times I didn’t feel we were ready to relinquish it. But maybe the time has come now and I certainly think racing needs a horse that will bring a lot of excitement. And this little guy can do that. He can be very exciting.”

 

For video of Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, at Belmont Park Wednesday morning please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwrqeeUQNns **

 

** For video of Dale Romans and Allen Jerkens discussing what it takes to have a horse prepared for a 1 ½-mile race, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKrLTxXBo8o&feature=youtu.be **

 

** For video of Belmont Stakes contender Dullahan galloping at Belmont Park this morning and comments from trainer Dale Romans, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pzt7paI_vg&feature=youtu.be **

New protocol mandates all Belmont Stakes contenders to be housed in stakes barn

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has put forth a comprehensive protocols for horses running in the June 9 Belmont Stakes in order to ensure the safety of horses and riders, and to ensure that the integrity of the sport is upheld.

 

“Millions of race fans from around the world will be witnessing a historic spectacle at New York’s beautiful Belmont Park on June 9, and the Racing and Wagering Board will ensure that the race is run in a safe and fair manner,” Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini said. “The protocols put forth here will protect horses, riders and the betting public and underscore the symbolism of the world-class racing held in New York State.”

 

Beginning Wednesday, June 6, all horses entered in the Belmont Stakes will be required to be stalled in a secured area at Belmont Park, known as a stakes barn. The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will designate the specific location of the stakes barn and ensure that all entered horses be stalled at the location until the conclusion of the race. Racing and Wagering Board personnel and the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau will assist in security of the Stakes Barn, which will be subjected to scrutinized oversight.

 

All horses running in the Belmont Stakes, upon arrival at the stakes barn on June 6, will be required to have an out-of-competition blood test, which will be sent to the Board’s Drug Lab that evening for immediate review.

 

The stakes barn will operate under the following procedures beginning noon, June 6, 2012:

·        Limited number of personnel will be permitted to enter, including NYRA and RWB staff, the licensed trainer, licensed assistant trainer, licensed veterinarian, licensed groom, licensed hot walker and licensed owner(s).

·        Entryexit logs: All persons entering the stall, engaged in contact with the horse or performing any service for the horse must be licensed and must also be logged in including the reason(s) for the specific  visit or function to be performed. NYRA will maintain the log with Board oversight. Routine stall and horse management by a groom will be monitored but be exempt from separate logging. If a trainer, assistant trainer, vet or a NYRA vet enters the stall, they should be placed on the log and the reason(s) for the visit noted on the log.

·        Administrative searches and checks of all equipment, feed, hay, bales, etc.

·        Limited and controlled veterinary access  monitoring of veterinary approach to an entered horse. All veterinarians will be logged in and escorted.

·        Guards will be placed at each open doorway or doors will be kept closed with one entry point only. 

·        NYRA will assign additional security guards to the stakes barn at all times beginning Wednesday, June 6 through the running of the race.

·        Thoroughbred Racing Protecting Bureau (TRPB) will provide investigators on Thursday, June 7, remaining on site through the running of the Belmont Stakes.

·        No food and beverage for human consumption will be allowed in or around stall space

·        Horses will be identified upon arrival and assigned to a specific (numbered) stall

·        Lasix administration will take place in designated stalls only by a NYRA veterinarian.

·        NYRA will designate a specific press area at the stakes barn.

·        From noon, Wednesday, June 6, 2012 and until the race, all vets will provide written notice of intended treatment prior to treatment of the horse. Any changes must be noted.

·        From noon, Wednesday, June 6, 2012 and until the race, RWB investigators will monitor all treatments performed by vets and examine all paraphernalia.

·        On Friday, June 8, no vets will treat horses without first making an appointment with RWB investigators. On Saturday, June 9, treatment will only be permitted for emergency or by agreement with the Stewards.

 

While NYRA security will be responsible for logging ingress and egress and monitoring the areas surrounding the stakes barn, RWB investigators will provide surveillance within the stakes barn beginning on Wednesday, June 6 continuously up and to the conclusion of the Belmont Stakes on June 9, as noted above. RWB will have personnel to effectively monitor horses in the stakes barn as well as the other horses on the grounds of Belmont. The stakes barn will only be used for horses that are participating in the actual Belmont Stakes race.

 

RWB licensing personnel will ensure that all participants at Belmont are properly receipted or licensed. Additionally, safeguards throughout the grounds are being implemented:

·        Beginning Monday, June 4, all individuals coming to the backstretch must carry their licenses and valid I.D. with them at all times. Any person without valid licensure will be denied entry to the grounds, unless they are identified visitors accompanied by the licensed person they are visiting.

·        All persons living on track premises will be checked for valid licensure prior to Friday, June 1.

·        Non-licensee parking within the confines of the backstretch at Belmont will be banned, including those persons who arrive in a licensee vehicle who are not themselves licensed.

·        Using the stable area as a walk through path to the clubhouse/grandstand area will be prohibited.

·        Stewards will provide all participants a copy of the Board’s drug rules.

 

NYRA will have additional roving security teams during Belmont Stakes day, overseeing the handling and movement of Belmont Stakes horses.

Migliore to show Gutierrez the ropes around Belmont Park

From today’s NYRA notes:

 

Richard Migliore knows his away around the Belmont Park oval, having won 1,352 races from 9,922 mounts at the venue during his 30-plus year career. During the week of the Belmont Stakes, the retired jockey will share his Belmont expertise by circumnavigating the 1 ½-mile main track on horseback with Mario Gutierrez, who will attempt to sweep the Triple Crown aboard I’ll Have Another in the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

 

During the tour, which likely will be conducted June 6 or 7, Migliore will ride five-time Grade 1 winner Lava Man, who now serves as I’ll Have Another’s pony. Gutierrez will be aboard a horse from trainer Doug O’Neill’s barn that has yet to be determined. In 2007, Migiliore guided Student Council to an upset victory over Lava Man in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

 

In addition to serving as a television analyst for NYRA, Migliore works as a racing office associate and oversees the association’s apprentice jockey program.

 

I’ll Have Another was reunited with his regular exercise rider, Jonny Garcia, Tuesday morning for his routine gallop over Belmont Park’s main track in preparation for the Belmont Stakes.

 

The 25-year-old Garcia, who had not been aboard I’ll Have Another since he added the Preakness to his victory in the Kentucky Derby, said the chestnut colt felt just the same as he did before winning the first two legs of racing’s Triple Crown.

 

“He feels the same now and he feels like the same horse,” said Garcia, speaking through fellow exercise rider and interpreter Humberto Gomez, who had galloped the horse the past four mornings. “I think (Belmont Park) is pretty much the same (as Churchill Downs and Pimlico); the only difference is that this track is a little heavier.”

 

O’Neill had nothing but praise for Gomez and Hector Ramos, who had filled in for Garcia at Belmont while he went to visit his family and then awaited his license to work as an exercise rider in New York, which he received Monday evening.

 

“I’ll Have Another has looked good every day here, but it’s nice having Jonny back on him and having Jonny tell me how he feels so good, that he’s handling the surface great and is stretching as good as ever,” said the trainer. “He’s been on him since Day 1. So that’s definitely an added bonus to a great day.”

 

I’ll Have Another, who noticeably picked up the pace coming through the stretch Tuesday morning, is scheduled to gallop into the 1 ½-mile Belmont, in which he is seeking to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978.

 

“He gallops strong,” said O’Neill. “We’re not too worried about the times, more so with how he’s moving and switching leads out there. You can tell, especially with the four white polo bandages, by the dirt covering all four bandages equally, how he’s switching properly all the way around. I was very happy with the way he looked today.”

O’Neill arrives to supervise I’ll Have Another; Paynter, Alpha work in advance of Belmont

From today’s NYRA notes:

With trainer Doug O’Neill looking on, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another had another routine morning at Belmont Park, jogging four furlongs and galloping seven furlongs over a wet main track under exercise rider Humberto Gomez as he continued preparations for the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.

 

“He just skipped over [the track],” said O’Neill, speaking at his first daily press briefing after arriving from California earlier in the morning. “He looked great. The first couple of days we were at Pimlico the track had a light seal on it, so he skipped over that as well. It didn’t seem to bother him at all.

 

“He’s got such a beautiful way of going,” he added. “He just kind of skips over the ground anyway. The rider was happy with him, and we’re real happy with him … just going in his stall and seeing him, knock wood, his legs are ice-cold, he had cleaned up his feed tub – he continues to amaze me the way he’s handled all this and continues to thrive.”

 

O’Neill had not personally seen the chestnut colt since he departed Pimlico one week ago as racing’s latest Triple Crown hopeful, looking to end the 34-year drought that has persisted since 1978, when Affirmed became the 11th and most recent horse to sweep the series.

 

“We have all the confidence in the world in I’ll Have Another,” he said. “As long as he continues to stay injury-free and healthy, I think he’s going to be very tough.”

 

O’Neill said that because I’ll Have Another puts so much energy into his daily gallops, he will most likely go into the 1 ½-mile Belmont without an official timed work between the final two legs of the Triple Crown.

 

“There will be a lot of days when, strictly galloping, I’ll Have Another will pass workers,” said O’Neill. “He gallops like an average horse works. I think the amount of energy he puts into his gallops is the reason why an official workout isn’t important, in my mind.”

 

The remaining members of “Team O’Neill” would likely arrive in New York the week of the Belmont, with owner J. Paul Reddam coming in either June 5 or 6 and jockey Mario Gutierrez scheduled to come in on June 5. O’Neill said the plan was for the 25-year-old Gutierrez, who has never ridden in New York, to have from 5-10 mounts at Belmont in order to become accustomed to the 1 ½-mile track’s unique dimensions.

 

*          *          *

 

Zayat Stables’ Belmont Stakes hopeful Paynter drilled five furlongs over the Belmont Park training track Sunday morning, covering the distance under exercise rider Simon Harris in 59.26, the fastest of 38 recorded works at the distance.

 

“He worked nice,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to the colt’s Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert. “We were planning on the main track, but they sealed the main track, so we opted for the training track. They went out at 9:30, after the second break. Bob told me to go in a minute, and that’s about as close to a minute as I can get.”

 

A son of Awesome Again, Paynter easily broke his maiden going 5 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita in February, and in his next start finished a respectable fourth behind I’ll Have Another in the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby en route to a runner-up finish behind Hierro in the Grade III, one-mile Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. Eight days ago, he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 106 for a front-running 1 1/16-mile allowance victory at Pimlico.

 

“Bob told me to get the work out of the way today,” said Barnes. “He ran eight days ago, but we’re dealing with weather. They’re expecting more rain tonight than they got today, so what’s another day? The horse’s energy level is great, and he’s lightly raced. He’s only run four times, and he’s got to go a mile and a half. You train him a little differently than you train a horse that’s already gone through the Triple Crown races. Just to get to the Triple Crown races is grueling enough as it is. Can he go a mile and half? None of them have, so you really don’t know, but you’re hoping. Pedigree says he should and I definitely think we brought a fresh horse here, so that’s going to help.”

 

*          *          *

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha breezed five furlongs over the Belmont training track shortly after 6:15 Sunday morning. Sent out under exercise rider Ricardo Ponce, he was clocked in 1:01.93 for his second breeze following a 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

 

“We worked early, called an audible. Nothing new with Alpha, calling an audible,” joked trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, referring to Alpha’s fluid schedule of preps leading up to the Derby. Everything went well, he’s doing very well, and so far, we’re planning on running (in the Belmont) with Ramon Dominguez.”

 

Piloted by Dominguez at Aqueduct Racetrack this winter, Alpha won a pair of stakes – the Count Fleet and the Grade III Withers – and missed by a neck to Gemologist in the Grade I Wood Memorial. The son of Bernardini has been first or second in all but two of his career starts – the Derby, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in which he finished 11th. Both off-the-board finishes came at Churchill Downs.

 

“We’re just going to throw out the Churchill Downs races,” said McLaughlin, who won the 2006 Belmont Stakes with Jazil. “He doesn’t like it there. I have a lot of respect for three or four horses (pointing for the Belmont). I’ll Have Another, Union Rags, Dullahan…but you never know with this mile and a half. You never know. You just have to play each horse as an individual, and take it day by day.”

 

*          *          *

 

Trainer Manuel Azpurua confirmed Sunday morning that Ravelo’s Boy is likely Belmont Stakes-bound after the Lawyer Ron colt worked seven furlongs at Calder Race Course in 1:28.20.

 

“He worked very good,” said Azpurua. “I’m so pleased about it. Alex Solis came to work him. I just told him to leave easy, and finish strong, and he did. He never asked him to run, he let him go on his own.”

 

Azpurua said Solis had committed to ride Ravelo’s Boy in the Belmont Stakes, and added that the horse is scheduled to arrive at Belmont Park by van early on the morning of Tuesday, June 5. Among those considered probable for the Belmont Stakes, Ravelo’s Boy possesses the most racing experience, having assembled a 2-0-2 record from 13 career starts. He finished fifth behind Prospective in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 10, his most recent race.

 

“If everything keeps going the way it has been, if we keep going along good, we’ll be there and we’ll see what we can do,” the trainer said.

 

*          *          *

 

Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal said Sunday that his Belmont Stakes hopeful, Guyana Star Dweej, would probably breeze a half-mile Monday after plans to breeze this morning were abandoned.

 

“The [main] track was sealed, so we changed it to most likely tomorrow,” said Shivmangal. “He went for a nice little gallop on the main track today. We want to breeze him on the main track, weather permitting, but we’ll see which track suits us better tomorrow. Today, most people worked here.”

 

Guyana Star Dweej finished second in an April 27 allowance race at Belmont behind fellow Belmont Stakes contender Unstoppable U.

I’ll Have Another continues to impress at Belmont

From today’s NYRA notes:

 

Under bright and sunny skies, Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another had a second energetic gallop over Belmont Park’s main track this morning as he continues preparations for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

 

As he did on Friday, the chestnut colt went to the track accompanied by his stable pony, Lava Man, and galloped just under a mile with exercise rider Humberto Gomez in the irons. As he passed by the grandstand, I’ll Have Another received a big round of applause from the “Breakfast at Belmont” fans lined up along the rail.

 

Afterward, with clear blue skies and the sun shining for the first time all week, I’ll Have Another was treated to his first full head-to-tail soapy bath since arriving from Pimlico on Sunday.

 

“We did exactly the same as we did yesterday, the only thing different was the sunshine – it’s been a beautiful morning here at Belmont,’ said trainer Doug O’Neill’s assistant, Jack Sisterson. “Obviously, he could tell the sun was out. He went fantastic over the track again this morning. So far, so good.”

 

O’Neill is scheduled to be on hand Sunday to personally supervise the remainder of the Belmont preparations for J. Paul Reddam’s colt, who is bidding to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978. The 1 ½-mile Belmont has since tripped up 11 Triple Crown hopefuls, most recently Big Brown in 2008.

Dullahan has “old school” work in advance of Belmont run

From today’s Churchill and NYRA notes:

 

Multiple Grade I winner Dullahan  turned in one last workout at his home base, Churchill Downs, prior to his arrival in New York for the Belmont Stakes, traveling one mile in 1:43 with Tammy Fox aboard on Saturday.

 

“It was old school as we worked him one mile to try to get more into him,” said trainer Dale Romans via telephone. “It’s been a long time (since I had a horse work one mile). He didn’t seem tired afterwards and he galloped out nicely.”

 

 Romans’ star recorded fractions of :26, :38.60, :51.40, 1:04.60, 1:17.40 and galloped out 1 1/8 miles in 1:57.  It was the second work for Dullahan since his third-place finish in the Derby and Romans said he will work once more before the Belmont.
“He’s going to van to New York tomorrow (Sunday) night and arrive at Belmont early Monday morning,” Romans said. “He’ll breeze next Saturday at Belmont.”

 

Romans added he initially wanted to run Dullahan in the Preakness following his third in the Kentucky Derby but was talked out of it by owner Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing, who wanted to wait for the Belmont. The trainer now believes Crawford had the best strategy.

 

“In hindsight, I think Jerry made the right decision,” said Romans. “This gives us the best chance to win a classic.”

 

Rapid Redux to Old Friends

Rapid Redux, who holds the modern North American record of 22 consecutive wins, will be permanently pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown.

Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, made the announcement today that the 6-year-old gelding will arrive at the organization’s Georgetown farm on Wednesday, May 30.
Rapid Redux will be coming from trainer David Wells’s farm near Penn National Racecourse courtesy of Morrissey’s Horse Pullmans of Pawling, New York.
To celebrate the horse’s arrival, a press conference will be held at Old Friends’s Dream Chase Farm on Friday June 1st  at 11 am. The farm is located at 1841 Paynes Depot Road in Georgetown, KY.
Members of the print, broadcast, and online media as well as photographers and fans  are invited to come and meet Rapid Redux and other retirees.  Refreshments will be served.
In December of 2011, Rapid Redux won an $8,000 claiming race at Penn National and set off a win streak that continued into early 2012.  The son of Pleasantly Perfect  earned his 22nd consecutive victory at Laurel Park before retiring in January. His straight victories exceeded the 19-race win streaks of Peppers Pride and 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta
In 2011 Rapid Redux was awarded a Special Eclipse Award for his significant accomplishments.
Claimed for $6,250 in 2010 by owner Robert Cole, Jr and trained by Wells, Rapid Redux finished his career with 28 wins from 42 lifetime starts. His earnings total $361,609.
“We’re very grateful to David Wells for allowing us to retire Rapid Redux at Old Friends,” said Blowen. “This durable, tenacious Eclipse Award winner will be accessible to his fans every day. It makes everyone here at Old Friends very proud.”

 

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