Archive for May, 2014

General a Rod joins Belmont Stakes cast; Medal Count works at Churchill

General a Rod, beaten just a head for third in the Preakness Stakes, has been added to the list of those seeking to derail California Chrome’s Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

General a Rod worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Churchill Downs Trackside training facility for trainer Mike Maker Saturday morning after which Jack Wolf of co-owner Starlight Racing confirmed that the son of Roman Ruler would join California Chrome and Ride On Curlin as the only horses this year slated to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown.

“He did a good work this morning. But Mike has been talking the last two weeks about how impressed he is with his energy level and how well he’s doing,” Wolf said. “Mike knows the horse and he feels like it’s a place where we should run him. I’m game.”

Owned by Starlight and Skychai Racing, General a Rod finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby where he was shuffled well back early instead of being closer to the pace as is his preference. The dark bay colt was sitting in striking position in fourth down the backside of the Preakness but again was shuffled back to next to last going around the final turn when the filly Ria Antonia began tiring badly in front of him.

Even with that loss of momentum, General a Rod still closed well to get fourth, finishing just a head behind Social Inclusion.

“You look at his Preakness race he got shuffled all the way back and still came running at the end,” Wolf said. “He was in good position until the filly backed up on him and I would guess that Mike would prefer to have him closer to where he was in the Preakness than he was in the Derby for sure.”

General a Rod is slated to ship to New York on Thursday and jockey Rosie Napravnik will have the mount.

It’s been a week of highs and lows for Starlight Racing as last weekend saw their prior Belmont hopeful Intense Holiday suffer a career-ending condylar fracture in his right front following a workout at Belmont Park. Wolf added that Intense Holiday was still at a New Jersey clinic recovering but is scheduled to ship to Kentucky in the first part of next week.

Joining General a Rod on the plane to New York next Thursday will be graded stakes winner Medal Count, who breezed six furlongs in 1:10.60 at Churchill Downs Saturday in advance of his expected start in the Belmont. While the enhanced security protocols announced by New York Racing Association stated that all horses competing in the Belmont or the three $1 million undercard races must be on the Belmont Park grounds by noon on Wednesday, June 4, it also stated that “any exceptions will be at the discretion of the stewards.”

Trainer Dale Romans and owner Spendthrift Farm announced that Medal Count – eighth in the Kentucky Derby –  would be Belmont-bound this past Tuesday and both connections were impressed as the son of Dynaformer notched fractions of 34.20 and 57.80 under exercise rider Faustino Aguilar Saturday, galloping out seven furlongs in 1:24 and a mile in 1:39.

“I knew we were meeting Tuesday at Cracker Barrel,” Romans said of the decision between himself and Spendthrift owner B. Wayne Hughes to start in the Belmont. “I was thinking of all the reasons I wanted to run him in the Belmont. (Hughes) is one of the most intimidating men in the game. I walked in and sat down at the table with my stuff ready to go and he said ‘When are we shipping?’. I said, ‘Do you want to run?’, he said ‘Do you?’, I said ‘Yes’ and he said ‘run.’. Then we had eggs and talked about economics.”

Noble Causeway, sire of Belmont contender Samraat, euthanized

Edited release:

Sequel Stallions New York  announced Friday that Len Riggio’s Noble Causeway, sire of multiple graded stakes winner and expected Belmont Stakes entrant Samraat, was euthanized Tuesday.

The 12-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway had been suffering from laminitis in recent weeks and was withdrawn from service in early May. His condition deteriorated and he was euthanized Tuesday evening.

“He was a brave and determined patient, but his condition deteriorated markedly in the last 12 hours. We decided to spare him further pain,” Wally Burleson, farm manager at Sequel Stallions New York, said in a release. “With heavy hearts, we send our condolences to Mr. Riggio and the rest of the My Meadowview connections. Noble Causeway has always been a special favorite of the Sequel team. We are definitely going to miss him. Hopefully, Samraat will carry the torch so we’ll be able to enjoy his influence for many years to come.”

Bred in Kentucky by Reiko and Michael Baum,  Noble Causeway earned three wins from 18 career starts for trainer Nick Zito and owners My Meadowview Farm and was second in the 2005 edition of the Grade I Florida Derby.

Noble Causeway, who stood the 2014 season for $5,000 at Sequel Stallions in Hudson, New York currently ranks fourth on the New York  general sire list, with 2014 earnings of $1,133,180. For his career with 4 crops of racing age, he has sired 79 winners, 12 stakes horses with lifetime earnings of $3,932,485.

Among his leading progeny is My Meadowview Farm’s homebred Samraat, undefeated in his first five starts and winner of the Grade III  Gotham and Withers Stakes. Samraat suffered his first career loss when he ran second to Wicked Strong in the Grade I Wood Memorial and followed that up with a fifth place effort in the Kentucky Derby.

Samraat is slated to start in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

“Noble Causeway provided our family with more joy than we could ever imagine,” the Riggio family said in a statement. “His passing occurred on the eve of his becoming the outstanding sire we always believed him to be. He taught us to dream and, now, we can only dream of what that future might have been. He was loved and will be greatly missed, but his memory remains with us forever.”


Medal Count joins list of probables for Belmont Stakes

Dale Romans went from non-believer to champion of California Chrome in the aftermath of that colt’s Kentucky Derby triumph. The Eclipse Award-winning trainer isn’t going to let a potential Triple Crown coronation go down, however, without having one last say in the matter.

Romans and owner Spendthrift Farm confirmed Tuesday that graded stakes winner Medal Count would join the list of horses looking to stymie California Chrome and  his Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

After finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby, the original post-classic plan had Medal Count resting up for a return to the turf in the Belmont Derby on July 5. The stoutly-built son of Dynaformer – who has won on all three surfaces – helped spark a change of plans when he worked five furlongs in a bullet 59.40 at Churchill Downs this past Saturday.

“He’s training super so we’re giving him another chance at the Chrome,” said Romans, who conceded after the Derby California Chrome had convinced him he was a special horse. “I’ve always loved this horse (Medal Count) and I think he deserves to run with the best.

“If (California Chrome) is a super horse he’ll win a Triple Crown, but we owe it to the past Triple Crown horses to try and make him earn it. And history says that he won’t do it, so we can’t just duck one horse.”

Robby Albarado, who has guided Medal Count in five of his eight career starts, will retain the mount for the 1 1/2-miles Belmont Stakes.

How Medal Count’s closing kick will handle Belmont Park’s deep surface is a question mark, but the bay colt has thrived as his connections have thrown more work his way.

The Kentucky Derby was Medal Count’s third race in five weeks, having won the Grade III Transylvania Stakes on the opening day of the Keeneland Spring Meet April 4 and coming back eight days later to finish second in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Albarado settled Medal Count midfield off tepid fractions in the Kentucky Derby but was hindered when eventual third-place finisher Danza appeared to veer sharply in front on him, cutting off his momentum in the stretch of the 1 1/4-miles test.


“He just seems to be a horse that thrives on the work,” said Spendthrift Farm general manager, Ned Toffey. “Rather than wilting under this, he seems to be thriving. It certainly looks like it’s going to be a tough group (in the Belmont) but he’s a horse who is bred to run the distance and is just doing so well, we felt like we had to take a shot.

“With any luck, we’ll be very unpopular by the end of it.”

Belmont day could be huge for Spendthrift Farm as they also have two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder slated to start in the Grade I, $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes on the undercard.

The Odgen Phipps could be pound-for-pound the best race on the day as it is scheduled to pit Beholder against multiple Grade I winners Princess of Sylmar and Close Hatches in a battle for distaff divisional supremacy. All three faced each other in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff with Beholder prevailing by 4 1/4 lengths over Close Hatches to cement a second championship.

“She’s doing extremely well,” Toffey said of Beholder, who won the Santa Lucia Stakes in her seasonal bow on April 20. “She seems to be moving forward from last year and seems to be getting better.

“There is no question (this Ogden Phipps) is great for racing. Any one of those three could run a heck of a race and finish third.”


Belmont probables
California Chrome
Commanding Curve
Kid Cruz
Medal Count
Ride On Curlin
Wicked Strong
Social Inclusion

Risen Star Stakes winner Intense Holiday retired

Edited Starlight release:

Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday has been retired after undergoing surgery on May 26 for a condylar fracture to his right front leg he suffered after a five-furlong workout at Belmont Park on Sunday.


According to Dr. Patti Hogan, who performed the surgery, the fracture was mended but it was advised that he be retired from racing.


“This injury was more frustrating than most because, after a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Derby, Intense Holiday underwent a thorough veterinary exam, including nuclear scintigraphy and digital x-rays,” Dr. Foster Northrop, the primary veterinarian for Starlight Racing, said in a release. “All of his results came back clean and he was shipped to Belmont Park where, by all accounts, he had been training very well.”


Starlight Racing co-managing partner, Jack Wolf, was at Belmont Park watching him train the morning that the injury occurred.


“You never get used to this stuff,” Wolf said. “It’s disappointing, but the horse did not seem to be in much distress right after the injury and we’re happy that they were able to repair the injury to the extent that they could.  He’s a good horse—a talented horse—who has provided us with some thrilling finishes.  But whether they’re worth $5,000 or $5 million, this is always a bitter pill to swallow.”


Stud plans for Intense Holiday’s future are not yet finalized.  Starlight Racing is currently in negotiations with several stallion farms regarding his career as a stallion and an announcement will be made when an agreement is reached.


Trained by Todd Pletcher, Intense Holiday won the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on February 22 to stamp himself as a contender on the Kentucky Derby trail. The son of Harlan’s Holiday finished second in the Grade II Louisiana Derby prior to his 12th place run in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Intense Holiday retires with two wins from nine career starts and $551,900 in earnings.


“Intense Holiday seemed to come out of the Kentucky Derby as well as he had any of his prior races and he was training remarkably well at Belmont Park when the injury occurred,” Pletcher said. “It’s an unfortunate thing.  He was a solid Grade II winner, showed up every time, ran against the best of his generation and I believe that as the season went on he would’ve had an excellent chance to be a Grade I winner.  These types of blows are never easy to take but this one was particularly confounding.”

Matterhorn under consideration for Belmont Stakes start

Edited NYRA release:

Trainer Todd Pletcher on Monday confirmed that Matterhorn is now possible for the Grade I, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 7. The colt, fourth in the Grade II Peter Pan on May 10, recently was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners from Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor.


Matterhorn, who finished 6 ¼ lengths behind Tonalist in the Peter Pan, on Sunday breezed five furlongs in 48.27 seconds, the second quickest of 57 moves at the distance that day.


“I spoke to (Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners president) Aron Wellman yesterday after the breeze, and we’re keeping an eye on how he trains this week,” said Pletcher. “A lot will depend on how he breezes on Sunday, but he’s under consideration (for the Belmont Stakes).”


Also on the worktab yesterday for Pletcher were Commissioner, the Peter Pan runner-up who is confirmed for the Belmont Stakes; Palace Malice, confirmed for the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap; and Princess of Sylmar, who is targeting the Grade I Ogden Phipps. The Belmont Stakes, Met Mile, and Ogden Phipps all will be contested June 7.

“(Commissioner) came back very well,” said Pletcher. “A quiet morning. We’ll watch the forecast, but he’s scheduled to breeze again on Sunday.”



Stakes winner Clever Allemont euthanized at Old Friends

Edited release:

Clever Allemont, winner of the 1984 Rebel Stakes winner and Old Friends retiree, was euthanized due to colic on the early morning of May 26 at the age of 32.

Bred in Illinois in 1982 by A. J. Sweeney, Clever Allemont was by Clever Trick out of the mare Allemont. His race career opened with a five-race win streak, beginning at the age of two and culminating in 1985 Southwest Stakes and Rebel Stakes victories for owner W. C. Partee and trainer Lynn Whiting.

He finished third that summer in three graded stakes, the Sheridan and Grade I Arlington Classic at Arlington Park, and the Fairmount Park Derby. Later trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Clever Allemont was ridden by Pat Day, Angel Cordero, Mike Smith, and Richard Migliore, among others. His earnings totaled $316,329 in 47 starts with 8 firsts, 7 seconds and 7 thirds.

Clever Allemont entered stud in 1988 at Rainier Stables in Enumclaw, Washington and was later moved to Double D Farm in Kishwaukee, Illinois where he stood until 1997 with 167 foals, 125 starters and 72 winners for progeny earnings of $1,038,007 on the track. He also sired AQHA, show jumper and dressage progeny.

In November 2008, the aging stallion was discovered in a kill buyer’s pen in Kansas. Clever Allemont was thin and had lost his right eye. The Alex Brown Racing Forum’s group Fans of Barbaro raised funds to purchase Clever Allemont, and he was moved to safety at Ray and Jeanne Mason’s Donegal Ranch in Williamsburg, Kansas. Aftercare colleague Diana Baker contacted Old Friends president Michael Blowen. Clever Allemont took up residence at Old Friends’ Georgetown, Kentucky farm in January 2009.

For the next half-decade, Clever Allemont was one of Old Friends’ most popular retirees as he received birthday cards from all over the world, and his gentle sociability despite his  hardships and challenges – he was deaf from old age as well as having lost an eye – inspired many.

“Clever Allemont was such a great asset to Old Friends,” said Michael Blowen. “He was the kindest, friendliest stallion on the farm. He inspired deaf people because he was deaf, visually impaired people because he enjoyed life though he’d lost an eye, anybody who knew what it’s like to overcome hardship.” Blowen added, “People call Clever Allemont a ‘rescue,’ but it’s really the horses who rescue us.”

Intense Holiday to miss Belmont Stakes with injury

Edited NYRA release:

Intense Holiday, most recently 12th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont Stakes after being pulled up with an injury following a five-furlong breeze Sunday morning in company with Belmont contender Commissioner.


According to trainer Todd Pletcher, Intense Holiday suffered a condylar fracture of the right foreleg and will undergo surgery  to repair the injury.


“It’s not life-threatening, and I don’t think it’s career-ending,” said Pletcher. “It’s particularly frustrating because after the Derby we ran (all the tests) and everything indicated he was healthy and ready to move forward. It’s unfortunate.”


Both Intense Holiday and Commissioner, who had jockey Javier Castellano aboard, were timed in 1:00.77 for five furlongs.


“I thought Commissioner breezed very well,” said Pletcher of the Grade II Peter Pan runner-up. “He was traveling well throughout and was willing; he seemed to be getting over the surface well and wrapped up good. He did everything you hoped he would do.”


Pletcher said he thought Commissioner, a 1 1/8-mile maiden winner last summer at Saratoga Race Course, would not have difficulty negotiating the 1 ½-mile Belmont.


“I think the longer he goes, the better he will get,” he said. “We’ve always felt he was all A.P. Indy and the further he goes, the better. We’re looking forward to the distance.”


Also breezing Sunday morning for Pletcher were last year’s Belmont winner Palace Malice, who went a half-mile in 48.66 in company with Capo Bastone for the Grade I, $1.25 Metropolitan Handicap, and Princess of Sylmar, who is being pointed to the Grade I Ogden Phipps, both on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 7.


“Palace Malice breezed super,” said Pletcher. “He seems to be in great form and we’re excited about the race. Princess went in company with Percussion and she also went very well (five furlongs in 1:01.31).”

Also on the worktab Sunday was fellow Belmont Stakes contender Tonalist who went an easy five furlongs in 1:01.63. The son of Tapit broke from the half pole, commencing the breeze at a leisurely pace of 25.19 seconds for the opening quarter-mile. Entering the stretch, the Clement trainee picked up the pace, finishing in 36.44 for his final three furlongs and galloped out well.


“Nice work,” said Clement. “He looked good, was willing, and came back in good order. It was not the most aggressive work, but it was what we wanted. He galloped out in :13 and 3/5 this morning, so it was a strong gallop out.”


The move is planned to set up Tonalist for his final work, which will transpire next weekend.


“The plan is to bring him back this coming Saturday or Sunday and work him in company with Life In Shambles,” said Clement. “It will probably be a touch more aggressive. I just hope we can keep him sound and life is good.”


Looking to put additional stamina into Grade I Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong, trainer Jimmy Jerkens had the colt breeze one mile on Sunday with exercise rider Kelvin Pahal aboard.


Wicked Strong, who started and finished at the half-mile pole on the Belmont training track, completed one mile in 1:39.59 and galloped out 1 1/8 miles in 1:55.22.


“I thought it was good. A nice, good stamina work,” said Jerkens, who trains the son of Hard Spun Centennial Farm.


Jerkens had Wicked Strong breeze seven furlongs 10 days before the Wood Memorial and eight days before his fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. The colt also blew out two days before the Wood and two days before the Derby. He returned to the worktab last week for the first time since the Derby by turning in a 1:01.84 five-furlong breeze on the training track.


The trainer added that Wicked Strong will work again next weekend and then could have a blow out the week of the Belmont Stakes.


“It’s what got him here, so we figured we wouldn’t change the format,” said Jerkens. “He worked last week; he worked faster than I wanted. He was a little too edgy (last week), so we decided we’d keep him (on the training track) and work him two turns just to simmer him down a little bit. He went nice and easy the first part and finished up nicely, I thought.”


Samraat, fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, logged a solid move of 1:41.28 seconds for a mile for trainer Rick Violette and owner Len Riggio. The son of Noble Causeway was undefeated through his first five starts before finishing second to Wicked Strong in the  Wood Memorial before contesting the Derby. Samraat shipped from Rick Violette’s base at Aqueduct Racetrack for the breeze.


“It was terrific, exactly what we wanted,” said Violette. “He made a long sustained run around the turn and straight through the wire. He ran his last three-eighths in 36 flat and cooled out like he was King Kong.”


The breeze was intended to be his final serious piece of work before the Belmont Stakes, according to Violette.


Saturday would be the right day, or Sunday, we’ll watch the weather next week,” said the trainer. “It will just be an exercise to blow off a little steam and let him feel really good.”



California Chrome unfazed by unexpected company

Edited release:

Triple Crown contender California Chrome was unfazed Friday morning when he encountered an opossum who decided to cross the main track at Belmont Park towards the end of the chestnut colt’s routine daily gallop in preparation for the Grade I, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.


California Chrome, who on June 7 will attempt to add the Belmont to his victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, didn’t even flinch as he passed the cat-sized marsupial near the gap and completed his gallop much to the satisfaction of exercise rider Willie Delgado and assistant trainer Alan Sherman.


“We have coyotes on the track at Los Alamitos, (so) it was no big deal,” said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father, Art Sherman. “The track was a little heavier than it was yesterday, but he seemed to handle it fine.”


Sherman said California Chrome likely would school in the paddock once or twice next week, and also school in the starting gate, as part of his preparations for the 1 ½-mile Belmont. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.


“It’s hard to remember that far back,” said Alan Sherman, who has spent his whole life around the racetrack with his father, a former jockey who was the exercise rider for 1955 Derby winner Swaps.  “I do remember Steve Cauthen riding Affirmed. That was an amazing rivalry with him and Alydar. Steve Cauthen – I guess I was ten years old – he was like an idol. I wanted to be a jockey long before that, (but) that was an inspiration. It’s amazing how young he was when he accomplished that.”


Sherman, 45, did fulfill his dream of becoming a jockey but quickly “ate myself out of that job” and became his father’s assistant.


“I enjoy working with my father,” he said. “I like the family camaraderie. It’s a good fit.”


Commanding Curve, runner-up to California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby, worked toward his expected start in the Belmont Stakes on Friday, covering five furlongs in :59.80 for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Working in company with stablemate Perfect Title, Commanding Curve posted fractions of :12.40, :24.60, :36.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.40.
Commanding Curve is scheduled to ship to New York on Wednesday, and will work once more at Belmont Park prior to the 1 ½-mile Belmont.
“I think he’ll be fine to handle the distance,” Stewart said. “He had a great work today, he’s fit and I think the distance will fit him just fine.
There are going to be some nice horses in there. Of course California Chrome is a really nice horse and will obviously be the favorite. Ride On Curlin is another solid horse in there that will be tough.
“We’ll need a good trip. He needs to be close at the quarter pole. Approaching the quarter pole having only one or two horses beat probably won’t get it done. He needs to be a little closer and just have nice positioning turning for home.”

Several of the horses who are slated to challenge California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 are scheduled to breeze this weekend at Belmont Park.


Robert Evans’ Tonalist, a four-length winner of the Grade II Peter Pan on May 10 at Belmont, likely will breeze Saturday at 6 a.m. on the main track, according to trainer Christophe Clement.


Tomorrow or Sunday, most likely tomorrow,” said Clement. “First set, only if the track is good. If not, we’ll wait until the next day.”


Tentatively scheduled to breeze on Sunday are Wicked Strong, Samraat,Commissioner, and Intense Holiday.


Centennial Farms’ Wicked Strong won the Grade I Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct Racetrack before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Jerkens said Wicked Strong probably will make his next breeze on Belmont’s training track.


“He’ll probably go Sunday, but I don’t know how far,” said Jerkens. “I have to think it over, but most likely on Sunday.”


Samraat, a My Meadowview Farm homebred, has finished one spot behind Wicked Strong in his past two starts, reporting home second in the Wood Memorial and fifth in the Derby. He is currently based at Aqueduct, but trainer Rick Violette said he is leaning in favor of taking him to Belmont to breeze on Sunday.


WinStar Farm’s Commissioner, second in the Peter Pan, and Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday, 12th in the Derby, remain on schedule for Sunday breezes, according to Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.


California Chrome has first gallop over Belmont track

Edited NYRA release:

Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome had his first gallop around Belmont Park’s 1 ½-mile oval Thursday morning, going out on a sloppy track and covering 1 3/4-miles shortly after 6 a.m. with exercise rider Willie Delgado aboard.


“I just wanted to get out before the track got chewed up and he skipped over that track,” said Alan Sherman, who is the assistant to his father, trainer Art Sherman. “I was amazed as to how good he looked at there. The track did not seem heavy, just wet and sloppy. No one really wants to train over a chewed up track so that is why went our earlier today than planned.  We’ll probably do the same tomorrow.”


The trip to New York for the 146th running of the Belmont, the oldest and longest leg of racing’s Triple Crown, marks the first time Alan Sherman had experienced Belmont Park, the largest dirt track in North America.


“The place is massive,” said Alan Sherman, whose father was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “Your horse looks like an ant down there. The place is huge but I’m real happy with the surface and as long as Chrome likes it, I like it.


“It’s kind of intimidating, as big as it is when you first look at it, but we can handle it,” he added.


Sherman reported that Delgado, California Chrome’s regular exercise rider, was equally delighted with the way the Lucky Pulpit colt handled the track.


“He just said, ‘WOW,'” said Alan Sherman. “He said (he horse) just skipped over the track.”


California Chrome is attempting to become the first horse in 36 years to sweep the Triple Crown. The chestnut dual classic winner will have one work prior to the Belmont, an easy half-mile on May 31, with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, Sherman said.


“He seems to have lots left in the tank right now and I’m not going to over train him by any means right now,” he said. “I’m just going to keep him fresh and happy. If he works in  :48 or :49, that will be perfect. We don’t need a fast work; if he is not fit by now, he’ll never be fit.


“Victor has been working this horse for a while,” Sherman added. “He is going to fly in and work California Chrome and then he’ll try and get some mounts [the] afternoon of (the Belmont Stakes) and fly back on Sunday. Victor has been doing this for a long time, and he is a professional and he knows what he is doing.”

California Chrome heads into the Belmont with six straight wins to his credit by a combined margin of 27 1/2 lengths. The son of Lucky Pulpit captured the Kentucky Derby by 1 3/4 lengths before taking the 1 3/16-miles Preakness Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths over Ride On Curlin last Saturday.


Since Affirmed became the 11th horse to win racing’s most elusive prize in 1978, 11 others have come into the Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown, and none have succeeded. In 2012, I’ll Have Another won the first two legs but did not compete in the Belmont.


“I don’t see anything (they have in common as to] why they didn’t win; they look like they just got out run,” said Alan Sherman. “I still think I can win the Triple Crown; I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”


Enhanced security protocols announced for Belmont Stakes, undercard

Edited NYRA release:

The New York State Gaming Commission and The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Wednesday announced enhanced security protocols for horses running in the four $1 million-plus Grade I stakes races on Belmont Stakes Day, June 7, 2014.



All horses potentially participating in the Manhattan ($1 million), the Ogden Phipps ($1 million), the Metropolitan Handicap ($1.25 million) and the Belmont Stakes ($1.5 million) must be on the grounds by noon on June 4 and will be subject to out-of-competition testing. Trainers of horses participating in the races must provide complete veterinary records for three days leading up to the race. Additionally, horses will be monitored at all times from their arrival at the track leading up to the races.



“The Commission’s commitment to equine health and safety is underscored by these measures, which are consistent, comprehensive and fair,” said Commission Acting Executive Director Robert Williams. “These races, which will feature some of the top Thoroughbred horses in the world, will be run with the utmost security and integrity.”


“These measures highlight best practices and adherence to New York’s rules and regulations,” said New York Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer. “Combined with comprehensive out-of-competition testing, these measures preserve the integrity of the sport in New York and the safety and well-being of the horses running in these prominent races.”


“In addition to the Belmont Stakes Day enhanced protocols, NYRA and the Gaming Commission have made additional significant investments in integrity and safety programs,” said Chris Kay, President and CEO of The New York Racing Association, Inc.  “These include the hiring of the first ever NYRA Safety Steward and New York State Equine Medical Director, the hiring and training of security personnel to monitorbackstretch activities and the establishment of an Equine Safety Committee of the NYRA Board of Directors.”

The Commission and NYRA have mandated the following protocols and steps for horses participating in the four Grade I stakes races on June 7, including the Belmont Stakes:

– The Commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in the races and sends them to the N.Y.S. Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College for immediate testing. The Commission will coordinate with other jurisdictions to obtain out-of-competition samples from horses that are not stabled in New York State.

-Horses participating in the races must be on the grounds by Noon on Wednesday, June 4 before the race. Any exceptions will be at the discretion of the Stewards.

– Horses will stay in their trainers’ current barns and stalls on the grounds, which will be monitored at all times by additional security personnel.

– Security personnel will monitor all treatments performed by veterinarians. All containers for medications administered will be retained by the Commission for possible testing.

– A full daily veterinarian’s record of all medications and treatments given to horses participating in these races from Noon on June 4 until the June 7 will be provided to the Commission. Any changes to treatment must be disclosed to the Commission. If medications and treatment records are not provided to the Commission prior to treatment, veterinarians will not be permitted to treat the horse until the issue is resolved. The Commission will post these records on its website each day leading up to the races.

– Entry-exit logs will be maintained by additional security from NYRA and the Commission. All persons – including veterinarians, trainers, assistant trainers, farriers, owners or other connections – on entering the stall, or engaging in contact with the horse or performing any service for the horse, must have a valid Commission license on their person. Such persons will be logged in by security personnel with the reason for their visit. Routine stall and horse maintenance by identified grooms and staff will be monitored but will be exempt from logging.

– All equipment, feed, hay bales, etc. are subject to administrative searches and checks.

– As is current policy, Lasix administration will take place in the horses’ own stalls by a NYRA veterinarian. Syringes will be preserved by the Commission for possible testing.

– On June 6, no veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with Commission investigators.

– The Commission, in conjunction with NYRA, will appoint a single 24-hour point person each day for trainers and connections to contact in case of an emergency.

– On June 7, no treatment will be permitted (beyond Lasix for specifically designated horses) unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the Stewards.

– On June 7, horses participating will be required to be in the Assembly barn between 45 minutes to 1 hour before post time for TC02 testing. They will then be escorted with security to the paddock.

– Horses in the races will receive priority for paddock schooling with security present.


“New York’s horsemen readily embrace measures that ensure a level playing field and an equal standard of supervision,” said Rick Violette, Jr., president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “We are committed to preserving the integrity of racing and protecting the horses and the riders.”

The Commission and NYRA will provide educational materials on the protocols to horsepersons, connections, veterinarians, security and all appropriate parties prior to and upon arrival at the track.


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