Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Belmont Doings

Belmont Park

The 141st Belmont Stakes will be run this Saturday, June 6. While some of the excitement may have left this race when Rachel Alexandra was declared out of the race by owner Jess Jackson, it still may well be a Belmont of note.

Calvin Borel will be back aboard Mine That Bird, whom he rode in the Derby, and he is extremely confident that his horse will win the 3rd jewel of the Triple Crown. Mine That Bird worked a half mile in 50 seconds flat on Monday at Churchill Downs and is the early favorite in the Belmont.

Charitable Man has emerged as a strong second choice after his 3 3/4 length win in the Peter Pan, the local prep race for the Belmont and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has been unusually vocal about his horse's chances this week. Charitable Man looked like a Triple Crown contender last summer and fall before being sidelined by injury. His easy win in the Peter Pan in his second race back shows he is ready and my guess is he may go off the post time favorite. He will be ridden by Alan Garcia.

Others expected to be entered in the Belmont are Brave Victory ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Chocolate Candy (Garrett Gomez), Dunkirk (John Velasquez), Flying Private (Julian Leparoux), Luv Guv (Miguel Mena), Miner's Escape (Jose Lezcano), Mr. Hot Stuff (Edgar Prado) and Summer Bird (Kent Desormeaux). The only two horses to compete in all three Triple Crown races this year are Mine That Bird and Flying Private.

Trainer Nick Zito announced that after a discussion with owner Leonard Riggio they decided not to enter Nowhere to Hide in the Belmont. This was in spite of a stellar half mile work over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track on Monday.

The headline story of the week is whether Calvin Borel can be the first jockey in history to capture a personal Triple Crown by winning all three races but not with the same horse.

The post position draw for the 141st Belmont will be on Wednesday.