According to the New York Racing Association communications department, owner Lawrence P. Roman confirmed that Spangled Star, a son of Distorted Humor who finished third in the April 24 Withers Stakes (gr. III), would compete in the Belmont.
Trained by Rick Dutrow, Jr., Spangled Star broke his maiden by 4 1/4 lengths at Laurel in January in his sixth start, then was third in a February allowance optional claiming race at the Maryland racing venue in his final effort prior to the Withers.
"He seems to be getting a little better with every start," Roman said in a New York Racing Association release. "He’s lightly-raced and he’s bred to go the distance. When I bought him, I had the Belmont Stakes in mind. For most people the Kentucky Derby is the race they want to win the most, but for me that race is the Belmont."
Roman remains realistic when he assesses Spangled Star’s chances of winning the Belmont, which is the final and longest leg of the Triple Crown.
Meanwhile, trainer Tim Ice said Shortleaf Stable’s New Madrid, fifth in an allowance May 20, will skip the Belmont.
"He won’t run in the Belmont," Ice said. "He needed to show me more yesterday than he did. He’ll run back in a dirt allowance race and we’ll see from there."
New Madrid, a son of Rock Hard Ten, finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) a month after breaking his maiden at third asking at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer Alexis Barba said she will arrive in New York this weekend to oversee a May 23 workout for Make Music for Me, who rallied to finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in his most recent start. He arrived at Belmont Park May 17.
"The first day he galloped over a hard, sealed, sloppy track and went well, and the last two last two days it’s been deep and sandy, and he’s getting across it really well, too," said assistant trainer and exercise rider Andy Durnin. "So far, knock wood, he’s gotten over anything he’s put his foot on. And it made sense to get here early so he can get a couple of nice breezes over the track and really get a feel for it."
Owned by Ellen and Peter Johnson, Make Music for Me broke his maiden in his seventh start, an overnight stakes on the turf at Santa Anita March 6 in his 3-year-old debut. As a 2-year-old, he was on the board in three of six starts, finishing second to Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Lookin At Lucky in both the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) and the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I). He was third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, behind Lookin At Lucky in the Cash Call Futurity (gr. I).
"The way Lookin At Lucky ran in the Preakness does his form good as he finished close to him three times," noted Durnin. "In the Derby, he wasn’t stopping at all. Eight wide cost him a bit of ground. Hopefully, there won’t be any distance limitations. He does relax, so I don’t think he’ll use himself up early."
Joel Rosario, who was aboard in the Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to ride Make Music for Me in the Belmont.
Trainer Todd Pletcher also confirmed May 21 that the filly Devil May Care, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, would not start in the Belmont Stakes and instead await the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 26.