“Between :49 and :50.” That has become your standard instructions by a trainer to his rider prior to a horse’s final work for the Belmont Stakes. Gone are the days when trainers would work their horse at least seven furlongs, more likely a mile or even a mile and an eighth for the grueling “Test of the Champion.”
In the past few days, we’ve had six
There apparently is no right or wrong way of training nowadays, especially with so many horses with suspect pedigrees, many of whom are treated as fragile goods by their trainers. In today’s school of training, the majority of horsemen have no inclination to train their horses farther than five furlongs, and faster than :49 or :50 in their final prep, even when they’re coming into the Belmont off five weeks rest. Sometimes, it’s worked, sometimes it hasn’t. In the past, most horses, having already worked seven, eight, or nine furlongs, probably had a half-mile blowout two days before the Belmont, not five, six, and seven days out.
Mine That Bird has had two half-mile breezes in :51 and :50 since the Preakness.
Most trainers will tell you the same thing: the last thing they want is for their horse to work too fast for the
All three workers at Belmont looked well enough, Dunkirk’s in company, but there really isn’t much you can tell from a slow half-mile breeze this far out from a mile and a half race.
Charitable Man has a smooth, efficient way of moving, and was striding out beautifully through the stretch.
Chocolate Candy, who has always carried his right leg high and wide, had a very short run to the half-mile pole, which accounted for his slow opening eighth in :13, which was by design. In the stretch, exercise rider Lindsey Molina, already riding high in the saddle, took another hold of the horse, rising even higher. The last thing she wanted to do was let the colt work fast. The best part of Chocolate Candy’s work was his gallop-out, as he continued past the wire with good energy, clicking off another eighth in about :12 3/5.
Another horse who has not run since the
D. Wayne Lukas’ pair of Flying Private and Luv Gov, arrived by van from Louisville at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday following a 15-hour trip. Both colts looked none the worse for wear and made excellent appearances this morning when they went out for their jogs.