Proud Citizen, second in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, breezed an easy half-mile in :50 4/5 at Churchill Downs Sunday in preparation for the June 8 Belmont Stakes. The colt's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, said Sunday morning that his other Belmont hopeful, Table Limit, would miss the race due to an impending quarter crack.
Lukas had originally scheduled a work for Proud Citizen on Monday or Tuesday, but the trainer was scheduled to fly to California Sunday to saddle Orientate in Monday's Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile.
"I have to be gone tomorrow and that'll give him his walk day while I'm gone," Lukas said. "It was just a maintenance work. That was all I wanted to do and we'll come back the first part of the week and do something more serious. These horses that have been on the Triple Crown trail are pretty fit, especially him. He's had four races in eight weeks. He doesn't need much."
Even with the defection of Table Limit, a field field of about 13 is expected in the Belmont. But the size of the field is of no concern to Lukas. "I don't think the big field is going to affect the race much because all of the contending horses are all going to be laying in the first half of it," Lukas said.
As for Table Limit, Lukas said, "He had a quarter crack coming out of the Preakness. We patched it, but I don't want to push the envelope with him. He's too good. So we'll just pass on this one.
Another Churchill-based Belmont hopeful to have his work plans changed was Request For Parole. Instead of breezing on the turf on Tuesday, trainer Steve Margolis decided to work the son of Judge T C on the dirt Sunday morning. With jockey Robby Albarado aboard, Request For Parole worked a sharp six furlongs in 1:11 4/5.
"We wanted to work him on the grass, but Robby couldn't be here and the owner felt it was important for him to get a good work in the horse, being that he's going to ride him in the Belmont," Margolis said. "So we just decided to switch and work him on the dirt, which was fine. It worked out really good. Robby felt that it was a very good move and he did it on his own. He loves this weather and I'm glad that we had a little moisture in the track last night (from overnight rains) because the track's been a little dry. The first work after the Derby was just an easy half on the grass, so it was good that we got a good move into him to see where we stand."
Although Margolis worked in New York for years as an assistant to Stanley Hough, Request For Parole will be the first horse he saddles in his own name in the Big Apple.
"For the first one to be in the Belmont is quite a thrill," Margolis said. "We'll give it a shot."
In other Belmont news, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem had his usual mile and a half gallop Sunday morning with Mick Jenner aboard. The son of Our Emblem is still scheduled to work on Wednesday.
Trainer Murray Johnson plans to work Perfect Drift on Monday at the Trackside Training Center near Churchill Downs.