The 3-year-olds inclined to try a shorter distance in New York on Belmont Stakes Day should make for a good prelude to those willing to try a mile and a half.
Two races before the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Saturday, eight 3-year-olds will run seven furlongs in a competitive edition of the Riva Ridge Stakes (gr. II).
One horse sure to draw attention is Flame Thrower, a top 2-year-old last year when he won four of his five starts for trainer Bob Baffert. Flame Thrower made his 3-year-old debut at Pimlico on Preakness Stakes Day, running a good second in the Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). Flame Thrower drew the seven post and will be ridden by Jerry Bailey.
Another who should receive heavy support is Express Tour, who ran eighth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). John Velazquez will be aboard.
City Zip got back on the winning track with a win in the Hirsch Jacbos Stakes at Pimlico May 12, Burning Roma won the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day, and New York's giant killer, trainer Allen Jerkens, sends out Put It Back, who has won all four of his starts this year.
One to watch is Touch Tone, who is inbeaten in two starts. He broke his maiden at Keeneland, then won the Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes at Lone Star.
The field, in post position order:
Red's Honor, Pat Day
City Zip, Jorge Chavez
Windsor Castle, Robbie Davis
Express Tour, John Velazquez
Touch Tone, Robby Albarado
Burning Roma, Rick Wilson
Flame Thrower, Jerry Bailey
Put it Back, Noel Wynter