It looks as though Thunder Blitz' connections, trainer Joe Orseno and owner Frank Stronach, control the destiny of who rides not only their own horse in the Belmont Stakes, but Dr Greenfield as well.
If Stronach, who will make the final decision, replaces Edgar Prado with Jerry Bailey for the mile and a half classic, then Prado will land the mount on Dr Greenfield. If he decides to stick with Prado, then Bailey will ride Dr Greenfield. Stronach's decision could also depend on who Bailey rides in the Manhattan Handicap -- King Cugat, for Bill Mott, or Perfect Sting, for Stronach and Orseno. Stay tuned on this one.
Orseno is very high on Thunder Blitz, and believes he has a big chance in the Belmont. "He's training so good," Orseno said. "He's much better now than he was before the Derby."
On Saturday, Dr Greenfield will work six furlongs over the all-weather track at Lingfield, with jockey Kieren Fallon aboard. The son of Dr Devious will go once agound the mile and a quarter track, jogging and galloping, then working the final six furlongs.
The strapping 16.2-hand colt is scheduled to arrive in Newburgh, N.Y. the Tuesday before the Belmont to begin quarantine. He is expected to be released from quarantine Wednesday morning, and will van to Belmont, arriving that afternoon.
Dr Greenfield has won his last three starts after finishing up the track in his career debut over soft going at Newmarket last October. He broke his maiden on the dirt at Lingfield by seven lengths on Nov. 9, and has won both his starts this year. After winning a 1 1/4-mile race at Kempton by five lengths over soft going, he scored a game half-length victory in the listed Dee Stakes, around the sharp turns at Chester, defeating the top-class Grandera.
Team Valor owner Barry Irwin pointed out that Dr Greenfield's time in the Dee Stakes was 1/100th of a second faster than My Memoirs, who captured the race in 1992 before finishing second to A.P Indy in the Belmont Stakes. And that his Timeform figure of 105 was identical to My Memoirs.
Dr Greenfield will be saddled in the Belmont by regular trainer Gerard Butler, then will be turned over to Bill Mott.