The field for the 137th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11 continues taking shape.
The 2005 Belmont is being viewed as a rematch between Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and Preakness (gr. I) champion Afleet Alex. Giacomo is currently at his Hollywood Park base in Southern California, while Afleet Alex is stabled at Pimlico.
Tim Ritchey, the trainer of Afleet Alex, had intended on shipping the colt to New York today, but had to scrap those plans because of the suspected strangles case on the Belmont backstretch. He plans to work Afleet Alex at Pimlico on Tuesday, weather permitting.
According to New York Racing Association stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, other horses under consideration for the Belmont Stakes are Scrappy T, Andromeda's Hero, Southern Africa, Pinpoint, Buzzards Bay, Sort It Out, A. P. Arrow, and Watchmon.
Byrnes added that all eight horses that ran in the Peter Pan Saturday "are live," meaning they could advance onto the Belmont Stakes. Since 1975, the Peter Pan has produced five Belmont Stakes winners, the most recent being Lemon Drop Kid in 1999. The Peter Pan usually produces a starter or two for the Belmont.
Pinpoint won his stakes debut on the Preakness undercard, going wire to wire in the Sir Barton. It was the colt's third consecutive win.
"It's definitely a possibility," trainer Nick Zito said. "We're just going to play it by ear. Obviously, he'd be coming back in three weeks, but most horses will be doing the same thing. I'll have a better idea on Thursday or Friday."
Jumping from the ungraded Sir Barton to the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes is a big leap, Zito said.
"You don't want to jump the gun but, on the other hand, he's won three in a row and he's on a good roll," Zito said. "The Sir Barton over the years has been pretty good."
Three years ago, the Sir Barton produced a Belmont Stakes winner in Sarava. In fact, Sarava remains the highest-priced Belmont winner in history, having won the race at odds of 70-1.
Zito has a confirmed starter for the race in Andromeda's Hero. Eighth in the Kentucky Derby, Andromeda's Hero breezed five furlongs over Saratoga's training track Friday in 1:01 3/5.
"He worked good and he's doing good," Zito said.