Trainer Nick Zito said Tuesday morning that Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road will make his long awaited return to the races in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I), instead of the King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I), the race that was originally on his schedule. Both races are Saturday at Saratoga.
The Travers is 1 1/4 miles while the King's Bishop is a seven-furlong sprint.
Bellamy Road, by Concerto, has not started since his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), for which he was the 5-2 favorite, based on his spectacular 17 1/2-length victory in the Wood Memorial (gr. I).
"It wasn't an easy decision," Zito said. "Looking at both options, running against Lost in the Fog (in the King's Bishop) was a tough situation. If he didn't run it might change things, but you can't cross enter. But the bottom line in the decision is that this is an amazing horse. The way he's training and the way he looks, why not?
"Another thing is, if I'm building for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), is running at seven furlongs against Lost in the Fog really the right way to do it? I could run him in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II), but I'd rather run him against this type of competition to stay in that league. Bellamy Road was favored in the Derby and rightfully so. I'm a racing fan and I want to see him run back to the Wood Memorial."
Zito feels the strategy of the race will favor Bellamy Road. "They're going to have to sit off him," he said. "If they go after him after a half mile it's over for them. If Flower Alley tries to run with him he's going to finish up the track.
"And don't forget about Andromeda's Hero. He's doing great and I'm putting cheater blinkers on him. I think he's ready to run a big race, just like he did in the Belmont (gr. I)."
Zito said Javier Castellano will ride Bellamy Road and Corey Nakatani will be aboard Andromeda's Hero.
One trainer happy to hear about the addition of Bellamy Road was Bob Baffert, trainer of Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Roman Ruler .
"I need a target," Baffert said. "Plus, it gives the race a little bit more of a buzz."
In another Travers development Tuesday, trainer Patrick Biancone worked his expensive Pulpit
colt, Chekhov, as the $3.3 million auction purchased breezed five furlongs over Saratoga's main track in 1:00 1/5. It was the sixth fastest of 39 moves at the distance.
"He came home the last five-eighths very strongly," Biancone said. "He had a good morning."