Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos breezed a half-mile in :49 around the dogs at Belmont Park Sunday morning, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02, with exercise rider Bryan Beccia aboard. The son of Maria's Mon went his first quarter over the sloppy track in :25 1/5, then came home his final quarter in :23 4/5. Trainer John Ward said the colt may have one more work, at six furlongs, before the Belmont Stakes.
"I thought he handled the racetrack well," Ward said. "It's always good to know he'll handle that kind of track if it comes up wet for the Belmont. That's about as slow as he'll go. Any slower and you'd be fighting him. He had a lighter morning breezing than he would have if he galloped."
The day before, Monarchos galloped 1 1/4 miles, with Ward timing him in about 2:26."He's shown no signs of wear and tear off his Preakness effort, or non-effort as some handicappers would say," Ward said.
Ward said that Hero's Tribute, winner of Saturday's Peter Pan Stakes, came out of the race in "amazingly good" condition. "He was a little stiff in his shoulders and that could be a sign of slipping or sliding on the wet track," Ward said.
Nick Zito said A P Valentine, runner-up in the Preakness is doing well and likely will breeze on Tuesday or Wednesday. "It's been a tough spring," Zito said. "But I think we've managed to catch up with the rest of the pace. I feel lucky to be running a happy and healthy horse in the Belmont. He's two-for-two over this track and hopefully he'll be three-for-three in a couple weeks."
Stronach Stable's Thunder Blitz, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, came out of his Saturday morning workout in good shape according to trainer Joe Orseno. The son of Holy Bull breezed seven furlongs in 1:27 2/5 over Belmont's training track, listed as "good."
"He's been a maniac," Orseno said. "He was feeling pretty good this morning. Skipping the Preakness was the right thing to do and I'm very happy with the way he's coming up to the Belmont."
Stronach and Orseno named Jerry Bailey to ride Thunder Blitz, leaving Edgar Prado to ride English invader Dr Greenfield. Orseno said Red Bullet and Macho Uno are expected to return from the farm in a couple of weeks. Both have worked three furlongs and are doing very well, according to farm trainer Danny Vella. Bailey is the regular rider of both colts.
Preakness winner Point Given and fourth-place finisher Dollar Bill are expected to fly from Louisville to New York next Wednesday. Dr Greenfield is scheduled to be released from quarantine in Newburgh, N.Y. the same day, and will van down to Belmont that afternoon.