(from Belmont Park notes)
Casino Drive came out of his victory in the Peter Pan (gr. II) May 10 at Belmont Park as effortlessly and professionally as raced in his United States debut.
“He is happy; he loves it here and he is doing very well,” said Nobutaka Tada, managing director of Globe Equine Management Ltd., to the notes team at Belmont May 14. “He could run in the Preakness.”
Of course, Casino Drive will not be running in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown, instead waiting for the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7.
Bred for the Belmont, the oldest and longest leg of the Triple Crown, Casino Drive is a half-brother to 2006 Belmont winner Jaziland a three-quarter brother to 2007 winner Rags to Riches, all three sharing the same dam, Better Than Honour.
A son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Casino Drive dazzled everyone May 10 with his 5 ¾-length victory in the nine-furlong Peter Pan, which he completed in 1:47.87, handily.
“We always felt he was a good horse, and he showed his ability the other day,” Tada said. “We are hoping (grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands winner) Big Brown wins on Saturday (in the Preakness). We think the Belmont Stakes will be a very exciting race for everyone.”
Tada said Casino Drive will head back to Japan after the Belmont and then prepare for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held Oct. 24-25 at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet in California.
“If we stay beyond 60 days here, then we face three months of quarantine in Japan,” Tada said. “So, he is going back to Japan after the Belmont Stakes.”
Casino Drive’s stablemate Spark Candle, sixth in the Peter Pan, will not run in the Belmont.