Rain Alters Plans for Belmont Hopefuls
from Belmont Park
Continued wet weather in the New York metropolitan area has left the final serious works of several contenders for the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) up in the air.
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s Dunkirk, and Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren’s Charitable Man, who were both scheduled to breeze May 30, may instead have their final moves at Belmont Park May 31.
“Right now, Dunkirk is likely to breeze on Sunday after the break,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “That may change depending on the condition of the track, but Sunday will be fine. John Velazquez will be aboard.”
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Charitable Man, winner of the grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes, might wait until May 31 or even June 1 to breeze.
“We always leave a window of a day or so,” McLaughlin said. “In 2006, it rained for two weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes, and the day Jazil was supposed to breeze, the track was sloppy, and I walked out on the track and said, ‘You know what? He’s fit. He doesn’t need to work.’ So he doesn’t work the week leading up to the race, and he wins.”
Robert V. LaPenta’s duo of Miner's Escape, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes, and Brave Victory, third in the Peter Pan, will work for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito either May 30 or May 31, depending on the weather.
Summer Birdwill have his final work May 30 as scheduled, trainer Tim Ice said. “As long as the track is safe, he’ll go after the break,” he said. “Kent Desormeaux will be aboard.”
Chocolate Candy, Flying Private, Luv Gov, Mine That Bird, Mr. Hot Stuff, and possibly Rachel Alexandra are also being pointed toward the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. Nowhere to Hide, also trained by Zito, is questionable.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Quality Road , who came off the Triple Crown trail with a right front quarter crack, has resumed training, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. Quality Road, owned and bred by Edward P. Evans, galloped May 28 and May 29 after having the quarter crack patched.
“He seemed glad to get out,” Jerkens said of Quality Road, who had been confined to walking the shedrow for several weeks. “As for his next start, I have no thoughts. I couldn’t begin to tell you.”
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