Danza to Skip Belmont Stakes
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Danza, who was most recently a troubled third in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will miss the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher was dissatisfied with the manner in which the colt emerged from his workout at Belmont Park May 18.
"Danza worked very well, but I wasn't totally happy with the way he looked this morning," Pletcher explained in a release. "He had a hard race in the Arkansas Derby and came back three weeks later for the Kentucky Derby. He has acted well in the two weeks since the Derby, but I just sensed he wasn't 100% after that breeze."
Pletcher added that the son of Street Boss would be sent to Payton Training Center in Ocala for some diagnostics and time off.
"It's disappointing to be knocked out of any race, let alone a classic, but the horse must always come first," Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners President Aron Wellman said in a statement. "As soon as Todd expressed any concern over Danza's condition, it was a no-brainer to take a step back and regroup. We'll conduct thorough due diligence and leave no stone unturned to ensure Danza returns to 100%.
"We were certainly looking forward to the opportunity to take on a stellar cast of sophomores in the Belmont Stakes, but we're confident that by continuing to do right by Danza, he will continue to reward our partners with world-class performances on the racetrack," Wellman added.
Danza, a $105,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, broke his maiden in his career debut at 2 at Belmont and followed that up with a respectable third in the Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course.
In addition to his efforts in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby this year, Danza ran third in a March 1 Gulfstream Park allowance race. He has amassed earnings of $866,428 from five starts.
Bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm, Danza is out of the French Deputy mare Champagne Royale.
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