Smarty Jones will have to do a lot to win as impressively as Bear Fan. The 5-year-old mare set a track record in taking the Vagrancy (gr. II) by nine lengths in the first of six consecutive graded stakes today at Belmont Park that will culminate with a run for the Triple Crown.
The early money wagered on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has made Smarty Jones an overwhelming 1-5 choice over his eight rivals as he attempts to become racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Jason Orman, trainer of Preakness (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten, is taking aim once again at Smarty Jones in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), saying "If we were running for second, we wouldn't be here."
Eddington, the third-place finisher in the Preakness (gr. I) and 10-1 on the morning line for Saturday's 136th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds, galloped a mile and three furlongs over Belmont's main track Friday. "He's ready," trainer Mark Hennig said. "He's doing as well as can be expected."
Forecasters upgraded the chance of showers to 60% at Belmont Park Saturday as Smarty Jones goes for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
At the daily press conference outside Barn 5 at Belmont Park Friday morning, trainer John Servis' opening remarks were "I feel real good." He acknowledged that Smarty Jones was ready for his bid for the Triple Crown on Saturday and said the undefeated runner "knows it's time to dance."
As Smarty Jones got his bath after gate-schooling and galloping around the Belmont Park oval Friday afternoon, Barn 5 got a little devine intervention: a surprise visit from the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Trainer John Servis is not worried about Smarty Jones getting the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) distance of 1 1/2 miles. But just a few months ago he was worried about the colt going 1 1/4 miles.
Weather forecasters are predicting a very good day for Belmont Park on Saturday as Smarty Jones tackles the Triple Crown, although there could be scattered showers to go with a high of 58 degrees.
Premiere Radio Networks will deliver the exclusive radio call of Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) from Belmont Park. The one-hour and fifteen-minute broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. EDT with post time scheduled for 6:40.
It's not easy playing the role of villain in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). They're the guys wearing the black hats, the party poopers, the evil-doers of the Triple Crown. In the last 35 years, there have been three Triple Crown winners, and 11 horses that fell short in the 1 1/2-mile "Test of a Champion."
Veteran jockey Ramon Dominguez, leading rider in the nation last year with 453 trips to the winner's circle, has been named as the jockey aboard surprise starter Caiman for Saturday's 135th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
TVG will air Smarty Jones' final pre Belmont Stakes (gr. I) workout Friday from Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, Pa. The work will air at 1 p.m. EDT.
By Ray Paulick -- Somewhere at the Aurora, Canada, corporate headquarters where Frank Stronach sits atop his Magna International and Magna Entertainment Corp. empire, there is a warehouse filled with architectural drawings and miniature models for changes to the racetracks Magna now owns.
By Gary McMillen -- Sometimes it takes a thorn to get rid of a splinter. Like a Maryland blue crab dropped out of a basket, I scurried to the safety of my office. There were questions I needed to ask myself. Smarty Jones did not give me what I wanted but maybe he gave me what I needed.
Links to other media reports about Smarty Jones' quest for the Visa Triple Crown in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Trainer Bobby Frankel said that Peter Pan third-place finisher Master David came out of the race in good shape, but is extremely unlikely to run in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Frankel said a switch to the turf is likely for the son of Grand Slam.
His connections hope that Rock Hard Ten, who threw a fit prior to being loaded into the starting gate for last week's Preakness (gr. I), could improve on his second-place finish in the race with some improved etiquette in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Marylou Whitney's Champagne (gr. I) winner Birdstone breezed five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Saturday morning.
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who was set to serve out the remaining 30 days for a recent suspension handed to him by the Calng Board during the month of June, is considering filing an appeal that will allow him to ride Mercedes Stables' and Madeleine Paulson's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Mercedes Stables' Rock Hard Ten, runner-up to Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes (gr. II), has been getting accustomed to his new surroundings at Belmont Park since arriving here Monday. The son of Kris S. is preparing to start in the grade I, $1 million Belmont Stakes June 5 and will attempt to deny Smarty Jones the Visa Triple Crown.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said it is highly unlikely that Shadwell Stable's Mustanfar will compete in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
TVG will present live coverage of the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) from New York's Belmont Park on Saturday. The Peter Pan is the final major prep race for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Scheduled post time is 4:45 p.m.
On the morning following Smarty Jones' record performance in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer John Servis appeared on national television and prepared to move his colt out of Pimlico. Meanwhile, the trainers of Rock Hard Ten and Eddington, the second- and third-place finishers, said they will attempt to upset a Triple Crown bid by going on to the June Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Dermot Weld-trained Relaxed Gesture is not a certain runner in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), but the American classic is one of three options for the 3-year-old son of Indian Ridge.
One week removed from winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Smarty Jones, jockey Stewart Elliott has been named to ride the John Dowd-trained Whirlwind Charlott in the $200,000 Nassau County Breeders' cup Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Shake You Down, one of the more consistent sprinters in training over the last two seasons, heads the Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) on the same program.
Although rain continued to fall in Louisville, Ky. Sunday morning, trainer John Servis basked in the glow of a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory Saturday by Someday Farm's Smarty Jones.
Undefeated Hallbridled, who Jan. 26 will most likely be named champion juvenile filly for 2003, will be nominated to the VISA Triple Crown, trainer Richard Mandella told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Chapel Royal, the East's leading 2-year-old throughout the spring and early summer, will be out to prove he is more than a sprinter in Saturday's grade I, $500,000 Champagne at 1 1/16 miles. Seven rivals, including Birdstone and Notorious Rogue, will stand in his way.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel loves the position he is in with Juddmonte Farms' multiple grade I winner Sightseek. After 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri had her 11-race win streak snapped last weekend in California, the case could be made that Sightseek is better.
Summing, who in winning the 1981 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) quashed Pleasant Colony's bid to win the Triple Crown, has been pensioned at Getaway Farms near Romoland, Calif. The 25-year-old stallion was bred to just three mares this year.
Belmont Park presents its final stakes race of the spring-summer meet Sunday when a deep field of New York-breds contests the $100,000 Evan Shipman Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. Gatsas Stables' Gander is the key attraction in this race and 124-pound highweight.
A solid field of nine older runners was entered for Saturday's $500,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
For the first time ever, racing fans in New York will be able to watch and wager on the entire Saratoga meeting this summer from Belmont Park. In the past, Aqueduct served as the Saratoga simulcast site.
By Ray Paulick -- How big was Funny Cide's run for this year's Triple Crown? In terms of television ratings, no prime-time program received a higher number during the week of the Belmont Stakes than the final hour of NBC's 90-minute race telecast.
It's been "two years in the making," as jockey Richard Migliore said, but "The Iron Deputy Show" finally premiered on June 14, opening to rave reviews. The theater was the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), and a star-studded cast added to the festivities.
Selected articles from other newspapers and Web sites on Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
History was set at Belmont Park Saturday but it was not Funny Cide becoming a Triple Crown winner. Instead, it was trainer Bobby Frankel winning his first Triple Crown race when his Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Ten Most Wanted was second and Funny Cide third.
Bobby Frankel ran one-two in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. I) Saturday at Belmont Park, with Denon holding off Requete in the 10-furlong turf race. Frankel sends out Empire Maker in the following race, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Posse, closing ground with every stride, got by odds-on favorite Midas Eyes at the wire to take the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday. The 3-year-old Silver Deputy colt covered the seven furlongs over a sloppy track in a good 1:22.03.
One thing we know for sure, Mariensky likes the turf about as soft as it can get. Twice in a week, she has won graded stakes over a very soft Belmont Park turf course.
Shake You Down continued to show an affinity for an off track, running fast fractions over a sloppy surface at Belmont Park to win the $190,000 True North Breeders' Cup (gr. II). It was the fourth straight win for Shake You Down since being claimed by trainer Scott Lake, the last two graded stakes victories.
Funny Cide, who won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) impressively on an off track, will get his chance to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner on a similar surface. The precipitation moved from a drizzle to a steady light rain at about 1:30 p.m. (EDT). Then it picked up intensity. The track is now rated sloppy. The sealed surface has considerable water standing on it.
With less than an hour until post time for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Funny Cide is the 4-5 favorite of the wagering public. It goes without saying New Yorkers want to see the New York-bred gelding become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
What more could you ask for. The first race on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Day was a runaway winner ridden by none other than Jose Santos. The New York-based jockey is the regular rider of Funny Cide, who later today will try to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
The first order of business in New York on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Day -- complain about the weather. The first raindrops began falling at 9 a.m., only about nine hours before forecasters predicted. Well, nothing new.
Sure, there is not much in the pool, but the early word is obvious--New Yorkers want New York-bred Funny Cide to become a Triple Crown winner. They are wagering on him to take Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Bird Town made the lead as they came out of the turn, and then held off a late charge from Lady Tak to win the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) Friday at Belmont Park. It was the second straight grade I win for Bird Town, who won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) the day before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Chapel Royal showed the brilliance that may help him earn back his record purchase price, the $1.2 million juvenile easily winning the Flash Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park Friday over just three opponents.
From his vantage point, he has probably seen as many horses as anyone the past 15 years. But until recently, he never owned one. So while Sackatoga Stable may be new in Thoroughbred ownership, so too is John Henderson.
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