Nearly an annual event back in the 1990s, Susan Magnier's Master of Hounds is the first colt in a decade to ship from Europe to run in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
OK, so you don't like Point Given, who by the way handled himself very well Thursday morning on his first excursion around Belmont Park, except for some typical gawking during his gallop. That's fine, as there is plenty to choose from.
There were no surprises Wednesday when nine 3-year-olds were entered for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes, third leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. As he did in the previous two legs of the series--the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness--morning line favorite Point Given will start from the outside post position.
Belmont Stakes action picked up Sunday morning with solid works by Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, Derby runner-up Invisible Ink, and Arkansas Derby and Spiral winner Balto Star, all of whom worked five furlongs over a muddy track. In France, Grandera boosted the form of Dr Greenfield with a troubled third-place finish in the French Derby.
Team Valor's Dr Greenfield, winner of the listed Dee Stakes at Chester in his last start, worked a half-mile out of the gate Saturday morning at trainer Gerard Butler's yard near Lambourn, England. Butler, a former assistant to D. Wayne Lukas and Rodney Rash, said the son of Dr Devious couldn't be doing any better.
With the Belmont Stakes just over a week away, the questions persist: will the Test of the Champion live up to its billing as a showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos and Preakness winner Point Given, or will one of the other horses who have run well in Derby or Preakness, such as A P Valentine, Invisible Ink, Dollar Bill and Thunder Blitz, knock off the big two?
Edgar Prado has the mount on British import Dr Greenfield for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) as Jerry Bailey will ride Stronach Stable's Thunder Blitz in the 1 1/2-mile classic, according to a Sporting Life report.
It looks as though Thunder Blitz' connections, trainer Joe Orseno and owner Frank Stronach, control the destiny of who rides not only their own horse in the Belmont Stakes, but Dr Greenfield as well. If Stronach, who will make the final decision, replaces Edgar Prado with Jerry Bailey for the mile and a half classic, then Prado will land the mount on Dr Greenfield. If he decides to stick with Prado, then Bailey will ride Dr Greenfield.
Chris McCarron is back on the Triple Crown trail after being named to ride Balto Star in the Belmont Stakes.
Remember My Memoirs, who finished a fast-closing second to A.P. Indy at 18-1 in the 1992 Belmont Stakes? Well, that English import's owner, Team Valor, will have another one just like him in this year's Belmont Stakes. Dr. Greenfield, who was purchased by Team Valor after breaking his maiden by 7 lengths on the all-weather (dirt) track at Lingfield on Nov. 9, captured Thursday's 1 1/4-mile Dee Stakes at Chester over highly regarded Grandera.