Belmont Stakes (gr. I) hopeful Tale of Verve took to the Belmont Park main track May 30 to log his final breeze in advance of the $1.5 million race June 6.
With exercise rider Kortez Walker up for the work, the son of Tale of Ekati ran five furlongs in :59.02, the fastest work of 23 at the distance.
"He galloped out good and came back blowing, which is good, because it means he got something out of it," said Dallas Stewart, who trains Tale of Verve for Charles Fipke. "He came back great and looked awesome."
The bay colt was second to American Pharoah at odds of 28-1 in the May 16 Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr.I), and Stewart hopes he can build on that effort.
"I hope he has another step forward in him," said Stewart, who finished second in a Triple Crown race for the third year in a row. "That's what we're here for,"
The Fipke homebred will have a long way to travel if he is to vanquish Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah, who galloped 1 1/2 miles over the Churchill Downs main track Saturday.
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The 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes is considerably farther than Tale of Verve has ever raced, but Stewart sees that as a positive.
"It's in his breeding," said the Kentucky-based conditioner. "He's a big horse and has a great stride, so hopefully it will add up. It's going to be a matter of stamina and hopefully the best horse will win."
Widely-traveled Belmont Stakes entrant Mubtaahij also continued his preparations for the race, working five furlongs in 1:01.05 on the Belmont main track this morning, the seventh-fastest time at the distance.
The colt was scheduled to work on the turf, but the move to the main track was made because the turf was too firm, said Trevor Brown, assistant to Mubtaahij's trainer, Mike de Kock. Brown said he was very pleased with the colt's effort over the main track and is positive the UAE Derby (UAE-II) winner has taken more kindly to the surface compared to Churchill, where he finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), his first start in the U.S.
With de Kock's arrival to New York expected for June 1, Brown said the horse would have an easy week.
"We'll freshen him up now this week," Brown said. "We've been pretty hard on him (and) that's our normal routine. Two weeks out, we work him hard and the last week freshen him up, but he's going good and we're very happy with him."