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Anne M. Eberhardt

Kid Cruz to Bypass Belmont Stakes

Son of Lemon Drop Kid to point for Belmont undercard race or July 5 Dwyer.

Kid Cruz, a two-time stakes winner in Maryland earlier this year, has been withdrawn from consideration for the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), trainer Linda Rice said after consultation with his owners.

The son of Lemon Drop Kid , campaigned by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, will be pointed to either the $150,000 Easy Goer on the Belmont undercard or the, $200,000 Dwyer (gr. III) July 5 at Belmont Park. Both races are for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

In his most recent start, Kid Cruz ran eighth of 10, beaten 16 lengths by Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome  in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

"We have decided to pass on the Belmont," Rice said. "Frankly, he didn't perform at Pimlico. It was a flat effort on his part. We'll just look for an easy race for him to get him back on track. It's a long summer."

Kid Cruz, who was claimed last fall at Aqueduct Racetrack, won two straight $100,000 stakes in Maryland heading into the Preakness, including Pimlico Race Course's hometown prep, the 1 1/16-mile Federico Tesio, on April 19.

Sire Lemon Drop Kid, won the 1999 Belmont Stakes in a field that included Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness winner Charismatic, leading Rice to believe that the 1 1/2-mile distance would have suited Kid Cruz.

"That would have been terrific," she said, "but I just think his last effort was a non-effort on his part. He's a nice horse, and we want to do the right thing by him. We're going to consider the Easy Goer, but we may decide to wait for the Dwyer."

Rice believes that California Chrome is the horse to end the 36-year drought since Affirmed last swept the Triple Crown in 1978.

"I think so. I think he's going to be very hard to beat," she said. "This horse has been so dominant, I think there's a good chance we will see it."