Intense Holiday
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Intense Holiday
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Intense Holiday Hurt; Others Work for Belmont

Harlan's Holiday colt sustains condylar fracture in May 25 breeze in New York.

Starlight Racing's Intense Holiday was taken out of consideration for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after being diagnosed with a condylar fracture following a May 25 workout for the $1.5 million classic.

Following his workout in company with WinStar Farms' Commissioner  at Belmont Park, Intense Holiday was walked to the equine ambulance and vanned off the track.

"Intense Holiday has suffered a condylar fracture. He'll undergo surgery but is expected to fully recover," the ownership group said via Twitter @StarlightRacing. "Thanks for your thoughts, and prayers help too."

A son of Harlan's Holiday who won the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), Intense Holiday was coming into the June 7 Belmont off a 12th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

The Todd Pletcher-trained pair of Commissioner and Intense Holiday were timed in 1:00.77 for five furlongs.

According to Pletcher, Intense Holiday injured his right foreleg and will undergo surgery to repair the injury.

"It's not life-threatening, and I don't think it's career-ending," said Pletcher. "It's particularly frustrating because after the Derby we ran (all the tests) and everything indicated he was healthy and ready to move forward. It's unfortunate."

Pletcher said Commissioner, a 1 1/8-mile maiden winner last summer at Saratoga Race Course, would not have difficulty negotiating the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

"I thought Commissioner breezed very well," said Pletcher of the Peter Pan (gr. II) runner-up. "He was traveling well throughout and was willing; he seemed to be getting over the surface well and wrapped up good. He did everything you hoped he would do.

"I think the longer he goes, the better he will get," he added. "We've always felt he was all A.P. Indy and the further he goes, the better. We're looking forward to the distance."

Also working at Belmont Park May 25 were Centennial Farms' Wicked Strong  and Samraat, the respective winner and second-place finisher in the Wood Memorial (gr. I).

With exercise rider Kelvin Pahal aboard, Wicked Strong went a good mile in 1:39.59 over the Belmont training track for trainer James Jerkens. Clockers timed the son of Hard Spun  in fractions of :13.44, :25.41, :49.87, 1:02.41, 1:14.30, and 1:26.59, with a gallop out time of 1:55.22 for 1 1/8 miles.

"I thought it was good. A nice, good stamina work," said Jerkens.

Wicked Strong ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

The trainer added that Wicked Strong will work again next weekend and then could have a blow out the week of the Belmont Stakes.

"It's what got him here, so we figured we wouldn't change the format," said Jerkens. "He worked last week; he worked faster than I wanted. He was a little too edgy, so we decided we'd keep him (on the training track) and work him two turns just to simmer him down a little bit.

"He went nice and easy the first part and finished up nicely (today), I thought."

My Meadowview's Samraat, shipped to Belmont Park from trainer Rick Violette's base at Aqueduct Racetrack, breezed a mile on the main track in 1:41.28. Winner of the Withers (gr. III) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III), he was fifth in the Kentucky Derby last time out.

The son of Noble Causeway was undefeated through his first five starts before finishing second to Wicked Strong in the Wood Memorial before contesting the Derby.

"It was terrific, exactly what we wanted," said Violette. "He made a long sustained run around the turn and straight through the wire. He ran his last three-eighths in :36 flat and cooled out like he was King Kong."

The breeze was intended to be his final serious piece of work before the Belmont Stakes, according to Violette.

"Saturday would be the right day, or Sunday, we'll watch the weather next week," said the trainer. "It will just be an exercise to blow off a little steam and let him feel really good."

Social Inclusion  was scheduled to arrive in barn 5 at Belmont Park on Sunday afternoon, with his connections eyeing either a start in the Belmont Stakes or the seven-furlong Woody Stephens (gr. II) for 3-year-olds on the June 7 undercard.