First Dude tuned up for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) May 29 with a solid five-furlong work under exercise rider Tammy Fox.
After stopping numerous times on his way to the track to pose for photographers and videographers, the 17-hands-tall colt got down to business shortly after the renovation break on the main Belmont track, with clockers catching him in 1:01.12.
“It looked like he was just galloping,” said Dale Romans, who trains the Stephen Got Even colt for Donald Dizney. “Just getting a few trips over this track is good. He looked like he got a lot out of it, and I’m glad we came in early to train over this deeper track.”
With just three weeks between races, Romans said he was sticking with his normal program as he trains the Preakness (gr. I) runner-up into the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. Belmont Park is the fifth track over which First Dude will have run, including traditional dirt tracks at Gulfstream Park, Churchill Downs, and Pimlico, and the synthetic surface at Keeneland, where he finished third to Stately Victor in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
“He’s a great, big horse and the big sweeping turns here I think will help him,” said Romans. “He’s a strong horse and he’s handled everything we’ve given him and bounced right back.”
Fantasy Lane Stable’s Uptowncharlybrown also drilled for the Belmont Stakes, covering five furlongs in 1:01.34.
“We were looking for :48 up in 1:01, and we got :48 and a couple, up in 1:01, so it went well,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “The distance is a question mark, but it’s a question mark for everybody. This horse has a big stride and gallops out strong, always. He’s had traffic trips (in his previous races), so hopefully things go a little better at a mile and a half. He came in here a pretty straightforward horse; he does everything right and he came from good hands so we’re just training on.”
Previously trained by the late Alan Seewald, Uptowncharlybrown has two wins and two third place finishes from five starts. He was most recently third in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland on April 17.
“I wish the Belmont were today instead of next week, but he’s doing great,” said McLaughlin. “He’s ready to go, so we’re happy.”