Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box , runner-up in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked a bullet half-mile in :46 3/5 over the
Ice Box’s work, which was the fastest of 22 at the distance, was similar to the work the son of Pulpit turned in prior to the Kentucky Derby, in which he covered the half-mile in :46 2/5.
“I wanted to do the same thing we did before the
"He finished with good energy and he looked good doing it. That’s the main thing. Sometimes, you got to have a little zip in him, even though he’s going a mile and a half."
Ice Box, along with stablemate and fellow Belmont hopeful Fly Down, is scheduled to arrive at Belmont Park with Zito on June 2.
Ice Box, who will be ridden by Jose Lezcano, captured the Florida Derby (gr. I), and then came off a six-week layoff to finish a fast-closing second in the Kentucky Derby after a traffic-filled trip, in which he came from 19th, 24 lengths back, to be beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Super Saver.
Ice Box is expected to be the favorite for the Belmont, which could have as many as 11 starters. Earlier in the day it was announced that that Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Dave in Dixie is also targeting the race.
According to Thrash, the decision to join the Belmont field was finalized after Dave in Dixie worked a mile at Hollywood Park in 1:39.60 May 27.
“It’s worth a shot,” said Thrash, who was represented in the Kentucky Derby by Line of David. “He worked for the last time (before the Belmont) this morning and we waited until afterward to make sure he was coming.”
Trained by John Sadler, the son of Dixie Union broke his maiden at first asking last summer at Del Mar and was sixth behind eventual Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky in the grade I Norfolk in his only other start as a juvenile.
Dave in Dixie began his 3-year-old campaign with a second-place effort in the Robert B. Lewis (gr. II) at Santa Anita, and followed that by finishing sixth in the San Felipe (gr. II) and fifth in the Illinois Derby (gr. III), his first start on dirt, on April 3.
According to Thrash, Calvin Borel will ride.
In addition to Ice Box, Fly Down, and Dave in Dixie, the field for the Belmont includes Drosselmeyer, First Dude, Game On Dude, Make Music for Me, Spangled Star, Stately Victor, Stay Put, and Uptowncharlybrown.