Stunt Man Was More Than Ready for Belmont Win

by Karen M. Johnson

Stunt Man, the longest price at 11-1 in the four-horse field that ran in the $75,250 More Than Ready Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 12, powered home a 2 1/2-length winner.

Tiz Wonderful finished second in the one-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds. It was another five lengths back to Flashstorm in third. E Z Warrior, the 4-5 favorite, finished fourth, a neck behind Flashstorm.

Believeinmenow, Shopton Lane, and Reptilian Smarts were scratched.

Tiz Wonderful was vanned off the track with a possible injury to his right hind leg, according to New York Racing Association chief veterinarian, Anthony Verderosa. He said Tiz Wonderful was scheduled to be X-rayed by Dr. James Hunt once he returned to his barn. John Velazquez, who rode Tiz Wonderful, told Verderosa he felt “something pop” as he was galloping back to be unsaddled.

The More Than Ready was delayed a few minutes when E Z Warrior’s bridle needed to be adjusted.

Once the gates opened, E Z Warrior forged to the lead and was pressed on the outside by Tiz Wonderful through fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 3/5. At the top of the stretch, the leaders were joined by Stunt Man, who came swooping by them on the outside.

The final time was 1:35 over a fast track. Stunt Man, who was ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $25.20 to win and $6 to place. There was no show wagering.

David Flores, who flew from California to ride E Z Warrior in the More Than Ready, said, “[Tiz Wonderful] never game him a break. We ended up both getting beat.”

New York-bred Stunt Man, a 3-year-old gelding by Western Expression, is trained by Gary Contessa and owned by Winning Move Stable and Celebrity Group Stables.

In his last start, Stunt Man won the restricted Albany Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 22. 

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