A suspected case of strangles will prevent Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the leader of the 3-year-old division and likely favorite for the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 11, from arriving at Belmont Park on Saturday as was previously scheduled. The suspected but unconfirmed case of strangles forced the quarantine of barn 60 at Belmont Park May 27 and the isolation of the filly, Lady Libby. Results of the tests, sent by overnight mail to the University of Illinois and to a local lab over the holiday weekend, will not be available until early next week.Afleet Alex, owned by Cash is King Stable LLC, was slated to work at Belmont Tuesday morning. Instead, he will work at Pimlico, weather permitting.
"He might go six furlongs, but I'm not really sure of the distance yet," said trainer Tim Ritchey, who turned 54 Friday. "Mike Lakow (NYRA racing secretary) called me right away about the suspected strangles case, (for) which I am very appreciative. I can't take a shot shipping into New York right now with this horse and expose him to something. I talked to the people at Pimlico, and we'll stay here at least until Tuesday. By that time, NYRA will hopefully know what they are dealing with and have control of the situation." The Tuesday breeze will be Afleet Alex's first workout since his memorable Preakness victory May 21 when he overcame a heel-clipping incident at the top of the stretch to win the second leg of the Triple Crown by 4 ¾ lengths over Scrappy T. He has been jogging since Wednesday.