Tapit, Cliff Out of Belmont; Purge, Master David May Join Field

Tapit, Cliff Out of Belmont; Purge, Master David May Join Field
Photo:
Two pull out of Belmont.
Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Tapit will not run in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr.I), it was reported on trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta Farm web site Saturday. With Tapit's defection, as well as the defection of The Cliff's Edge, the connections of Purge and Master David are considering entering, although both are still doubtful starters.

According to David Fiske, racing manager for owner Ron Winchell, although the son of Pulpit came out his six-furlong work on May 26 in good shape, Dickinson feels the colt has not fully recovered from the lung disease that had plagued him following the Florida Derby (gr. I).

Tapit made his 3-year-old debut in the Florida Derby, finishing sixth. After battling a severe infection, he returned to win the Wood Memorial before finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track he apparently couldn't handle.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said, although he likely will enter Peter Pan (gr. II) winner Purge in the Belmont, there is no guarantee he will run. Master David's trainer Bobby Frankel said at this point he's not really seriously considering the Belmont, but add, "You never know."

According to the NYRA press office, they have been informed by trainer Nick Zito that The Cliff's Edge will not run in the Belmont. The son of Gulch worked five furlongs Saturday in 1:02 3/5 on the Oklahoma training track, the fastest of four works at the distance.

Also working at Oklahoma was the Zito-trained Birdstone, who breezed six furlongs in 1:15 1/5. The son of Grindstone is a definite starter for the Belmont, as is Zito's Royal Assault, winner of the Sir Barton Stakes.

"He looked very good and we're very pleased with how he's doing," said Zito, confirming that last year's Champagne winner will start in the Belmont Stakes.  "He'll ship down to Belmont on Tuesday."

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