Trainer Todd Pletcher was a busy man June 1 as he shuttled between Belmont Park's main track and training track to fit in a number of scheduled works for next week's Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in between the raindrops.
Pletcher called an audible with his two Belmont Stakes (G1) contenders and sent them to the training track, where they breezed five furlongs with new workout partners in preparation for their date with Triple Crown hopeful Justify on June 9.
First was Noble Indy, who, equipped with blinkers and in company with Hyndford, covered the distance in 1:01.22 with jockey Javier Castellano aboard. In the next set, Vino Rosso (under John Velazquez) and the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1)-bound Patch were caught in 1:01.55.
"I thought they both worked very well," Pletcher said. "We got the type of (Belmont) work we were hoping for—kind of a long, steady five-eighths with a big gallop out. I got them both in around 1:42 for the mile, which was what I was looking for. Both of them showed they were in good form."
Last week the duo went a half-mile together in a bullet :47.04 in their first work since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).
"Last week on the main track, they worked together and went a little quicker than I wanted," Pletcher said. "I didn't want to do that again. Today I wanted a long, stamina-building work.
"The thing I liked about both horses was the work on the main track (last week) was as good as I've seen them go. I wanted to go on the main track because of that this morning. I'm glad we got it in when we did. I think they showed last week they handled the main track very well, and I hope that proves to be the case (in the Belmont)."
Pletcher, whose Madefromlucky and Materiality finished sixth and eighth, respectively, behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont, said beating Justify will be a tall order for any of his Belmont rivals.
"I feel as good as I can feel," he said. "With the five weeks in between races, and that they've been here at Belmont since two days after the Derby, we're hoping that will give them a little bit of an edge. (But) I think, like all of us, we need Justify to wake up on the wrong side of the bed to have a chance."