Giant Finish Works Four Furlongs for Belmont
Grade III-placed Giant Finish, who finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), turned in his final serious work for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 4, breezing a half-mile on the Belmont Park main track under Racing Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who will be aboard for the June 8 race.
The New York-bred Frost Giant colt went out shortly after the renovation break at 8:45 a.m. and was caught in 49.04 by clockers. The breeze ranked 12th of 18 at the distance on the main track listed as good.
"He did it nice and easy to the pole, and I let him out a little bit," said Prado of the Tony Dutrow-trained colt. "He got over the track well and finished up good. It was really a maintenance work."
Prado, who won the inaugural running of the $500,000 Penn Mile June 1, is a two-time winner of the Belmont, taking the 2002 edition with Sarava and the 2004 running with Birdstone .
In other Belmont Stakes news:
• Kentucky Derby winner Orb continues to flourish at his home track, jogging the morning of June 4 at 6 a.m. and leaving Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey pleased with the way the colt is coming into the Belmont.
"I think it's got to be a lot more comfortable than shipping to Kentucky or to Maryland; from here, all he has to do is walk from here (the barn) to there (the track)," said McGaughey. "He walks through the paddock every morning and trains over the racetrack every day, which he did as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old, except when we were in Florida. He's been here for three weeks, and I think it has to be a help not only mentally but being familiar with the footing as well. He's done well here and trained well here."
• Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Oxbow led the D. Wayne Lukas-trained contingent off the van early the evening of June 3 at Belmont Park, where they will be stabled at the barn of trainer Barclay Tagg. Joining Oxbow were Rebel Stakes (gr. II) winner Will Take Charge , who is also bound for the Belmont Stakes, as well as Optimizer, who will compete in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. I).
• Jockey Rosie Napravnik, who rode Five Sixteen to a fifth-place finish in last year's Belmont, looks to make history Saturday as she teams with the filly Unlimited Budget for this year's "Test of the Champion."
Napravnik, who was aboard Mylute in the Kentucky Derby (fifth) and Preakness (third), will be the first woman to ride in all three legs of the Triple Crown in the same year. She is bidding to join Julie Krone, who won the 1993 Belmont with Colonial Affair, as the only woman to win a Triple Crown race.
"It's exciting," said Napravnik of the possibility of a woman jockey winning the Belmont aboard a filly. "I think it's great to bring some attention to the sport."
• Always in a Tiz, who was being considered for the Belmont Stakes, will instead start in the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the undercard Saturday.
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