The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival runs from June 6 to June 8, highlighted by the 151st Belmont Stakes run on Saturday June 8 with Kentucky Derby 8th place finisher and Preakness Stakes winner War of Will the probable favorite in the field of ten. The weather is currently looking pretty good on Belmont Day, mostly sunny with temperatures in the high 70’s.
Everfast galloped once around under exercise rider Tammy Fox. Trainer Dale Romans said, Everfast is coming into the race as good as he can be. I didnt think I was taking as big a chance in the Preakness as a lot of the media did. I thought we took a live longshot. I feel that Saturday we are taking a horse who is live.
Master Fencer joggged on the training track and then worked 5f over the main track in 1:01.21 under jockey Julien Leparoux. “First, we went to the training track to warm up and then we went and stood in the gate for a little bit. He was good at the gate and then we went to breeze. He felt good. He’s got stronger from when I was on him in Kentucky. It was a good breeze and I’m excited about the race on Saturday. He’s very easy to be around. He’s a kind horse and very calm and professional. It makes my job easy. We will need some racing luck. A lot depends on the pace in front and how the track plays, but we’ll give it a good race.”
Bourbon War galloped over the Belmont main track. Mark Hernon, Director of Sales at Gainesway Farm (which stands Tapit, sire of 3 horses in the field) said, “What really stands out is their competitive nature and will to win. Some of them were won by short margins but that’s part of their DNA and their will to win. I’ve watched them race over the years and if a race comes down to a photo finish and there’s a Tapit in it, you want to be holding a ticket for the Tapit because they really seem to come out on top. They have that ability combined with soundness and ability to carry at a distance.”
Spinoff galloped once around. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, “He ran well in the Louisiana Derby. And, if you look back on that race, with Country House and War of Will being in there, it was a legitimate prep race. The horse has trained really well. We always thought there was potential there. We could see the Thursday before the Derby when it was sloppy with the way he galloped over the track, he didn’t love it. (Jockey) Manny Franco said he didn’t handle it. So, you draw a line through it and hope he runs to the way he’s been training. He’s still a lightly raced horse so there’s plenty of room for improvement.”
Sir Winston galloped with stablemate War of Will. Trainer Mark Casse said, “Sir Winston is a sleeper. It would not shock me at all if he’s right there at the finish, especially if they give him a little pace. One he loves Belmont. Two, he is going to thrive at a mile and a half. There are a lot of people overlooking him, but better to do the interviews after then before.”
Intrepid Heart galloped on Wednesday. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, “I think Intrepid Heart is clearly bred for this race. He’s by Tapit, who’s had a lot of success in the race. He’s out of a Touch Gold mare. Touch Gold won the Belmont. He’s a half to Commissioner (second in the 2014 Belmont). If you look at his pedigree, it’s AP Indy and Seattle Slew. There’s a lot of Belmont history supporting his pedigree. And, out of the three Triple Crown races, I think pedigree plays the biggest role in this one.”
War of Will galloped once around under exercise rider Kim Carroll in company with stablemate Sir Winston. Trainer Mark Casse said, “Kim said he was sharp today. She said he broke off and he could see a couple horses in front of him and she was like ‘No, we’re not going after them.’ She let him ease up to them and then he was happy. Once he got by them, he relaxed. So that’s good. The good news is he has lots of energy. The other good news is she said he shut off when she asked him to. I think those are two important things.”
Tacitus galloped once around. Mark Hernon, Director of Sales at Gainesway Farm (which stands Tapit, sire of 3 horses in the field) said, “Tacitus stands out and he had an unfortunate trip in the Derby. He closed well and he looks good from the videos I saw of him training. He’s out of a champion mare [Close Hatches]. He’ll love the distance. He’s had a break and three works over the Belmont track. I’m pretty excited about Tacitus. He overcame trouble in the Wood Memorial. He was very strong finishing up that day and made up a lot of ground in the latter part of that race. He’s a big, strapping horse and he’s going to be running at a distance that he’ll relish. I expect him to make a big account for himself.”