Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Both horses were very
highly regarded on the Kentucky Derby trail,
with each occupying the top spot on many people’s Derby lists. Both were ridden
by Javier Castellano in prep races
only to have him take a Derby mount on a different horse. Both Union Rags and Revolutionary went off as the betting second choice in the Run for
the Roses and ran good races, Union Rags finished a troubled seventh and
Revolutionary got third. Significantly, the connections of both horses opted to
pass on the Preakness and prepare
for the Belmont Stakes.
Both horses came into the
Belmont Stakes as overlooked horses. Union Rags was in the shadow of I’ll Have
Another’s ill-fated attempt to win the Triple Crown. This year Revolutionary
has been ignored because of the wins by Orb and Shug McGaughey and D. Wayne Lukas’ Oxbow.
Revolutionary comes into
the Belmont with a possible field of 14 that includes four other horses trained
by Todd Pletcher. Pletcher’s filly, Unlimited Budget, and Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice seem to be getting far more attention than WinStar Farm’s
Elliot Walden of WinStar (center), Todd Pletcher, and Asst. Michael McCarthy watch Revolutionary's final Belmont Stakes workout.
Both Revolutionary and
Union Rags went into the Belmont with seven career starts, and just like Union
Rags, Revolutionary is second in career earnings in the Belmont field.
It is not unprecedented for
the winner of the Belmont to have not won either the Derby or the
Preakness. As a matter of fact, you
have to go back to 2005, and Afleet Alex, to find a Belmont winner that had
actually won either the Derby or the Preakness.
Revolutionary has never
finished worse than third in his career. He is getting Castellano back on board
and Javier has never lost with him. The War Pass colt has had five weeks off
since the Derby and has been training smartly. The field seems to have plenty
of horses that like to run early, thus there should be a good pace to set up
Revolutionary’s closing running style.
According to trainer Todd
Pletcher, Revolutionary is “a horse that knows when it is game time.” Once
again this year, I am looking for a talented and overlooked horse to run big in
New York and take down the Test of Champions. Game time is Saturday, June 8th,
at around 6:30pm ET and I will be supporting the WinStar colors.