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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

2011 Belmont Stakes Long Shot? I Like Santiva

Santiva wins 2010 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
Do I really like a horse as a possible winner of a million dollar race who has run 9th and 6th in his last two starts? If we are talking about Santiva in next week's Belmont Stakes, then my answer is absolutely.
The 2011 Belmont will be only the fourth start of the year for the grade 2 winner. Santiva began the season with a strong effort when 2nd to Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans. After missing a chance to come back in the Louisiana Derby, he was given one more opportunity to be ready for the Kentucky Derby, but an absolute nightmare trip in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland left him less prepared for the run for the roses than most of the field. Despite this, Santiva ran an encouraging race at Churchill Downs.

"He got a little bit tired, perhaps, in the Derby. He's a horse that's done well since then and we're happy enough with the way he ran on Derby Day," said trainer Eddie Kenneally.
Santiva demonstrated his readiness for the challenge by breezing strongly at Churchill Downs yesterday, going five furlongs in 1:01 with assistant trainer Brendan Walsh up. The son of Giant's Causeway did the work in company with stablemate Manx Miss with both horses finishing in the same time. It was the 6th fastest of 27 works at the distance. His last major work before the final leg of the Triple Crown seemed to please his conditioner.
"I'm very happy with him," Kenneally said. "He hasn't missed a beat since the Derby. He's been on schedule and has had a good four weeks, and hopefully he'll have another good week until we get to the Belmont.



Like Kenneally, I believe Santiva is a good candidate to be ready for the demanding test of the Belmont Stakes. At 1 ½ miles. it is a distance that none of the field have ever attempted, and likely never will again.

"The thing about it is you don't know who is going to really be a mile-and-a-half horse until you try, so you don't know about those horses either," Kenneally said. "Our horse is a horse that likes to run, he doesn't quit and he keeps grinding it out. He's a tough little horse and he keeps fighting. He's tactical and he doesn't have to be coming from way back."

The tough part certainly doesn't hurt, but the tactical quality is something I like for the Belmont. He rallied well in the Kentucky Derby after coming from pretty far back, but he does not need to be that far off the pace. Kenneally agrees.

"He likes to run in the middle of the pack, relatively close to the leader in the first tier of runners, so I think his running style would be effective in a race like the Belmont. I don't think the Belmont favors closers. The Belmont traditionally, for the most part, favors horses that like to lay up close to the pace -- not on the lead, necessarily, but close to the pace."

He is well bred, out of one the best sires in the world, and fresher than many of his competitors, promising plenty of room for improvement. Much the way Drosselmeyer did in winning the Belmont last year, Santiva proved that once he gets near the lead, he can grind out a hard earned victory. He did that in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Proving his class, that graded stakes victory was achieved while still a maiden.

He will need to run his best race of the year to win next week, but at healthy double digit odds, Animal Kingdom, Nehro, Master of Hounds, and Shackleford will be the ones they are betting, Santiva deserves a long look, because when it is all said and done, he might be the one you are looking at in the winner's circle.



 

 

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Older Comments about 2011 Belmont Stakes Long Shot? I Like Santiva...

I'm kind of the mentality that the connections will take a very long time to win a huge race, particularly with a younger horse who normally are more fragile. Santiva won his biggest race at Churchill downs, and Santiva has been training since latter April at Churchill downs. So I'm inclined to believe the connections are pointing to a Breeders cup race with him. Thats why Brillant Speed has caought my attention. Hes been training at Belmont ever since the Kentucky derby
  • MichaelPavelick · Good luck to Brilliant Speed. Hes probably been saved for this mile & 1/2 grass event ever since going a mile & 1/2 in the Belmont. Give him some rest, pick up a easy grade 3 at Saratoga on the grass. Then have him fresh to go a arduous mile & 1/2 in the Breeders Cup in early November. Be interesting to see how this 3 yr. old does against older runners. · 1082 days ago
I'm not much on pedigree, for a sire can produce a whole "slew" of offspring, and only a few master the game. Nevertheless, the rest of the "crop" gets undue attention because of their sire. My thoughts on Brilliant Speed are limited. Only has one dirt race to show for, in which he finished 7th in the Derby. Was closing late, but, so were others. His BG Stakes race, he came from last-to-first, as did Derby Kitten the next week in the Lexington Stakes. Seems that horses running @ Keeneland tend to do this. Joel Rosario is a synthetic rider from California, so, I'm not sure if he would be the type of jock to be able to acclimate to this track/surface, if he hasn't had any previous experience. Don't remember who was on Rags To Riches. Maybe that was him??? Anyhow, I've heard a few pundits already state that they were jumping on Brilliant Speed's wagon. Maybe you're on to something????
ruffian..that's a nice story and I remember Neil Howard and his horse Summer Squall. He's trained some good ones for Farish. With that being said, my only concern with Prime Cut is his pedigree. It seemed to me that he wasn't really moving forward or gaining in the Peter Pan and his bloodline suggests less than 12 furlongs. I'll definitely take note though and look further into him. Got any thoughts on Brilliant Speed?
Thanks for the acknowledgement jinlie. Based on my previous post, one longshot that I'm looking at is Prime Cut. He has the services of Edgar Prado, who won this race in 2004 aboard Birdstone. The trainer, Neil Howard, I met once at Saratoga. He's a real nice guy. Made me feel like I was the VIP, and not him. So, for a sentimental pick, I want Neil Howard to disprove the line, "Nice guys finish last"(Ha!!!!!). A little note on Howard. Up until this year, he had been training for a private stable, no less that Lane's End Farms(W.S. Farish). Mr. Farish gave him the idea to go with a public stable. He still trains for Lane's End, but he has also acquired a couple of clients' stables who happen to be friends with Farish. Case in note, notice that he won the Derby Trial with Machen. Just a little FYI to watch out for him in the future.
ruffian..thanks for that insight on the oval. It makes sense. Besides the obvious exotics with AK and Nehro, I'm thinking Brilliant Speed might have an outside shot since his pedigree suggests the distance won't be a problem and he did, albeit "weak" field, win the Bluegrass on synthetic and his run in KY wasn't bad at all. Any thoughts from everyone?
Re: Shackleford: Although I went against him in the Ky Derby, I was impressed with his run in the Fla Derby, where he narrowly lost to Derby favorite Dialed In. My purpose for going against him, was that he was 0-for-the-year. He proved me wrong. The one thing about the Belmont, is that the turns are about a 1/4 of a mile. This would be very taxing on the closing horses. I believe the way Shackleford ran the Fla Derby, that he should stay for most of the duration of the race, for he would be hugging that rail around that HUGE turn. He will be in my exotics, but, my early pick will be Nehro. As for longshots, I will be more inclined to bet jockeys that are acclimated to this huge oval. If they're sitting on a "bomb", then they're in the exotics.
I stuck with "Shack" during the KY Derby, Preakness and now Belmont. Just like everyone, distance and pace will be important but like I said before, I like his cruising speed and he has improved vastly every race this year, just look at his beyers in the last four. I'm trying to see if there is a live longshot but that opens up another can of worms...besides AK, Nehro, and Shackleford, the rest of the field is really a toss up for me.
BrianZipse: All three of the horses you mentioned have to be given consideration as their bred for distance as well as speed.I personally have AK on top but I'm giving Shackleford another serious look after watching the replay from different angles his Preakness was better than I first thought.
An extremely competitive field this year, it's going to be a tough call, but as far as Long Shots go, I like Ruler On Ice. If you liked how Astrology finished in the Preakness, take a look at this guy. Beyer's don't look great but he will get the distance and he runs like a euro stayer, patient, consistent and with lots left in the tank. I like him to fatten up the exotics I will play.
HOPE THIS LONG SHOT HITS FIRST
I've got him also !!!!!
Brilliant Speed has a chance, as Master of Hounds, him, and, Santiva all finished well, and together in the Derby. I see a little more tactical speed and room for improvement for Santiva though.
AK and Brilliant Speed will be in my mix.If you watch the KD replay you'll notice that Brilliant Speed ran an excellent race and I would look for better this time.As for AK he probably is the best horse in the race as he can run good no matter how the race shapes up at 1 1/2 mile
I am with you all the way, Brian. My top two long shots in the Derby were Animal Kingdom and Santiva. For the Belmont, Santiva and Prime Cut top my bomber list with Brilliant Speed offering value as well
Well, if you land on Santiva ... don't bet too much! ;-)
I don't like Shackleford, but I said that for the Preakness. I'm not convinced Nehro wants to win. I'm looking for a new winner.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.