Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Kentucky Derby winner Orb was maintaining good form the morning after the colt breezed four furlongs, his final major work prior to Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes.
“He came out of his work good, ate up good, walked this morning, seems to be fine,” said McGaughey, who trains the son of Malibu Moon for Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable.
As many as 15 horses could end up contesting the 2013 Belmont Stakes, which could force Orb, a stretch-runner, and jockey Joel Rosario to thread their way through traffic.
“[The large field is] more concerning than anything else because not all of them in there belong, but they have as much right to run as anybody else, so I do think the race will be pretty spread out,” said McGaughey. “He ran with 18 in the Derby.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher reported this morning that all five of his Belmont Stakes hopefuls were “A-OK” following their breezes on Sunday, and that a decision on race status for the filly Unlimited Budget and the lightly raced Midnight Taboo was still pending.
“I have not yet spoken with [owner] Mike Repole, and he will make the final decision,” said Pletcher, who definitely will saddle WinStar Farm’sRevolutionary, Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice, and Repole’s Overanalyze in the 1 ½-mile race.
Incognito, fifth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, also emerged from his Sunday workout in good shape, according to Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Trainer Dominick Schettino said on Monday he and owners Anthony and MaryEllen Bonomo will make a final decision on Always in a Tiz’s status for the Belmont by tomorrow afternoon. Schettino and the Bonomos will choose either the Belmont Stakes or the $150,000 Easy Goer on Saturday’s undercard for Always in a Tiz, most recently ninth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 6.D. Wayne Lukas’ Belmont Stakes contenders Oxbow and Will Take Charge remain scheduled to arrive at Belmont Park via van Monday evening.