Both Dogwood Stable’s
Palace Malice and trainer Todd Pletcher were feeling good Sunday morning following the colt’s 3 ¼-length victory over Preakness winner
Oxbow and Kentucky Derby winner
Orb in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont
is a remarkable horse,” said Pletcher, who was celebrating his second
Belmont Stakes victory. “He bounces out of his races really
well. It was a tough race, a demanding race, and he surprises me how
resilient he is. He was feeling very good this morning.”
three different horses having won the Triple Crown races, the
3-year-old division remains a work in progress, said the trainer.
“It’s not coincidental at all that the horse who won the
Belmont ran in the Derby and skipped the Preakness,” said Pletcher, who won the 2007
Belmont with the filly Rags to Riches. “If you want to win the
Belmont, it makes a lot of sense to sit out the middle one. The fresh horse is always going to have an edge, in my opinion.
think [Palace Malice] did more to leave the division wide open,” he
added. “Everyone kind of goes into the rest of the summer and
the fall of the year with similar resumes. I don’t think there’s a
clear-cut leader. Largely it will depend on what happens in the fall of
the year. It will be interesting to see how they stack up when that
Palace Malice, that path likely will run through Saratoga Race Course
and the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 27, followed by
the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on August 24.
the way he's feeling this morning, I don’t know that I am going to be
able to give him much time off,” he said. “He’s just
that kind of horse. He’s a high-energy, good-feeling horse. He’ll go
back to the track four days from now. We’ll probably carry forward to
the Jim Dandy.”
While Pletcher made history by saddling a record five starters in the
Belmont, he does not think that will happen in the Mid-Summer Derby.
a lot of nice races around so I’m sure we’ll find spots for them,” he
said of his large contingent of talented 3-year-olds.
“We’ll try to spread them out as best as we can, but the Travers is
kind of the next big coveted prize. Unlimited Budget [6th] will most likely go to the [Grade 1 TVG] Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20 if she comes out of this well, which so
far she has.”
Overanalyze (7th) and
Midnight Taboo (12th) also returned from their efforts in good order, said Pletcher, as did
Forty Tales, winner of the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards.
“We’d probably look at the [Grade 2]
Amsterdam [July 28] for Forty Tales,” he said.
Pletcher said he did not get to sleep until midnight Saturday, he was
up at 4 a.m. to get back to the barn and work a number of
horses for upcoming races. Among them were Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner
Princess of Sylmar (:49 2/5) and Dreaming of Julia (:48), both of whom are pointing to the Coaching Club American Oaks, and
Verrazano (:47 2/5) who will run next in the Grade 3 Pegasus on June 16 at
Park. Also on the worktab for Pletcher were
Discreet Dancer (:48 3/5), Kauai Katie (:49 2/5) and
Dark Thunder (1:01 3/5).
Oxbow, who won the Preakness three weeks ago, departed
Park early Sunday morning and was expected to arrive at Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s Churchill Downs barn by 6:30 p.m.
“Everyone was tickled with his performance,” said Leigh Bentley, assistant to Lukas. “He ran super and seemed
to come back great. Everyone was quite pleased.”
who ran sixth behind Orb in the Kentucky Derby, was a front-running 1 ¾
length winner at Pimlico two
weeks later. In Saturday’s Belmont, the Awesome Again colt was
forwardly placed through an opening half-mile in 46.66 seconds and three
quarters in 1:10.95, struck the lead with a mile going in 1:36.47 and
held on well to finish 3 ¼ lengths behind Palace Malice.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Kentucky Derby winner
Orb, who finished third in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, came out of the race in good shape but was “a little tired.”
“I went down and looked at him a little later and he was kind of hanging his head,” he said. “He was tired.
He’ll get a good month of rehab time and see where it takes us.”
McGaughey said the five-week run through the Triple Crown series was a “thrill in a lot of ways.”
understand the game well enough to know you can’t win them all,” he
said. “He won five in a row, three
graded stakes, two Grade 1’s – not bad. Hopefully we can get him back
on his feet and get him back going in the right direction. I would love
to run him in the Travers.
was satisfied with the decisions I made,” he added. “I don’t think I
took a horse over there that wasn’t
ready to run. To try to make up that much ground is almost impossible
because it’s so tiring. Those horses shook loose and we couldn’t catch
McGaughey said he shouldn’t have been surprised by Palace Malice’s victory.
“Palace Malice was [a surprise] but he shouldn’t have been because I know how high Todd is on him,” he said.
“I know he’d been working really well. And Niall Brennan, who sold him, said that Todd was really high on him.”
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin reported Sunday morning that
Incognito emerged from his fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes in good shape and will point toward the
Saratoga meet for his next start.
came out great; he’s happy,” McLaughlin said. “He ran well. I don’t
know where we go, but obviously the
Travers would be great to point for, with his pedigree. If he could
ever win that, he’d be a nice stallion. We feel like he belongs with
A gray son of A.P. Indy, Incognito came from mid-pack to finish behind Palace Malice, Preakness winner Oxbow
and Kentucky Derby champion Orb in the 1 ½-mile Belmont, beaten just six lengths.
It was the seventh career start and only second in a stakes for Incognito, who was ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
for the first time, replacing injured regular rider Mike Luzzi.
“He ran a great race, and I thought Irad rode a great race for his first
McLaughlin said. “He galloped out strong again yesterday. I don’t think
he ever gets tired. I don’t think it matters if it’s a mile or a mile
and a half, he just seems to keep going.”
believed the Belmont fit perfectly into a Triple Crown storyline that
included the first Derby
for trainer Shug McGaughey, and a Preakness win for 77-year-old D.
Wayne Lukas, his training mentor, and 50-year-old jockey Gary Stevens,
each a Hall of Famer.
“The winner was impressive. He ran very well. I didn’t see that coming,” McLaughlin said. “All three races
are good stories for American racing, with Wayne and Gary and [Orb’s owners] Stuart Janney and the Phippses and Shug in the
Derby. And yesterday, [Palace Malice owner] Cot [Campbell], he was the original syndicator. It was nice for him to win.”
As disappointed as he was in
Freedom Child’s 13th-place
finish in the Belmont Stakes, trainer
Tom Albertrani was pleased with how well the Malibu Moon colt, who was
the third choice in the betting at 8-1, looked on Sunday morning.
came out good,” Albertrani said. “It was maybe a little too much and a
little too far. I know the track
was a little bit on the faster side, but it’s hard to say. They were
kind of packed up together. The winner was just sitting a length or two
off of us into the first turn and coming out of the turn, so maybe we
just didn’t get the trip.
“I was hoping that he’d show up a little bit better. He looked great. What are you going to do? He had trained
great. I couldn’t have a horse look better for a race.”
by West Point Thoroughbreds, St. Elias Stable and breeder Spendthrift
Farm, Freedom Child sat right
behind fractions of 23.11 and 46.66 set by long shot Frac Daddy but
began to drop back with a half-mile to run and wound up beating only the
Belmont followed an eye-opening 13 ¼-length victory in the Grade 2 Peter Pan for Freedom Child on May 11 at
Park, which came after the chestnut was declared a non-starter in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.
was pretty aggressive,” Albertrani said. “He was rating fine. He was
sitting in a good spot in second
and it looked like he was traveling well. Oxbow came up alongside him
and [jockey] Luis [Saez] said he kept pushing him along and he never had
a chance to just make him relax. Maybe he just used up a lot of
Freedom Child will now be pointed toward the Saratoga Race Course meet and 3-year-old races like the Grade
2 Jim Dandy at 1 1/8 miles and the Grade 1 Travers at 1 ¼ miles.
“We’ll just go shorter,” Albertrani said. “We’ll look at
the Jim Dandy or something like that. There’s the Travers. It depends
on how he comes back. We’ve got options. Everything depends on how he
bounces back. If he comes back like he did
out of the Wood and runs another [race like the] Peter Pan, we’ll play
it by ear.”
Todd Pletcher, Shug McGaughey and Kiaran McLaughlin were among those
who had high praise for NYRA
vice-president of facilities and racing surfaces Glen Kozak, whose crew
had the main track in tip-top shape Saturday after being pounded with
as much as five inches of rain Friday into Saturday morning.
“Glen did an outstanding job of maintaining the track,” said Pletcher, who upset the
Belmont with 13-1
Palace Malice. “It wasn’t over-harrowed … those guys did a remarkable job. It was a good, safe track after [all that] rain.”
Added McGaughey, whose Kentucky Derby-winning Orb finished third: “The track was in fabulous condition, and
that’s a tribute to Glen Kozak.”
Muddy for the first five races on Saturday’s card, the track was upgraded to “good” for the sixth race and
“fast” by the time the ninth race went off at 4:42 p.m.
Belmont, run as race 11 on the 13-race card, went off at 6:38 p.m.
“I think the NYRA track crew, and Glen Kozak deserve a lot of credit,” said McLaughlin, whose Incognito finished
fourth in the Belmont. “They did a great job to get the track to be fast. It looked great.”
Andrea, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, smashed rainfall totals across the Northeast.
The 4.16 inches that fell on New York City's
Central Park was more than double the previous record for the date, set in 1918.