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Belmont Stakes Notes: Final Preparations

Belmont Stakes 2010 logo
Make Music for Me came out of Monday’s work over the training track in fine form, reported trainer Alexis Barba, and will jog Wednesday morning and school in the gate and in the paddock both Thursday and Friday.


."He was happy this morning, eating grass,” said the trainer of the Bernstein colt, owned by Ellen and Peter Johnson. “He’s so funny when he's eating grass; he doesn't want to leave it. It's almost like you have to get a whip and smooch him back into the barn. He's fun, though; it's getting to be like a game.”


Later Tuesday morning, Barba was part of a photo opportunity at the Empire State Building, which Friday night will be lit in the Belmont Park colors of green-and-white to mark the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes. 


"What a treat!” she said. “It was fun to see the view. I'd been up before, but it was at night, and that’s a lot different."


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Owner Ike Thrash was full of confidence heading into the Preakness Stakes with his stretching-out sprinter Hurricane Ike, until the colt came down with a minor left hind leg injury. With his late-entered Belmont runner, Dave in Dixie, Thrash said, “This time, I have no idea.”


What Thrash does know, however, is that he wants plenty of pace up front for his son of Dixie Union, trained in California by John Sadler. In the best effort of his career, the Grade 2 Robert Lewis at Santa Anita, Dave in Dixie closed into sharp fractions to finish second behind winner Caracortado. In his subsequent two starts, Dave in Dixie made no impact following a half-mile in 48 2/5 seconds set by eventual winner Sidney's Candy in the Grade 2 San Felipe and then was beaten badly when American Lion got away with a half in 49 1/5 on his way to a gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby.


“I hope someone goes 47, 48,” Thrash said. “We'll be sitting back there drinking a beer. Game on Dude has got good speed and Star Spangled will have to show speed. Every time there's a Triple Crown race and people say there's no pace, someone always loses their mind and goes out there.”

*          *          *

Exercise rider Tammy Fox gave a thumbs-up and reported that Preakness runner-up First Dude had a “great” 1 ½-mile gallop over the main track at Belmont Park shortly after the break.


“He’s felt the same ever since I’ve been getting on him,” said Fox of First Dude, who will continue to gallop up to Saturday’s race.


“He’ll probably stand in the gate on Friday, and school in the paddock, but I don’t know what time yet,” said trainer Dale Romans of the massive colt, who carries the colors of owner/breeder Donald R. Dizney.


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Fantasy Lane Stable’s Belmont contender Uptowncharlybrown took to the track earlier than usual Tuesday to beat the heat.


“When it’s hot, I like to get them out early, so he went to the track at 6:10 and galloped a mile and three-eighths or so,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.  “He’ll gallop the next three days, or jog if it rains, but he’s there now, he’s ready.”


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Spangled Star could have one more official workout on Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, but a decision won’t be made until sometime tomorrow.


“He’s just been galloping every morning,” said owner Larry Roman.


Trained by Rick Dutrow, Jr., Star Spangled has been breezing every six days, and his most recent drill was a 1:01 2/5 move at Aqueduct last Thursday.


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Drosselmeyer, who has been wowing onlookers with his glistening copper coat, exited Monday morning’s bullet work of 59.65 in “great” shape, said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.


“He’s wonderful,” said Mott of the WinStar colt. “And he’s still shiny.”


The Distorted Humor colt, who worked with bar shoes on his front feet, will be reshod with regular shoes on the morning of the race, said Mott, and will school in the paddock either Wednesday or Thursday.

*          *          *


Trainer Mike Maker said his Blue Grass winner, Stately Victor, might appear on paper to be a one-run closer but is actually more of a galloper who needs to maintain a steady stride to be most effective.


"He doesn't have any gate speed," Maker said. "You kind of let him place himself and then let him grind it out, get in a nice rhythm and hopefully it's not interrupted. It's tough to get his momentum back."


Maker said Stately Victor, owned by Jack and Thomas Conway, walked after Monday’s half-mile work in 49.93 in good order, and will gallop in the mornings for the remainder of the week and possibly school in the paddock.





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