The Belmont Stakes has been known as the test of champions
since its inception in 1867.
The grueling mile and a half distance has been the
kryptonite to many so called “Super Horses” and triple crown hopefuls. We’re a mere 24 hours away from the Belmont and the rigors
of the triple crown have already claimed one casualty. The scratch of I’ll Have
Another is a major disappointment to everyone involved with the horse and the
sport. It’s a tough break for all of his adoring fans, but the race must go on
and there are still talented colts in this field.
Looking into a horse’s pedigree can give us an indication on
how he or she will handle the brutal 12 furlongs of the Belmont. This year’s
edition of Belmont has several horses that have the distance-breeding to stay
at this long trip.
Let’s take a look into the main contenders pedigree’s and
see if they have what it takes to handle the grueling Belmont.
Dullahan is by Even The Score out of Mining My Own by Smart
Strike. Dullahan’s sire, Even The Score was an extremely talented and versatile
race horse, he won grade II Californian stakes at the 9 furlong distance and
the grade II Mervyn LeRoy stakes at the 8.5 furlong distance. The un-raced Smart Strike mare, Mining My
Own has been a big success in the breeding shed, she produced the 2009 Kentucky
Derby winner Mine That Bird, this makes Dullahan a half to “The Bird.”
Paynter is by Awesome Again out of the Cees Tizzy mare,
Tizso. Awesome Again was just that,
simply AWESOME. Awesome Again won the
grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic, the grade I Whitney, and the grade II Stephen
Foster. Awesome Again is the sire of the
champion filly, Ginger Punch. Ginger Punch won the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
defeating Hysterical Lady, Ginger Punch also won the grade I Personal Ensign at
the 10 furlong distance. Paynter’s dam, Tizso was winless in two starts, but
she’s been productive in the breeding shed. Tizso is the dam of Tiz West. Tiz
West won the La Puente Stakes at 8 furlongs and the grade III Cinema handicap at 9 furlongs.
Union Rags is by Dixie Union out of the Gone West mare,
Tempo. Dixie Union was a dynamite talent. As a juvenile he won the grade II
Norfolk, the grade III Best Pal, and the grade III Hollywood Juvenile
Championship. As a 3 year old Dixie Union won the grade I Haskell and the grade
I Malibu Stakes. Dixie Union never stretched his talent past 9 furlongs. Tempo only raced 3 times in her career
winning twice. Tempo has been useful in the breeding shed, she’s had 6 winners. But, most of her offspring prefers
sprinting. Gone West was very talented, he boast wins in the grade I Dwyer ,
the grade II Gotham , and the grade II Withers. Gone West exceeding himself as
a sire, He’s the sire of the grade I Santa Anita Derby winner Came Home, Came
home also won the grade I Pacific Classic at the 10 furlong distance. Gone
West also sired Commendable. Commendable won the Belmont stakes proving Gone
West can produce distance horses.
Atigun is the son of Istan out of the Dynaformer mare,
Rimini Road. Istan was a consistent horse. He won 9 races out of 21 starts. His crowning
achievement was in the grade III Turfway Fall Championship Stakes. Istan is a young up-coming sire. He’s
the sire of Mr.Bowling. Mr.Bowling won
the Dover stakes at Delaware Park and finished 3rd in the Iroquois
stakes at Churchill Downs. Rimini Road finished
3rd in her only start. Atigun
is Rimini Road’s top performer, but she has produced Rimini Rebel who won a
Maiden Special Weight at Hawthorne Race Track at the 8.5 furlong Distance.
Atiguns Dam-sire, Dynaformer was a good race horse, but he’s been an incredible
sire. He’s the sire of the great, late, Barbaro. Barbaro won the Derby before
being injured in the Preakness. Dynaformer is also the sire of Dynaforce who
won the grade I Flower Bowl Handicap at 10 furlongs and the grade I Beverly D
at 9.5 furlongs.
Optimizer is the son of English Channel out of the A.P. Indy
mare, Indy Pick. English Channel was a champion who relished the longer distances. English Channel captured the
grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf a 12 furlongs and the grade I United Nations (Twice)
at 11 furlongs. English Channel is a young sire who’s only had a few crops,
Optimizer his is top earner. Indy Pick won twice in 6 starts, Otimizer is her
best earner. Optimizer’s Dam-sire is the
great A.P. Indy. A.P. Indy himself won the Belmont stakes and the grade I
Breeders’ Cup Classic. A son of the triple crown winner, Seattle Slew, A.P. is a legendary sire who’s offspring include
Aptitude, Bernardini, Golden Missile, Master Command, Mineshaft, Music Not,
Rags to Riches, Stephen Got Even, and Suave.
Street Life is the son of Street Sense out of the Grindstone
mare, Stone hope. Street Sense was a “Phenom.”
He is the only horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky
Derby. Street Sense is also a very young sire, he is the sire of the former Derby hopeful,
Castaway. Castaway won the grade III Southwest stakes at Oaklawn Park. Stone Hope only won a single race in 11
starts, she’s had one other runner to date.
Street Life’s dam-sire is Grindstone. The lightly raced Grindstone won
the Kentucky Derby and the Louisiana Derby.
Grindstone has been useful in the breeding shed and is best known for
being the sire of Belmont winner Birdstone.
With the defection of I’ll Have Another, Dullahan should be
the post time favorite. Dullahan has been nothing short of spectacular in preparation
for the Belmont. He was only a few
lengths behind the Derby and Preakness winner.
The jockey switch from Kent Desmormeaux to Javier Castellano should be
of no concern. Dullahan’s 4 furlong work
in 45.97 under Castellano shows how good they can work together and how ready
Union Rags loves Belmont Park and is primed for a good
performance. Johnny V. will be aboard
for the first time. Look for Johnny to put “Rags in the race early. He looks to sit a
dream trip behind Paynter and Unstoppable U, but he has to show he can handle
Paynter is coming in off of an impressive front running
score in an allowance race at Pimlico. His breeding suggest that he should
relish the 12 furlong distance. If his competition falls asleep Paynter could
be long gone by the time they open their eyes.
I will be Keying #5 Dullahan over #3 Union Rags, #9 Paynter
and #10 Optimizer in tri’s and exactas. Let’s Hope for a big score and a GREAT