Belmont contender Stately Victor has two victories in
his nine-race career, a 4½-length score on the turf last summer at Saratoga and
his shocking 4¼-length triumph at odds of 40-1 in the Blue Grass Stakes on
Keeneland’s artificial track.
“He’s run well on dirt, so far, but you’d like to get that
win,” the Ghostzapper colt’s trainer, Michael Maker, said Thursday morning. He
would like to see it come Saturday in the Belmont.
Stately Victor has had his moments on dirt: He broke slowly
in his debut, an off-the-turf seven-furlong race at Saratoga, and closed fast four wide to finish
a good second to the talented Winslow Homer, who took his next two starts
including the Grade 3 Holy Bull.
Stately Victor then opened his 2010 campaign forwardly
placed in a 1 1/8th-mile dirt race at Gulfstream and tired behind
eventual winner Drosselmeyer, who also is running in the Belmont.
After two nondescript turf races, Stately Victor crashed
onto the Triple Crown scene with his win in the Blue Grass. In the Kentucky
Derby, he was 18 lengths back after a quarter-mile and pulled within three but
was unable to overcome all the bumping and trouble of his trip.
“He didn’t disgrace himself in the Derby,” Maker said. “We would have liked a
“He couldn’t look any better right now,” he added, “and he’s
handled his weight after the Derby.
He’s been impressive from Day 1 and still is impressive.
Maker knows exactly how he wants the 1½-mile “Test of the
Champion” to unfold: “I see a fast pace; he’s sitting in a perfect spot on the
outside, six or seven lengths off the pace and widens in the stretch. I’ve had
that dream a lot.”