from quarantine at Aqueduct Racetrack, Mrs. John Magnier’s Master of Hounds took
a van ride to Belmont
Park a little after 6
a.m., and arrived full of himself at his temporary home in trainer John Hertler’s
J. Comerford, assistant to trainer Aidan O’Brien, sent the world-traveling
Belmont Stakes contender out for a steady one-mile canter, which gave the colt
his first feel for the Belmont
Park main track. With
exercise rider Pat Lillis aboard, Master of Hounds galloped easily around,
staying close to the rail, with Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap entrant Viscount
Nelson slightly behind him, well out in the center of the track.
got a bit wound up,” Comerford said of Master of Hounds’ arrival at Belmont.
“Mostly, he was too fresh. All we could do there [in quarantine] was walk in
the heat, Master of Hounds appeared comfortable, according to Comerford.
he was out on the track, he didn’t sweat at all,” the assistant trainer said.
“My lad sweated more than him.”
in his stall afterward, Master of Hounds kept his ears pricked and showed a
strong interest in the activity around him, letting out several loud whinnies.
Kentucky-bred by Kingmambo out of a Sadler’s Wells mare, Master of Hounds has
the pedigree to excel at the Belmont’s
1 ½-mile distance. He was selected at a very early age by Coolmore/Ballydoyle
for international competition.
thought he would be well-suited to the American style of racing, but you can
never be sure how they will handle the dirt until they try it,” said Coolmore
spokesman Richard Henry. “He has a great temperament and has coped extremely
well with all the traveling.”
travel has included a trip to Churchill Downs last fall for a sixth-place
finish in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, a long journey to Dubai
for a nose defeat in the Grade 2 UAE Derby in March, and then a closing
fifth-place finish May 7 in the Kentucky Derby.
said jockey Garrett Gomez was very excited about the horse after the Kentucky
Derby and figured he would have finished closer than 5 ½ lengths back had there
been more distance to run beyond the mile and a quarter.
Churchill, it was back to Ireland
to train over the woodchip training track at Ballydoyle for the Belmont,
said Master of Hounds would gallop on the main track at 6:30 a.m., Friday
morning. “That’s the end of it,” he said of the colt’s preparation. “There will
be no problem.”
Nelson, a 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway, was selected to join Master of
Hounds at Belmont
this weekend because “we think he should be suited by the conditions and the
style of American racing,” Henry said.
year, the colt raced in four straight Group 1 races in Europe, his best finish
a third, just a length behind the older, top-class Twice Over in the Group 1
Eclipse Stakes at Sandown
his second start this year as a 4-year-old, Viscount Nelson tracked the leaders
and took over in the final furlong to win a listed stakes race by 3 ½ lengths.
Both that victory and the placing against Twice Over came at the 1 ¼-mile Manhattan
should appreciate firm going,” Henry said. “We know it’s going to be a hot
contest but are hopeful that our horse will acquit himself well. We have always
thought very highly of him, and as he’s by Giant’s
Causeway we were always hopeful that he would improve again this