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Santiva, Prime Cut Arrive at Belmont

2011 Belmont Stakes logo.
After sharing a flight from Kentucky to New York, Belmont Stakes contenders Santiva and Prime Cut reached Belmont Park in separate vans shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.


Grade 2 winner Santiva, a closing fifth in the Kentucky Derby in his most recent start, was accompanied on the trip from Churchill Downs by Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally.


“The flight went great,” Walsh said. “As you can see, he’s taking it really well, as usual. He’s a pretty laid-back horse. It was five hours, door-to-door, to get here, and he hardly knows he’s out of Churchill other than a change of colors. He’s better off just keeping into his usual routine.”


Walsh said the Giant’s Causeway colt will get his first look at the main track with a gallop around 6:30 a.m.Wednesday morning. Santiva is stabled in trainer Frank Alexander’s Barn 16.


“We’re really looking forward to the race,” Walsh said. “We think he’s got a good shot. He ran well in the Derby, and he’s entitled to be here. We’ll take a shot and see how it goes.”


Prime Cut, trained by Neil Howard for Donald A. Adam, stepped off the van at 4:12 p.m. and into his temporary home with trainer Tom Bush in Barn 27. In his last start, the bay son of Bernstein was third, beaten 4 ½ lengths, in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont on May 14.


“It was very smooth. The flight was quick, right under two hours,” said Howard’s assistant, Rick Giannini. “We came here for the Peter Pan three weeks ago and finished third. We’re in the same stall; hopefully, he gets to win this time. We’re hoping he runs his race. He’s training good. He breezed well yesterday, so we’re ready to go.”


Santiva and Prime Cut join Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Preakness winner Shackleford, Brilliant Speed, Harlan’s Hello, Isn’t He Perfect, Mucho Macho Man, Nehro and Stay Thirsty as Belmont contenders on the grounds. Master of Hounds arrived from Ireland earlier on Tuesday and will remain in quarantine at Aqueduct Racetrack until Thursday.  Monzon, currently in Maryland, and Ruler On Ice, based in New Jersey, are expected to arrive on race day.


Also arriving on the flight was Turbulent Descent, who is aiming for her third career Grade 1 victory in the $300,000 TVG Acorn for 3-year-old fillies going one mile. She has won five of six lifetime starts, including two in a row, her only loss coming to Zazu in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita on February 5 in her seasonal debut.


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