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Several Derby Runners Look to Belmont

Winning Kentucky Derby trainer Todd Pletcher, whose Super Saver is headed to Baltimore for the second leg of the Triple Crown, did not rule out the 142nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 5, as the next start for the filly Devil May Care, who was 10th in the 20-horse Derby field.

 

"We're not sure yet," said Pletcher, who saddled his first Classic winner in the 2007 Belmont Stakes with Rags to Riches, the first filly in 102 years to win the race. "Anything is possible."

 

Stately Victor, the winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass, could go directly to the 1 ½ mile Belmont off his eighth-place finish in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, according to his trainer.

 

"That's the plan now," said Mike Maker Sunday morning at Churchill Downs. "He would stay [in Kentucky] and then possibly go to the Belmont the week of the race."

 

Owned by Tom and Jack Conway, Stately Victor bumped early with Lookin at Lucky, and then closed from 17th under Alan Garcia to move into striking position at the top of the stretch and wound up beaten less than nine lengths.

 

Maker has not had a starter in the Belmont Stakes, while jockey Garcia won the 2008 edition aboard Da' Tara in his first try.

 

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito said Sunday morning he would not mind training Derby runner-up Ice Box up to the June 5 Belmont should his connections elect to skip the May 15 Preakness. The winner of the Grade 1 Florida Derby closed dramatically through the stretch after a tumultuous trip to finish second, beaten 2 ½ lengths.

 

Zito said Sunday morning at Churchill Downs that he would not make a decision on the second leg of racing's Triple Crown until next week.

 

In 2004, Zito trained Birdstone, the first of his two Belmont winners, to victory off an eighth-place Derby finish behind Smarty Jones, who went on to win the Preakness. Zito, who has had 22 Belmont starters, won his second Belmont in 2008 with Da' Tara, who also foiled a Triple Crown bid, this one by Big Brown.

 

Lezcano has had one mount in the Belmont, finishing 10th last year aboard the Zito-trained Miner's Escape.

 

Horses who skipped the Derby and are eyeing the Belmont include a pair trained by Tim Ice, who won last year's Belmont Stakes with eventual 3-year-old champion Summer Bird. Ice is pointing John Ed Anthony's New Madrid, most recently sixth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, and Uptowncharlybrown, one of 11 Fantasy Lane Stable horses set to join Ice's Belmont Park barn this week, to the Belmont.

 

Additionally, Grade 3 Sham winner Alphie's Bet was declared a likely candidate for the Belmont by his co-owner, Peter Johnson, after the colt's victory in the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 24.

 

 

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