Belmont Stakes 2011 Post Draw Quotes

2011 Belmont Stakes logo.
Following are quotes from the connections of the 12 horses entered for Saturday’s 143rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park:


T.J. Comerford, assistant to trainer Aidan O’Brien, of Master of Hounds (No. 1, 10-1): “He went straight home [to Ireland] the next morning [following the Kentucky Derby]. He’s been training very, very well since then. He’d never actually run on the dirt before he cantered around on the dirt at Churchill Downs. After the race, Garrett Gomez said he’d like to ride him again, that he’s a very nice horse. He’ll definitely put up a good show here. The mile and a half will hit him on the head. The reason we’re coming here is he really ran well in the Kentucky Derby.”


Mike Repole, owner of Stay Thirsty (No. 2, 20-1): “In a 1 ½-mile race, I don’t really think post position matters all that much. Nobody is going to lose a 1 ½-mile race because of post position. I do think Shackleford will have to work a little bit harder to get to the lead because of the 12 post. But you usually don’t get in too much trouble in a 1 ½-mile race. In this race, you don’t want to be the favorite. This race, you don’t want to be the favorite the way this year is going. Shackleford pays $27, Animal Kingdom pays $43 … so I’ll take my 20-1 odds and feel like I’m the favorite. Stay Thirsty obviously likes New York, he’s got two wins and two seconds, so I think he’s got a home track advantage.”


Kelly Breen, trainer, Ruler On Ice (No. 3, 20-1) (by phone): “It’s a mile-and-a-half-race, so I think we’ll be able to get where we want to get and leave it in [jockey] Jose Valdivia’s hands. I’m hoping there’s enough time for him to be wherever he wants to be. [Ruler On Ice] had an unbelievable workout last week, and now it’s just a matter of maintenance to get him to the race.”


Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally, of Santiva (No. 4, 15-1): “We’re happy enough with it. I guess the general view here is that the draw doesn’t have a huge bearing. Where he is, he’s a horse that likes to just sit off the pace, and I think from there he can slide in and get nice and tight and be a horse or two off the rail. Hopefully there will be two or three in front of him; that would be ideal. He’ll naturally take himself along there anyway, so that’s a good post. It’s the Belmont; I can’t see them crawling. It’s a big race. It doesn’t generally turn into a crawl in races like that.”


Tom Albertrani, trainer, Brilliant Speed (No. 5, 15-1): “We were pleased with his performance in the Kentucky Derby. He got beat five lengths and was finishing up well. He’s fresh, and he runs well fresh. We’re enthusiastic about bringing him here for a 1 ½ mile race, considering his pedigree, and we thought we’d give it a shot with him on the dirt. There’s always a question how he’ll handle the surface, but I’m pretty optimistic.”


Brad Weisbord, Zayat Stables racing manager, Nehro (No. 6, 4-1): “Mr. [Ahmed] Zayat and his family are very pleased to be running in the Belmont Stakes. New York is like their hometown and to be here is just a dream. We’ve got three seconds in the last three Derbies, being Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky, and we hope to shed the bridesmaid’s tag and get the win. Nehro is very versatile, so he really can be anywhere. In Louisiana he was very close; in the Arkansas Derby he was far back. In the Kentucky Derby he was a little closer, but I believe that was because of the slower pace. He’s very versatile. We’re going to leave that up to the jock. Corey Nakatani rode him very well, so we’ll leave it up to those guys.”


Ignacio Correas, trainer, Monzon (No. 7, 30-1) (by phone): “The post position is good. The odds are 30-1? It's OK. I think, essentially, the odds are an opinion supported by the public sometimes. Or not. In my case, we’re going to be off the pace. Our plan is to stick on the rail and wait. Everyone wants to go to the first turn and get position, but you have plenty of time to win it or lose it. It's a mile and a half. The horse is doing well and he's going to run a very nice race.”


Ricky Giannini, assistant to trainer Neil Howard, of Prime Cut (No. 8, 15-1): “When you look at the race, there isn’t a lot of speed in there except Shackleford; we would possibly be sitting second. I don’t see that aggressive a pace where he’s going to get tired and not have anything left at the end. We opted for the [May 14] Peter Pan instead of the Preakness in anticipation of the Belmont. We think he’s more suited to the two turns than a one-turn, 1 1/8 mile race. We saw Drosselmeyer had some success in the Peter Pan last year and won the Belmont.”


H. Graham Motion, trainer, Animal Kingdom (No. 9, 2-1): “I think he's going to have to be close in a 1 ½-mile race ... I don't think it's going to take him out of his game.  I would have preferred 6 or 7. I would not have wanted to be in the 1 or the 12. The 12 is right near the grandstand. I’m happy [Shackleford] is in the 12. It will make him work a little bit. It's going to be a tactical race, no doubt about it. I think these two horses coming down the stretch would be the ultimate. It would validate the other two races and start a rivalry. It's great for this race. It's a test of champions.”


Dean Reeves, owner, Mucho Macho Man (No. 10, 10-1): “We think we have the best horse in the country. We just need to prove it, and hope Saturday we’ll do that.”


Doodnauth Shivmangal, trainer, Isn’t He Perfect (No. 11, 30-1): “Post 11 is a good draw. I’d prefer a little more inside, but it’s an excellent post for him. I think it will be a fine position for him. He’ll be outside, away from trouble and close to the pace.”


Dale Romans, trainer, Shackleford (No. 12, 9-2): “I think in a 1 ½ mile race like the Belmont, the post position isn’t that important. With post position 12, he’ll be the last one in and the first one out. Hopefully, he’ll be able to clear the field. He’s fast enough that he’ll be able to break and clear everyone anyway. The biggest part of racing is the Triple Crown. The Belmont is a grueling test, and you have to have a great horse to do it. Shackleford has been training super. Without a Triple Crown on the line, this is going to be one of the most exciting Belmonts I can remember.”



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Older Comments about Belmont Stakes 2011 Post Draw Quotes...

if pace is fast how in tthe hell you think shakefold will make this long trip with 2 hard races...maste of hounds and nehro are the ones fresh..i know master travel a lot but was just 12 hours trip..some times take all day..he already hit the track for streach and look good
Speed on the front in the Belmont is a tough task. I love Shackelford, and hope he can navigate the Belmont distance. The horse has surprised me from the derby on. Hope he is at least in the money.

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