Even though he will have had only 10 days between races, Sole Volante still has the energy to come right back and do it again. So yes, his trainer said, he will indeed race Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.
“The horse is really well, he came up with a good level of energy, and he will be in a plane (Tuesday) morning to fly to beautiful Belmont Park,” Patrick Biancone said by telephone Monday from Florida, where he put the 3-year-old gelding through a final gallop at Palm Meadows. “We’re very happy.”
After the gallop, Biancone spoke Monday morning with lead owner Dean Reeves to confirm the decision to enter Sole Volante into the first leg of this year’s makeshift Triple Crown.
“In my heart, my decision was made two days ago,” Biancone said. “But I said I would not make it final until today. After a lovely two-minute lick this morning, I said all the lights were green.”
It was just last Wednesday when Sole Volante used his typical, deep-closing style to go from last to first and win by three-quarters of a length in an allowance filled with graded-stakes quality horses. But Biancone had not originally intended to put the Sam F. Davis winner into a race so close to the Belmont.
“I wanted to train him on Wednesday the 3rd,” Biancone said. “But then it rained, and the track came up no good. So I had to change plans.”
Not wanting to send Sole Volante into the Belmont off a three-month break without at least a late breeze, Biancone caught a break from the racing office at Gulfstream Park.
“Fortunately they wrote that allowance last week,” he said. “And I said all right, let’s do it. My other horse Été Indien ran so-so (fourth as a 7-10 favorite). They badly needed the race. One didn’t respond very well. The other one was really good.”
The only question was whether Sole Volante would recover in time to be considered for entry this week. Monday’s mile gallop convinced Biancone that the horse was ready -- and that he was right to get into that race last week.
“I didn’t want to go across the country in a plane, arrive at the Belmont and say he wasn’t fit enough,” Biancone said.
Bettors who have made Florida Derby winner Tiz The Law an odds-on (–135) futures favorite for the Belmont have also shortened Sole Volante to about 4-1 (+430) at Circa Sports in Las Vegas. Much of what many horseplayers may consider a pair of underlays is because the race lost such prospects as Nadal, Charlatan, Wells Bayou, Gouverneur Morris, Shivaree and Ny Traffic.
The draw is Wednesday at noon ET, but Biancone said it really does not matter how it goes.
“With it being a mile-and-an-eighth and that long, long (five-furlong) stretch to the turn, I think the draw is irrelevant,” Biancone said. “It’s not like if you’re at Gulfstream Park, and you draw wide for a mile-and-an-eighth. Then you’re in trouble. For this race the horse’s style doesn’t even matter.”
Although Biancone will not make the trip to New York, his 22-year-old daughter Andie will be there in multiple roles.
“You may want to look this up,” Biancone said. “This may be the first time that the groom, the exercise rider, the assistant trainer and the (minority) owner of the horse are the same person. Because she’s going up there to be the groom and the rider. And she’s already the owner.”
2020 Belmont Stakes (G1)
|Rank||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start||Status|
|Tiz the Law|
|Tap It to Win|