Derby & Preakness Winners Skip Belmont
DERBY & PREAKNESS WINNERS SKIP BELMONT
The stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course, which hosted a raucous postrace party on Saturday after the Preakness Stakes, was practically barren 12 hours later Sunday morning, a fitting metaphor for this year's Triple Crown.
Neither Super Saver, the Kentucky Derby winner, nor Lookin At Lucky, the Preakness Stakes winner, will compete in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes on June 5 at Belmont Park. The Belmont is still expected to have a large field, but neither of this year's previous Triple Crown race winners will run.
Lookin At Lucky, who got a Beyer Speed Figure of 102 in the Preakness, returned to California on Sunday morning and will be freshened at Santa Anita by trainer Bob Baffert.
"One thing we do know, we will be at the Haskell," Baffert said, referring to Monmouth's Park biggest race of the season, on Aug. 1.
Super Saver is going to New York, where trainer Todd Pletcher is based, but he will not come back in the Belmont after finishing a tired eighth in the Preakness.
Pletcher said the two weeks from the Derby to the Preakness was "the biggest thing" regarding Super Saver's performance on Saturday.
"The thing is, you don't know until you get to the three-eighths pole," Pletcher said.
So, the Belmont will not have a Derby winner or Preakness winner for the first time since 2006. Barbaro, the Derby winner, suffered catastrophic injuries in that Preakness, while Preakness winner Bernardini was kept out of the Belmont.
"It's sad that the Derby winner and the Preakness winner aren't in there," trainer Nick Zito said Sunday morning.
Zito will have two top contenders in the Belmont in Ice Box, the Derby runner-up, and Fly Down, who won the Dwyer Stakes last weekend at Belmont Park. Zito will not run Jackson Bend, the tiny colt who was third in the Preakness.
"You don't want to never say never," Zito said Saturday night after the race, "but even if we didn't have another horse in the race, he wouldn't run."
Baffert still will be represented by Game On Dude, the Lone Star Derby winner. He will be ridden by Martin Garcia, who scored his first Triple Crown race victory in the Preakness.
Pletcher might run the filly Devil May Care, who finished 10th in the Derby, though he said on Sunday she was "more likely" to run in the Mother Goose on June 26. Pletcher said he has no other prospects for the Belmont.
The WinStar Farm of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt, who own Super Saver, will be represented by Dwyer runner-up Drosselmeyer, who is trained by Bill Mott.
"I think we've got a shot," said Elliott Walden, the racing manager for WinStar.
The prospective Belmont field also includes First Dude, who was a gallant second in the Preakness.
"If he's in good health, the chances of him running in the Belmont are 100 percent," said his trainer, Dale Romans.
First Dude returned to Churchill Downs on Sunday morning, but Romans said he was inclined to send First Dude to Belmont Park by the end of the week.
"He'll go to Belmont early," Romans said. "I think that's a racetrack you benefit training over."
Dublin, who finished fifth in the Preakness, is also possible for the Belmont.
Other prospective Belmont starters include Make Music for Me, New Madrid, Setsuko, Stately Victor, Stay Put, and Uptowncharlybrown.
by Jay Privman
PROBABLE BELMONT FIELD
|Game On Dude||Garcia||Baffert||10-1|
|Devil May Care||Velazquez||Pletcher||15-1|
|Make Music For Me||Undecided||Barba||15-1|
|Bank The Eight||Undecided||Dutrow||30-1|
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