Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Great Hunter pointed toward Belmont Stakes
May 25th, 2007
Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - The field for the 139th running of the Belmont Stakes continues to remain in flux, as the field of 10-12 three-year-olds is taking shape two weeks before the 1 1/2 mile race.
Highly-regarded colt Great Hunter appears to be a definite starter for the third leg of racing's Triple Crown. Trainer Doug O'Neill is making plans to ship Great Hunter to Belmont Park several days prior to June 9.
"He's either going to New York on June 4 or 5," O'Neill said from California. "That will give him a couple of chances to school in the paddock there."
Owned by J. Paul Reddam, Great Hunter was third to Street Sense in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He opened this year by winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and then was a troubled fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes. Great Hunter was 13th in the Kentucky Derby after starting from the far outside post position.
Wood Memorial winner Nobiz Like Shobiz is now doubtful for the Belmont Stakes.
"If it were a walkover or a two horse race, I would run," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "A $1 million race is a $1 million race. Right now, I'm planning on races like the Dwyer, Jim Dandy and Travers."
Nobiz Like Shobiz was 10th in the Kentucky Derby. He won the Holy Bull Stakes in February, but then finished third in the Fountain of Youth.
Two weeks until the Belmont Stakes the probables include Street Sense, Curlin, Hard Spun, Tiago, Slew's Tizzy, Sightseeing, Rags to Riches, Great Hunter, Imawildandcrazyguy, Circular Quay and Chelokee.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Big 3 showdown in Belmont ?
May 25, 2007
By Jay Privman
The first three finishers in the Kentucky Derby took the first three spots in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, and there is the chance all three could show up in New York on June 9 for the Belmont Stakes, too.
Two of three - Curlin and Hard Spun - are definite for the Belmont, while Street Sense is now possible for the race, their respective trainers said. The Belmont, at 1 1/2 miles, is the longest and last leg of the Triple Crown.
Curlin, who won the Preakness after finishing third in the Derby, and Street Sense, who won the Derby and then was second in the Preakness, both were flown from Baltimore to Louisville, Ky., on Sunday and returned to their barns at Churchill Downs. Hard Spun, who was third in the Preakness after finishing second in the Derby, was sent by van from Pimlico to Delaware Park, where he will be based this summer.
None of the three is expected to get to Belmont Park sooner than a week prior to the race. Their participation will impact the field size for the Belmont, since many trainers of potential Belmont runners are none too eager to face the big three. Their enthusiasm may change if there are defections among those three over the next fortnight.
As of Monday, there were 14 horses under consideration for the Belmont, though many - such as Sightseeing, the winner of the Peter Pan Stakes on Sunday at Belmont - are shaky propositions for the race right now.
Curlin, Hard Spun, and Street Sense have clearly separated themselves from the rest of this 3-year-old crop. The Preakness was the fastest race of the year by a 3-year-old, with Curlin receiving a Beyer Speed Figure of 111. The possibility that two and perhaps all three of these colts will meet again helps hold the interest of the Belmont, which will not have a Triple Crown on the line for the third straight year.
The one-two-three finishes by the same horses in the Derby and Preakness had not happened since Silver Charm, Free House, and Captain Bodgit in 1997, and those three were the first to do it since Affirmed, Alydar, and Believe It in 1978.
There never has been an instance of the same horses running one-two-three in the Derby and Preakness and then meeting again in the Belmont.
"I think Curlin, Street Sense, and Hard Spun are a step above this class," Carl Nafzger, the trainer of Street Sense, said Monday. "Curlin, give him his due. He ran third in the Derby with just three previous starts. Then he comes back and runs an even better race."
Curlin was an unstarted maiden less than four months ago. Now, he has won four times in five starts, with victories in the Preakness, Arkansas Derby, and Rebel Stakes.
"He's an incredible horse," his trainer, Steve Asmussen, said Monday from his barn at Churchill Downs. "He was a little tired yesterday, but he looked great today. He's going to go back to the track to train on Wednesday, and I'd be very surprised if he wasn't the same Curlin he's always been. He's spoiled us."
The Belmont is definitely next, Asmussen said.
"This is the kind of horse who is meant for that caliber of race," Asmussen said. "We're not going to just stand around and admire him. We're going to race him."
Curlin gave Asmussen his first victory in a Triple Crown race, and it came less than a week after the death of Asmussen's paternal grandmother, who lived next door to Asmussen's parents in Laredo, Texas. His parents, Keith and Marilyn, were at the Preakness.
"After we loaded Curlin on the van Sunday morning, I went and had coffee with my dad," Asmussen said. "You can't imagine what a great view it was from across that table."
Street Sense, who lost by a head to Curlin, was initially ruled out of the Belmont right after the Preakness by Nafzger. But by Monday, he left the door open a crack.
"Right now, I'd say I don't think we're going to run in the Belmont, but there's a couple of factors that have come up, so we're going to put that decision off for a week," Nafzger said.
Nafzger said he had spoken to owner Jim Tafel on Sunday, and would do so again at mid-week.
"What we have to decide is what we want to do with him the rest of the year, because what we do regarding the Belmont will determine what we do the rest of the year," Nafzger said. "The main factor is, how did he bounce out of the Preakness? That will take a week."
Nafzger and his wife, Wanda, drove to Baltimore from Louisville. En route home, they stopped in West Virginia on Sunday for a two-day vacation at a resort before returning to Churchill Downs, where trainer Ian Wilkes, his former assistant, was monitoring Street Sense.
"Ian said he came back awful good," Nafzger said.
As for the Preakness, Nafzger said he was disappointed that Street Sense seemed to "lose his intensity" when he hit the front under jockey Calvin Borel.
"That's something we've got to look at, how to alleviate it," Nafzger said. "We've got to push on the button a little later."
Hard Spun also came out of the race well, trainer Larry Jones said.
"From the looks of the horse, we can't rule out the Belmont," Jones said. "One of the reasons he had six weeks off going into the Derby was wanting to run him in these three races. Surely there would be whole lot different pace scenario in the Belmont."
Hard Spun set the pace in the Derby, and moved into the teeth of a hot pace nearing the far turn in the Preakness. Because it is such a long race, the Belmont usually unfolds at a saner pace.
Jones said Hard Spun would go to New York about a week before the Belmont and have his final work for the race at Belmont Park.
Sightseeing, owned by Phipps Stable, got a 97 Beyer Figure in the Peter Pan. His trainer, Shug McGaughey, said, "I'm on the fence, probably leaning against, but I'll wait and see how he does, and I'll talk to the Phippses more."
Chelokee, who scored a popular victory in the Barbaro Stakes on the Preakness undercard, got a Beyer Figure of 95. His trainer, Michael Matz, and Don Little, the head of the Centennial Farm partnership which owns Chelokee, said they would wait before making a decision on the Belmont, but both seemed inclined to look elsewhere.
Those firmly considering the Belmont include Imawildandcrazyguy, who was fourth in the Derby; Tiago, who was seventh in the Derby; and Slew's Tizzy, who won the Lexington Stakes and Lone Star Derby in his last two starts.
The lightly raced French invader Cristobal is also under consideration for the Belmont, according to the New York Racing Association.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who became 0 for 28 in Triple Crown races after sending out Circular Quay (fifth) and King of the Roxy (sixth) in the Preakness, said Circular Quay and the filly Rags to Riches, the Kentucky Oaks winner, are being considered for the Belmont.
Rags to Riches worked a half-mile in 48.24 seconds on Monday at Belmont Park. Pletcher said her participation in the Belmont depends on the Triple Crown's big three.
"If all three of them run, I would say it's doubtful that we would," Pletcher said. "If two of the three run then we have a decision to make. If only one runs then maybe we would take a shot. Those three have shown in the first two legs that they're very high-quality horses, and it might be a bit much to take on all three of them."
Other possibilities include Great Hunter, who was 13th in the Derby; Nobiz Like Shobiz, 10th in the Derby; and Prom Shoes, who was second in the Peter Pan.
"It's not out of the question, but most likely not," said Jinks Fires, the trainer of Prom Shoes.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
op 3 from Derby, Preakness could make history
May 24, 2007
NEW YORK (AP) -Even though a Triple Crown won't be on the line, the Belmont Stakes could make racing history.
Should Street Sense, Curlin and Hard Spun run in the Belmont on June 9, it would be the first time the same top three finishers in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness met again in the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby, with Hard Spun second and Curlin third. Curlin won last week's Preakness, with Street Sense second and Hard Spun third.
The possibility has occurred only five times, but each time only two of the three horses showed up for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, according to the New York Racing Association.
The last time it happened was 1997, when Silver Charm won the Derby, Captain Bodgit finished second and Free House was third. Silver Charm won the Preakness, too, with Free House second and Captain Bodgit third. Captain Bodgit skipped the Belmont, and Touch Gold won to spoil Silver Charm's Triple Crown bid.
Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger said after last Saturday's Preakness he doubted his colt would be back for the Belmont, but said this week he'll wait a few more days before making a final decision.
Curlin, meanwhile, is on target for the race, trainer Steve Asmussen said, and Hard Spun seems likely, according to trainer Larry Jones.
``I think the one thing that everybody wants out of that race (the Preakness) is for the top three finishers to come out of it as they obviously did out of the Derby,'' Asmussen said earlier this week. ``It was so nice to see them all at the Preakness training the way they did.''
Street Sense and Curlin are both training again at Churchill Downs, while Hard Spun is at Delaware Park.
``We got beat by two really good horses, we sure don't have anything to be ashamed of,'' Jones said after the Preakness. ``Carl and Steve are both very nice guys, and I'm sure if all three go to Belmont, they're going to feel sorry for him (Hard Spun) and let me have one.''
The Belmont could have one of its largest fields in years, with as many as 14 horses. Among the others are the filly Rags to Riches, Circular Quay, Great Hunter, Imawildandcrazyguy, Tiago, Chelokee, Slew's Tizzy, Cristobal and Sightseeing.
Nobiz Like Shobiz, who finished 10th in the Derby and skipped the Preakness, was listed as possible, but trainer Barclay Tagg said Thursday, ``I'm not planning on running him in the Belmont.''
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Great Hunter a go; 'Nobiz' opts out
May 25, 2007
Great Hunter is in, Nobiz Like Shobiz is out, and Hard Spun is likely to run in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense returned to the track Thursday for the first time since getting beat by a head in the Preakness. He galloped an easy mile at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Mark Cutler. His connections said they want to evaluate the colt for a few more days before making a final decision on whether to run in the Belmont.
Great Hunter is hoping to follow a trend that has worked in three of the past seven runnings of the Belmont. That is, run a mediocre race in the Kentucky Derby, pass the Preakness, and come in fresh for the Belmont.
Commendable was the first to be successful with that move in 2000, winning the Belmont - which did not have the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner - after running 17th in the Derby. In 2004, Birdstone, who skipped the Preakness after running eighth in the Derby, derailed the Triple Crown bid of Smarty Jones. Last year, in another Belmont that did not include the Derby or Preakness winner, Jazil won after finishing in a dead heat for fourth in the Derby.
Great Hunter, who broke from post 20, finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby. He was in 11th position, racing three to four wide, entering the first turn. He made a sustained, albeit wide, bid from the middle of the backstretch to the quarter pole before flattening out in the stretch. He was beaten 20 3/4 lengths by Street Sense.
Trainer Doug O'Neill decided to regroup and shipped him back to Southern California. On Thursday, Great Hunter worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 over the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park. It was his first work since the Derby. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 and went out seven furlongs in 1:27.
"I see him back to the weight we had him before going in the Kentucky Derby," O'Neill said. "The Derby itself threw him for a loop. He got pretty worked up in the paddock. He was too fresh to go a mile and a quarter."
O'Neill said Great Hunter would likely ship to New York on June 4 or 5 and will get a couple of schooling sessions in Belmont's paddock.
Meanwhile, Nobiz Like Shobiz, the 10th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, also worked Thursday, but trainer Barclay Tagg said he is not pointing his Wood Memorial winner to the Belmont. Nobiz Like Shobiz breezed five furlongs in 1:00.32 over Belmont Park's main track under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, and he is being pointed to the Dwyer Stakes here on July 4. Tagg also mentioned the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga this summer as races he'd like to make with Nobiz Like Shobiz, who is owned by Elizabeth Valando.
"The only way I'd run him in the Belmont is if there were a couple of horses in it and they had [speed] figures that were a lot worse than his," Tagg said. "I might be tempted to run him for a million dollars if it was all right with Mrs. Valando. But I don't think she's real keen on running in it, and I'm not real keen on running in it either. I'd rather just freshen him up till the Dwyer."
For the second straight week, Nobiz Like Shobiz worked without blinkers, but Tagg was non-committal whether the colt would run in the Dwyer without them.
"I didn't want to work him in blinkers because I didn't want him to be too aggressive," Tagg said.
At Delaware Park, Derby runner-up and Preakness third-place finisher Hard Spun had been back training for two days on Thursday. On Thursday, he galloped 1 1/8 miles, with his trainer, Larry Jones, in the irons.
"Everything's good, he bounced all the way home," Jones said. "He's wanting to get back in the game."
Still, Jones wouldn't commit Hard Spun to the Belmont just yet.
"We have not made a firm commitment yet, actually," Jones said. "He's eating well, he's gone to the track two days now, he absolutely seems no worse for the wear. We're not seeing any reasons not to go on. But me being the pessimist that I am, I'm waiting for the sky to fall. Something bad has to be happening, I'm just not seeing it."
Though owner Rick Porter has been quoted as being critical of jockey Mario Pino's ride in the Preakness, Jones said no decision has yet been made on whether to replace Pino.
"Nothing has been determined good, bad, or indifferent," Jones said.
* Curlin, the Preakness winner, was on the track with the second set of trainer Steve Asmussen's local string at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. He schooled at the gate and galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Carmen Rosas. Curlin returned to training Wednesday.
Asmussen said he intends to work Curlin early Monday morning.
* Peter Pan winner Sightseeing returned to the track Thursday. Trainer Shug McGaughey said no final decision has been made on whether to run in the Belmont.
* Trainer Jinks Fires said Prom Shoes, the Peter Pan runner-up, won't run in the Belmont. He will instead be pointed to the Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 16.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Great Hunter pointed toward Belmont Stakes
Chipped ankle causes Great Hunter to miss Belmont.
Paul Reddam’s Great Hunter, who finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will miss the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after suffering a chipped ankle in his right front leg, trainer Doug O’Neill said Saturday.
“He’ll be out of commission for a few months,” O’Neill said of the son of Aptitude, who was scheduled to ship to New York for the third leg of the Triple Crown after turning in a strong five-furlong work in 1:00 4/5 over the Cushion track at Hollywood Park on Thursday.
"“He didn’t cool out super well after the work, but we didn’t think much of it at the time,” O’Neill said. “The next day, when the poultice was washed off his leg, we noticed some filling.”
X-rays revealed the chip, which will be removed surgically either this afternoon or Sunday, according to O'Neill.
"He'll probably need 90 days off," O'Neill said. "He's a strong, solid horse, so we'll be in good shape when he comes back."
Great Hunter, bred in Pennsylvania by Ivy Dell Stud, has scored victories in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) and Robert B, Lewis Memorial (gr. II), while placing in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), Del Mar Futurity and Best Pal (both gr. II), and Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III).
He also finished a troubled fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) after being forced to take up inside the eighth pole.
With Great Hunter out, that leaves only five definite starters for the Belmont, with word on Street Sense not due until Tuesday.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
An Early Look at the 2007 Belmont
by T.O. Whenham
We're only a week past the Preakness, which means that the Belmont is still two weeks away. That's an eternity in thoroughbred time. Though it's impossible to get an accurate sense of what the field will ultimately look like, we certainly can make educated guesses that stand a good chance of being true. If nothing else, we can figure out the major players. If a bunch of horses join the field late then there's a good chance that they won't be superstars, anyway.
Anyone who has paid any attention to the Triple Crown so far this year knows that there are really only two horses that anyone cares about - Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, and Preakness winner Curlin. These two have made it very clear that they are the class of this field, and that they have potentially freakish talent. Their stretch duel in the Preakness was truly epic, and a rivalry was born that fans will hope to see again and again. That's exactly the kind of thing that the struggling sport of racing needs. So, will it happen at the Belmont? Maybe, but probably not. Assuming he stays healthy, Curlin will be there. His connections have said that part of the reason that he had such a relaxed early season was that he was being rested for the strenuous Triple Crown. His breeding and his racing to date have given us no real reason to doubt he can get the mile and a half distance, and he will likely be the Belmont favorite regardless of who he faces.
Street Sense's picture is far less clear. Though his loss at the Preakness by not much more than a nose does nothing to discredit this horse, it did sour his trainer on the Triple Crown experience. Right after the race he said there was no way his horse would move on to the third leg. Since then he has softened, but only slightly. Media pressure, and probably behind the scenes industry pressure, is intently focused on a rematch, so trainer Carl Nafzger and the ownership may decide to send him. Though I hope they do, my bet is that they won't. If they do then he also appears to have the ability and the breeding to do just fine, and the gigantic Belmont stretch will be ideal for his explosive late move.
The forgotten third member of this year's fearsome threesome is Hard Spun. He's been very good in both races - a second and a third - but just not as good as the top two. He's not a quitter, though, so he is going to give it another try in the Belmont. He came out of the two races sound and happy, and he will be interesting in the Belmont. He can likely get the distance, especially if he doesn't get drawn into the rapid pace of the Preakness. In both of the previous races he hasn't faded down the stretch, he's just been passed by a freight train or two. It wouldn't be impossible for him to hold on this time. If nothing else, the prize money from three top three Triple Crown finishes is pretty sweet, and it doesn't hurt the breeding pedigree one bit, either.
There seems to be a chance that the fourth horse to contest both races, Circular Quay, could move on as well. He is training with that intent, though no decision will be made by trainer Todd Pletcher for a week or more. Though the horse hasn't embarrassed himself in either race, his late move clearly hasn't been of the caliber of either of the top two, and you really have to wonder why Pletcher is bothering.
Three horses who ran in the Derby and then skipped the Preakness are aiming to return in the Belmont - Great Hunter, Tiago and Imawildandcrazyguy. Of those, Great Hunter had the best reputation coming into the Derby, but he was largely a non-factor on that day. Tiago won the Santa Anita Derby and was solid in Louisville, but I just can't shake the feeling in my head that this isn't a top-caliber horse. Imawildandcrazy guy is perhaps the most intriguing of the three. He had little backing coming into the Derby, but he was a very respectable fourth there, and could very well be better than he has been given credit for. Regardless, it is hard to get too excited about any of this trio given who else is returning.
The most exciting potential entrant other than the top three is definitely Rags to Riches. This Todd Pletcher-trained filly is a monster. To say she crushed the field in the Kentucky Oaks is a major understatement - the rest of the horses didn't belong on the same track as her. She is a half sister to Jazil, the winner of last year's Belmont in impressive fashion, so she has the breeding to go with her talent. The step up to meet the boys is a big move for a filly, but this is no ordinary filly. I would love to see how she measures up against Curlin and Street Sense, but I won't get too excited until Pletcher confirms that she will be there. Though he has indicated that she may, I have a strong feeling that the strength of the field and his total inability to get a horse ready for a Triple Crown race may convince him to find a softer spot. Running in the Belmont would make a Filly Triple Crown run less likely, and she has the potential to win it.
Other potential entrants include Slew's Tizzy, who won the Lone Star Derby after foregoing his spot in the Derby, Sightseeing, the winner of the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on Preakness day, and Barbaro Stakes winner Chelokee. Slew's Tizzy is almost certain to run, but the other two are on the fence and seemingly unlikely. All three are talented and interesting, but can't be mistaken for top-flight horses. What any of them will do, though, is add intriguing depth to a race that is already shaping up to be as good a Belmont as we have seen in a long time. It's just too bad that few people care about this race when there is no Triple Crown on the line.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Gomez Replaces Pino on Hard Spun for Belmont
by Steve Haskin
Owner Rick Porter and trainer Larry Jones have named Garrett Gomez to ride Hard Spun in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), replacing Mario Pino, who had ridden the colt in all eight of his previous starts. As of now, Hard Spun is considered 98% certain to run, according to Porter.
Porter and Jones had mapped out a plan for the Preakness (gr. I) where Hard Spun would sit several lengths behind the leaders, and were not happy when Pino, afraid of getting trapped on the inside by C P West, steered the colt to the outside. Once in the clear, a headstrong Hard Spun took off after Xchanger and Flying First Class in a testing :23 1/5 for the third quarter. That move through blistering fractions of :22.83 and :45.75 carried Hard Spun to a three-quarter split of 1:09.80, which eventually took its toll, and he was unable to match strides with Curlin and Street Sense in the stretch, finishing third, beaten four lengths.
“(Mario) knows a little daylight for Hard Spun is all she wrote,” Porter said. “He won’t rate unless he is directly behind horses, in my opinion. Larry and I both came up with the idea of switching to Gomez at the same time. I feel badly for Mario, as he is truly a nice guy, but he made a mistake. He didn’t think that by moving him out in the clear, he’d have trouble rating. But when this horse sees an opening, he wants to go and go fast.
“I think Gomez suits him well and is riding with a lot of confidence now. Also, he’s more familiar with those big, sweeping turns at Belmont. Hard Spun came out of the Preakness strong, and if he’s on top of his game in the Belmont, I think he will run big with the right pace.”
With Gomez riding Hard Spun and John Velazquez named to ride Slew’s Tizzy, winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and Lone Star Derby (gr. III), it all but assures that Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches will not run in the Belmont. If she does, it would be without the jockey who has ridden her in four of her five starts, and without trainer Todd Pletcher’s number one rider. The same would apply to stablemate Circular Quay, fifth in the Preakness, who has been ridden by either Gomez or Velazquez in his last six starts.
Hard Spun has won five of his eight career starts, including victories in the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, LeComte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, Port Penn Stakes at Delaware Park, and the Pennsylvania Nursery at Philadelphia Park. He also was second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), as well as third in the Preakness.
The son of Danzig – Turkish Tryst, by Turkoman was bred in Pennsylvania by Michael Moran and Brushwood Stable.
With a decision on Street Sense not due until early next week, there are only six confirmed starters for the Belmont – Curlin, Hard Spun, Slew’s Tizzy, Tiago, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Great Hunter. Sightseeing and Chelokee appear to be unlikely at this time, but there may be an addition or two if Street Sense is withdrawn.
Trainer Bill Kaplan said Imawildandcrazyguy, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, will ship to Belmont Park from his home base at Calder on Wednesday, May 30, and will have his final work on Sunday, June 3. Accompanying him will be Arkansas Derby (gr. II) runner-up Storm in May, who will be pointed for the June 8 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the grass.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Street Sense won't run in Belmont
By MARTY McGEE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense will not run in the June 9 Belmont Stakes and will instead be pointed to a campaign highlighted by the Travers Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic, trainer Carl Nafzger announced at a Thursday morning media conference at Churchill Downs.
Nafzger said he and Jim Tafel, the breeder and owner of Street Sense, had lengthy conversations Wednesday about the pros and cons of running, with the final decision not to run coming down to "we blew our Triple Crown" when Curlin narrowly defeated Street Sense in the May 19 Preakness.
Nafzger said Tafel "wanted to win the Triple Crown like you wouldn't believe," and that "it really deflated us when we got beat."
Nafzger said he and Tafel "went over a lot of situations" whether to run or not run before ultimately deciding to sit out the Belmont. Street Sense most likely will run next in a prep for the Aug. 25 Travers at Saratoga, with the most logical race being the Jim Dandy at Saratoga or the Haskell at Monmouth. The year-end goal is the BC Classic, to be run Oct. 27 at Monmouth.
The defection of Street Sense clearly weakens the allure of the Belmont, which now will have Curlin as a solid favorite over Hard Spun in a small field that also will include Tiago, Slew's Tizzy, Imawildandcrazyguy, and possibly either of the Todd Pletcher duo of Rags to Riches and Circular Quay.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Todd Pletcher's Triple Crown Woes
by T.O. Whenham
Todd Pletcher. There's a name that has been giving people headaches recently. It's absolutely incomprehensible that a guy can be so dominant in all but three races every year, and so truly terrible in those three - the Triple Crown. If you don't follow horse racing closely you won't have a clear sense of just how good Pletcher is. He has the biggest and most dominant stable in the country (only Steve Asmussen, the trainer of Curlin, can rival the scope of his operation, and even he doesn't measure up). He has a serious contender in virtually every significant stakes race on the continent. In 2005 he set a single season earnings record with purses of nearly $21 million. He broke that mark the next year. By October. I could go on, but this is all you really need to remember - this guy is really, really good.
That's why his Triple Crown performance is both so laughable and so difficult to understand. Pletcher is 0-28 on the three biggest stages the sport has to offer, and it's not like he has even been close very much. He's had far more success at finishing last than he has at legitimately challenging for a win. This year is as good an example as any of the problems he has had. He had five horses entered in the 20-horse field of the Kentucky Derby. That's pretty good odds. Not good enough, apparently. The top five finishers in a race get a piece of the purse. Pletcher's top runner, Circular Quay, finished sixth. That means Pletcher went home without anything to show for his time. Even worse, two of his horses struggled home in 18th and 20th. His showing in the Preakness was only slightly better, but that was largely because the field was smaller. His two horses in that nine-horse field ended up fifth and sixth.
Pletcher's Triple Crown failures, and the media attention that they receive, have made speculation about his Belmont intentions all the more interesting. Though the story changes constantly and only Pletcher knows what he is planning for sure, the best guess is that he has two horses that could start the three year old marathon. Circular Quay has been training with the intention of running. He'll be joined with by far the most intriguing potential contender outside of the big three from the first two races - Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches. This is a filly that makes other fillies look so out of place that it's as if they are of a different species. She's never run against the boys, but there is no reason to think that she can't handle it. If she gets the chance, that is. Though Pletcher seemed initially eager, he was waiting until Street Sense tipped his hand before he made a decision. Now that the Derby winner is out for the Belmont, Pletcher could have the incentive he needs to enter the filly and take another shot at ending his Triple Crown futility.
The most telling indicator of the depth of Pletcher's current woes is the moves made by two jockeys. John Velazquez and Garrett Gomez are two of Pletcher's more regular riders. Velazquez handled Circular Quay in the first two legs, and Gomez was on Any Given Saturday in the Derby and King of the Roxy in the Preakness. Given that, it seems odd that both riders would accept other mounts before Pletcher has made his decisions. Gomez' move can be understood - he is taking over the talented but hard luck Hard Spun. The choice by Velazquez, though, is bizarre. He is on Slew's Tizzy - hardly a world class horse unless I am really missing something. There are many reasons why the moves could be made, but one thing seems clear - they probably wouldn't have happened if all was peaceful and harmonious in the Pletcher camp.
So why does Pletcher struggle so badly in the Triple Crown? There are probably several reasons, and several more that are discussed that aren't at all right. I'll do my part and throw out three that I favor, but it all boils down to one thing - as a casual bettor you probably want a pretty good reason to bet on him to win until he proves himself in the big three races. I respect this guy and what he has done for the most part, but his Triple Crown woes are more than coincidence.
1) His Triple Crown horses just aren't that good. Sure, he piled up an impressive list of prep victories this year, but the guy also picked his spots very carefully. He sat Circular Quay out for two months because he didn't like what he saw in the opposition. He sent Cowtown Cat to Illinois instead of one of the major preps. He shuffled his lineup several times leading up to the Derby. Maybe the fact is that the horses he has this year just aren't at the top of the class. The same can be said about a lot of his past Triple Crown runners. Bluegrass Cat, second in the Derby last year, went on to have an impressive season that was sadly shortened by injury. Beyond that, though, most of his Triple Crown horses haven't exactly gone on to higher heights. Anyone remember Invisible Ink? Limehouse? Keyed Entry? Didn't think so. The problem is that the public is going to consider any Pletcher trained horse better than it necessarily is because of who trains it.
2) Owners aren't sending him top three year olds. After a while, wealthy owners would probably get the idea that Pletcher isn't the guy to get them the roses. Maybe he has too many horses and is too spread out, or maybe he just doesn't have the touch with youngsters that Bob Baffert or his mentor D. Wayne Lukas have. Regardless, it only makes sense that owners would start to shy away from sending their top three year olds to him, or from buying Triple Crown contenders in the first place if they are loyal to Pletcher and don't want to use another trainer. If that hasn't already happened, it will.
3) It's not just the Triple Crown. Pletcher wins virtually everything, but he's clearly not a big day guy. His Breeders' Cup record is only slightly less pitiful at two for 41, and both of those victories, with Ashado and Speightstown, came in the same year. Racing has four days every year that anyone outside of the hardcore fans pay attention to, and Pletcher is lousy on all of them. Maybe his strength is, as I said earlier, picking spots or winning against fields that aren't overly talented from top to bottom. Whatever the case, Pletcher can't be called a truly great trainer until he starts winning when it matters.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Rags to Riches Will Run in Belmont
by Dan Liebman
Trainer Todd Pletcher announced Tuesday morning that the filly Rags to Riches will contest the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Pletcher had been saying he would decide between Rags to Riches and Circular Quay for his Belmont entrant.
"I made up my mind more or less last night but had to firm it up with Michael (co-owner Michael Tabor)," Pletcher said. "They left the decision strictly up to me, but when I told him what I decided he was thrilled with the decision."
Rags to Riches is owned by Tabor in partnership with Derrick Smith.
Her addition to the Belmont, a 1 ½-mile event, brings the field to eight, headed by Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin. The others are Hard Spun, Slew's Tizzy, Imawildandcrazyguy, Tiago, Digger, and Time Squared.
Rags to Riches, by A.P. Indy, has won her last four starts after finishing fourth in her only race last year at 2. In her most recent outing, she was an easy and impressive winner of the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Though he waited to make the decision, Pletcher said he has been pointing Rags to Riches toward the Belmont since the Oaks.
"We've been preparing her for the last five weeks as if she would run in the Belmont."
However, there was obviously a period of time when it appeared Rags to Riches would not run because Garrettt Gomez, who has ridden her in all four of her victories, took the mount on Hard Spun in the Belmont last week.
Pletcher said he was trying to get Gomez back on Rags to Riches but Larry Jones, who trains Hard Spun, said he expected Gomez to honor his commitment.
"We gave them four days to see what the filly was going to do," Jones said. "We had a total commitment before we ever made an announcement that Garrett would be on this horse, so we intend for him to be on this horse."
Gomez worked Hard Spun at Belmont Sunday morning.
Pletcher regularly rides Gomez as well as John Velazquez, who also is not available because he has the mount on Slew's Tizzy.
Pletcher said there were several factors that went into the decision regarding Rags to Riches' status for the final leg of the Triple Crown
"The filly is doing well. She worked very well and came out of it in great shape," the trainer said. "She is ready to run and needs to run. Actually this works out better space-wise for the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I). It is better to run her now than to try and hold her on the ground."
Only two fillies have won the Belmont—Ruthless in the first running in 1867 and Tanya in 1905.
"She arguably has the best pedigree for the race a horse could have," Pletcher said. "She has such an efficient action and is so powerful behind she gives the impression she will stay forever."
Rags to Riches, a half-sister to Jazil, last year's Belmont Stakes winner, is out of the Deputy Minister mare Better Than Honour, a winner of the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II). Her second dam, Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom, also took the Kentucky Oaks and was a multiple graded stakes winner.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
How the 139th Belmont Stakes Shapes Up
by Greg Melikov - 06/05/2007
The third and oldest jewel of the Triple Crown appears to be a two-horse race between Curlin and Hard Spun.
The absence of Street Sense has ushered in a couple more challengers, but they shouldn't alter the results. Here's a look at the horses and how they should finish in the 139th Belmont:
Digger: Late entry has two victories in eight starts, inccluding a third in last year's Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes. On March 3, the son of Yonaguska finished ninth nearly 10 lengths behind Catman Running in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. The only plus - he's trained by Richard Durtow. But, alas, he's still a candidate for last place.
Time Squared: Another late starter that won an allowance race last month at Arlington after breaking his maiden in April hasn't fared well against top echelon runners. The son of Fusacho Pegasus was seventh in the Sham at Santa Anita and sixth in the Blue Grass at Keeneland with Julian Lepararoux aboard in both outings. He won't do much better in this spot.
Imawildandcrazyguy: Sure, he finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby. But the son of Wild Event has only two victories in a dozen trips - both last year at Calder where he defeated optional claimers six races after he broke his maiden. Hitting the board would be an accomplishment.
Slew's Tizzy: Despite going for his third consecutive triumph, he hasn't scored against first-tier 3-year-olds, finishing seventh behind Circular Quay in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. A big plus: John Velasquez climbs aboard for trainer Gregory Fox. A big negative: He hasn't raced beyond 1 1/16 miles. The son of Tiznow could fight it out for third.
Circular Quay: Trainer Todd Pletcher is trying to make up his mind whether to run the son of Thunder Gulch, who won the Belmont in '95. He is bred to go the 1 ½ miles, but disappointed finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness.
Rags to Riches: Pletcher also must decide if the Kentucky Oaks winner will take on the boys. The daughter of A. P. Indy has captured all four starts this year, including three Grade 1 events, averaging more than a four-length margin. Her sire ranks first in earnings with $4.26 million through June 1. His siblings won 49 of 121 races.
Tiago: Lightly raced son of Pleasant Tap is bred to go long and will be coming from way back like he did winning the Santa Anita Derby. But he must be considerably closer than he was in the Kentucky Derby when he made up just two lengths in the stretch to finish 10 lengths back in seventh. He should finish third.
Hard Spun: Covering the distance shouldn't be a problem. The son of the late Danzig, who sired '86 Belmont winner Danzig Connection, has an equally outstanding dam sire in Turkoman. And he's the only horse with triple digit speed figures in the last three races. Garrett Gomez might mean the difference between winning and finishing second.
Curlin: A victory in the Belmont would seal his superstar status. He should avoid the trouble he encountered in the previous Triple Crown legs with the smaller field. His sire, Smart Strike, ranks third in earnings as his siblings earned $3.6 million through June 1, winning 42 times in 118 outings. Robby Albardo won't allow Steve Asmussen's pride and joy to lose.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Add C P West to Belmont field
By JAY PRIVMAN
ELMONT, N.Y. – C P West, who finished fourth in the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago, was added to the field for Saturday's 139th Belmont Stakes on Tuesday by trainer Nick Zito.
"As things went on, with no Street Sense and a very small field, and him having showed in the Preakness he belongs with these horses, it made sense," Zito said. "I heard the band, and the next thing I was marching."
Zito said Edgar Prado, who rode C P West in the Preakness, would retain the mount for the Belmont.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Preakness winner Curlin is Belmont favorite
Wed, Jun 6, 2007
By Associated Press
NEW YORK -- Preakness winner Curlin was made the 6-5 favorite Wednesday for the $1 million Belmont Stakes, with the filly Rags to Riches the third choice at 3-1 in a field of seven 3-year-olds.
Curlin will leave from the No. 3 post position under Robby Albarado, and will attempt to become the third horse in seven years to capture the Preakness and Belmont. Point Given in 2001 and Afleet Alex in 2005 won two-thirds of the Triple Crown after failing to win the Kentucky Derby.
Hard Spun, second in the Derby and third in the Preakness, was the second choice at 5-2 and took the No. 6 post at Wednesday's post position draw.
Rags to Riches will become the 22nd filly to run in the Belmont and the first since Silverbulletday finished seventh in 1999. The Kentucky Oaks winner will be ridden for the first time by John Velazquez, and drew the No. 7 post for Saturday's 1 1/2-mile race.
Two fillies have won the Belmont - Ruthless took the first running in 1867 and Tanya won in 1905.
Also entered are Imawildandcrazyguy, Tiago, Slew's Tizzy and C P West.
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense was pulled out of consideration last week after his Triple Crown chance ended with a loss in the Preakness.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Steve Haskin's Belmont Report: Curlin vs. Rags Has Belmont Abuzz
by Steve Haskin
When all is said and done, the 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has turned out to be one heck of a race after all, Street Sense or no Street Sense. We have seven legitimate horses, with none of the usual no-hopers that seem to pop out of the woodwork for the third leg of the Triple Crown, and a classic male vs. female showdown.
Wednesday’s post position draw, as expected, was uneventful due to the small size of the field and the length of the race.
The addition of Rags to Riches to the field has generated the kind of buzz the race desperately needed, and reporters from all over the country now have a new angle on which to focus.
But even with all the attention on Rags to Riches, the big horse still is Curlin, who was made the 6-5 morning line favorite. The more you look at Curlin the more amazed you have to be with what he’s accomplished in such a short period of time and with the horse as an individual.
It wasn’t until 4:20 Tuesday afternoon that the son of Smart Strike finally stepped off the van after being delayed in Louisville. Actually, stepped off is not quite accurate. Curlin bounced off the van, and bounced all the way to Steve Asmussen’s barn, as if he knows it’s time to get the competitive juices flowing again. Judging from his appearance, he’s fit and ready for action. He’s held his weight well through the first two legs of the Triple Crown and his muscle tone suggests he’s primed for another big effort. After his phenomenal Preakness victory, many handicappers feel he will regress to some degree in his speed figures, but even a regression of several points would be enough to win this race. That’s how consistently fast he’s been throughout his brief, but meteoric career.
But with Curlin, it’s all about class and a professionalism beyond his years. All you had to so was watch him getting bathed shortly after arriving. He stood like a statue with his head up and ears cocked the entire time, oblivious to everything, including pigeons flying directly in front of him. At times he stood there transfixed on the few TV cameras that were shooting him, as if he were enjoying the attention.
This morning, he had a solid mile gallop, moving well down the stretch, but with his head cocked to the inside every step of the way. It’s hard to tell whether he was looking around in the infield or just has a tendency to gallop with his head cocked.
Shortly after Curlin came Rags to Riches, who walked in the paddock before coming on to the track for her gallop. Not only do we have a great matchup between these two extraordinary Thoroughbreds, but they both look the part. On Tuesday afternoon, Rags to Riches was out grazing, and her coat shined like burnished copper (pardon the cliché). She is a powerhouse of a filly, both up front and behind, and definitely has a presence about her. She also has a bit of a feisty streak, rearing slightly a couple of times. Her handler, however, said this was pretty relaxed for her.
Continuing on the subject of appearance, and it’s going to sound like everyone looks great, but the truth is, this is an extremely impressive-looking group of horses. You couldn’t help but notice how outstanding Hard Spun looks following two grueling Triple Crown races. He’s also held his flesh well, he’s bright and alert, and his coat looks sensational. Perhaps the most improved horse physically is Tiago, who looks fitter and more muscle-toned than he did for the Kentucky Derby.
It was also interesting watching Imawildandcrazyguy gallop 1 3/4 miles this morning. The son of Wild Event is very light on his feet and just keeps going at a strong, steady pace. When he came off the track, his exercise rider Felicity Waugh was breathing harder than he was.
C P West hasn’t arrived from Saratoga yet, but if he looks anywhere near as good as he looked before the Preakness, you can add his name to the longshot possibilities. It is also worth noting that C P West is the only Belmont starter to have run at Belmont Park, turning in a big effort to finish a close second to King of the Roxy in the Futurity Stakes (gr. II).
Not having seen Slew’s Tizzy yet, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to comment on him.
So, it looks as though it’s going to be a tough race to pick, and all depends on whether or not you’re looking for a price horse to possibly knock off Curlin, Rags to Riches, and Hard Spun. If Curlin handles the track and the distance, and doesn’t hit the proverbial wall many have been expecting him to hit, then it’s going to take a super performance to not only beat him, but to finish anywhere close to him. Then again, we don’t know just how special Rags to Riches is, so it all adds up to one fascinating race.
Re: Belmont Stakes News and Notes
Seven Entered for Saturday's Belmont
by Dan Liebman
Belmont morning line favorite Curlin arrives at Belmont.
Slew’s Tizzy and Hard Spun, who figure to be the pacesetters in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), drew next to each other at the post position draw Wednesday morning at Belmont Park. A field of seven was entered in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
The race scenario changed when Street Sense, who won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was declared out of the race, after which the filly Rags to Riches was committed to the 1 ½-mile race.
In addition, Timed Squared and Digger did not enter as earlier thought, but C P West, who ran fourth in the Preakness (gr. I), did.
Curlin, who won the Preakness over Street Sense by a head, was installed the 6-5 favorite in the Belmont and will break from the three hole under Robby Albarado.
The Belmont carries a $1-million purse and will be broadcast on ABC as part of a two-hour telecast (5-7 p.m.). The post time is 6:25 EDT.
With seven horses going 12 furlongs, the post position does not figure to be a very important factor. With just Slew’s Tizzy and Hard Spun figuring to show early speed—though Curlin would not be expected to be too far behind—the pace does not figure to be fast.
Steve Asmussen, who trains Curlin (by Smart Strike), was at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning but his assistant, Scott Blasi, was at Belmont with the Preakness winner.
“His run in the Derby really carried over to the Preakness, where he really had to lay his body down against Street Sense,” Blasi said. “He matured by leaps and bounds from the Preakness. He shipped in yesterday around 4 p.m. It was a four hour trip from stall to stall. The addition of the filly makes it a great field and all warrant respect
“We are very happy with his condition and how he trained between races--very settled and relaxed,” Blasi continued. “(He shows) no signs of being nervous or not wanting to train. After the Preakness we gave him three days off and on the fourth day he was happy to go back to the track.”
Curlin is owned by Stonestreet Stables, Padua Stables, George Bolton, and Midnight Cry Stable.
Slew’s Tizzy, to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, will break from post five while Hard Spun will be to his outside in post six. Rags to Riches, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), will leave from the seven hole.
Imawildandcrazyguy will break from the rail, with Tiago in the two post; Curlin three; C P West four; Slew’s Tizzy; Hard Spun; and Rags to Riches.
“You know that it takes a very good filly to even consider running again the colts in a race like this and we wouldn't be thinking about doing it if we didn't think this filly was extremely good. She is just a good filly,” Todd Pletcher, who trains Rags to Riches for Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, said. “What make a good race horse and you can use just about any adjective you want. Aside from having testicles, she has it all."
Pletcher said many factors went into the decision to run the A.P. Indy filly against colts.
“One of the things I wanted to make sure was that running her was not going to compromise anything we were going to do with her in the future or harm her value. What we are giving up by running a 3-1 shot in the Belmont is running a 1-5 shot in the Mother Goose (gr. I). The Mother Goose is not necessarily going to make history for her or change her value. I think this was more exciting.”
Pletcher is well aware only two fillies have won the Belmont.
“Looking at the list of ones that have (run in recent years), I don't know, maybe with the exception of My Flag, that any of them qualified in the same regard as this filly does. Winning Colors was coming off a tough race in the Preakness and Genuine Risk ran a good race; Silverbulletday was not designed for a mile and a half. So, maybe when you break down the ones that maybe did try it, they might not have been as qualified as this filly--spacing, pedigree, and running style.
“Mr. Tabor made it clear that is was my decision,” Pletcher added. “We talked about it and discussed the pros and cons and he didn't want to influence my decision but once I made the decision he was excited about it. It would not be as big a deal in Europe as it was here. I think this filly is really bred for 1 1/2 miles.”
Pletcher said there is one pace scenario he would not like in the race, since Rags to Riches has come from a bit off the pace in her wins.
“The only pace scenario that would worry me is if Hard Spun got loose on the lead and slow fractions. I think Curlin and Hard Spun are two extremely good colts.”
Larry Jones, who trains Hard Spun for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, said he, too, is trying to figure out the pace.
“I would be wrong if I thought I had this race figured out,” Jones said. “I think it is a fairly even race. He (Hard Spun) has been able to improve each race and we have stepped him up in company each time he has ran. Mr. Porter and I, early on, did not set our sights too high, but the distances kept getting longer and he kept stepping up in class.
The pace in the Belmont will be a little different than it was in the Derby and the Preakness. He's not bred to be fast,” Jones said of the son of Danzig. “His five- and six-furlong speed really surprised me. His stamina is phenomenal. Curlin is just a super horse. The filly has the pedigree to run 1 1/2 miles. She deserves her shot and she got the best post position she could have gotten because being on the outside, she won't have a chance to get pinned in down on the inside by some of the colts.
The man on the inside was happy with his draw.
“I love getting the rail,” said Bill Kaplan, who trains Imawildandcrazyguy for Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner. “Going two turns, the closer to the rail the better. No matter what the strategy, you want to save all the ground you can.” The son of Wild Event will be ridden by Mark Guidry.
“I’m fine with the post,” Slew’s Tizzy’s trainer Greg Fox said. “It’s such a long race, you have to adjust no matter where you start from. I just hope he’s relaxed, like he was in the Lexington (Stakes, gr. II), and getting along well with Rafael.”
Slew’s Tizzy, a homebred son of Tiznow for Joe Lacombe, won the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland in April, skipped the Derby, and won the Lone Star Derby (gr. III) the week after the Derby.
C P West, by Came Home, finished fourth in the Preakness after running second in the April 28 Withers Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct.
“He ran a big race in the Preakness,” LaPenta said. “We were very pleased with what he did. (Jockey) Edgar (Prado) was supposed to be tracking Hard Spun and Hard Spun was about four or five lengths in front of us. When Hard Spun went, we went. The interesting thing was, in the stretch, when C P West was running alongside Street Sense, he got smacked in the face by Calvin (Borel) and that’s when he fell back a length.
“I think he grew up in the race,” LaPenta said. “I’m expecting a big performance from him.”
Tiago, who won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) before rallying to finish seventh in the Derby, returned to California where the half-brother to Derby winner Giacomo has trained the past month.
“He’s been training at Hollywood Park. It’s sort of like a trampoline. They call it ‘Cushion Track,’ ” trainer John Shirreffs said of Hollywood Park’s new synthetic surface.
Shirreffs was here two years ago with Giacomo, who ran seventh behind Afleet Alex. Both Giacomo and Tiago, by Pleasant Tap, were bred and are owned by Jerry and Ann Moss.
“I learned a couple of things from being here two years ago,” he said. “I took Giacomo out late (in the morning) at Belmont. I thought I’d just let him rest in the morning and I’ve found out it’s better to go early and let the horse rest for the whole day instead of splitting it up.
“Also, the paddock here, there aren’t any backs on the stalls, so the crowd is very close and you have to be aware of that when you’re saddling a horse, there could be somebody behind you yelling and screaming at the horse,” he said. “It’s something to be aware of. They have other stalls that are enclosed, but not having known nthat it was going to be such an issue, this time I’ll try to get one of the stalls that is enclosed. Horses aren’t used to having someone behind them while they’re saddling. It’s just a different situation.”