2012 Belmont Stakes Preview
ELMONT, NY (ATS Consultants) - The 144th Belmont Stakes goes June 9 from Elmont, N.Y. Here is a look at the latest contenders for the Belmont.
The biggest story surrounding this race came out on Friday morning when I'll Have Another's trainer Doug O'Neill announced that the Triple Crown contender won't race in this year's Belmont. I'll Have Another has an injury and will retire, becoming the first horse to ever scratch out of the Belmont with the Triple Crown on the line.
Dullahan by Even the Score out of Mining My Own, by Smart Strike, bred in Kentucky
Owner: Donegal Racing
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Javier Castellano
DP/DI/CD=8-8-10-0-0 4.20 0.92
Comments: The third place finisher in the Kentucky Derby is well-rested after skipping the Preakness to aim for this race. The questions before the
Derby of whatever he’s a synthetic/turf horse were answered emphatically as he rallied from 11th to barely-miss-getting-second from Bodemeister
at Churchill. Javier Castellano inherits the mount from Kent Desormeaux, after Kent had some of the tack issues before the Preakness. Might that
been an issue, as Desormeaux has ridden Dullahan most of his career? We’ll find out this weekend. He’s definitely a threat if he’s at his best.
Union Rags, by Dixie Union out of Tempo, by Gone West, bred in Kentucky
Owners: Chadds Ford Stable Year
Trainer: Michael Matz
Jockey: John Velazquez
DP/DI/CD=9-1-10-2-0 2.14 0.77
Comments: What do we make of Union Rags effort in the Derby? Trainer Michael Matz is willing to throw the race out, and place most of the
blame on jockey Julien LeParoux instead of the horse. Enter Hall of Famer John Velazquez, last year’s Derby winner, didn’t have a Belmont mount
after Went The Day Well ran poorly in Baltimore, so Matz went with him to ride Union Rags. This horse was one of the favorites in the Derby and
just didn’t get the job done. If he runs back to his best, he can certainly win here on Saturday and break a lot of hearts.
Paynter, by Awesome Again out of Tizco, by Tiznow bred in Kentucky
Owners: Zayat Stables LLC Year
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
DP/DI/CD=6-0-8-0-0 2.50 0.86
Comments: This guy could be the most talented of the “new shooters” here at Belmont. He’s been very impressive in his four-race career, finishing
first of second in three of those starts. His fourth-place finish was in the Santa Anita Derby, where he was defeated by I’ll Have Another and
Creative Cause. He’s improved since then, and destroyed an allowance field on Preakness Day at Pimlico. The distance shouldn’t be an issue, being
out of Awesome Again and a Tiznow mare, Definitely one to watch both this Saturday and in the future.
Street Life, by Street Sense out of Stone Hope, by Grindstone, bred in Kentucky
Owners: Magnolia Racing Stables LLC and Hidden
Trainer: Chad Brown
DP/DI/CD=5-3-8-0-0 3.00 0.81
Comments: Another horse who is really on the improve is the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. He rallied from 10th up to finish
3rd in the Peter Pan and should immediately relish this distance given his breeding. Street Sense, as we mentioned was a Derby winner, a nd Street
Life’s mare is out of 1996 Derby winner Grindstone. This guy should be able to run all day, and is a must-use at the bottom of exotics
My Adonis, by Pleasantly Perfect out of Silent Justice by Elusive Quality. Bred in Kentucky
Owner: George & Lori Hall Year
Trainer: Kelly Breen
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
DP/DI/CD=2-9-10-0-1 2.67 0.50
Comments: Last year's winning owner/trainer combo returns to the Belmont with My Adonis, son of Breeder's Cup Classic winner Pleasantly
Perfect. This guy is another who should relish the 1 1/2 mile distance. He's run competitively against some of the top 3 year olds during prep season,
including Gemologist, Hansen, and Algorithims. He'll get the services of Ramon Dominguez, New York's leading rider, that certainly won't
Optimizer, by English Channel out of Indy Pick, by AP Indy, bred in Kentucky
Owner: Bluegrass Hall LLC Year
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Corey Nakatani
DP/DI/CD=10-7-10-2-2 3.24 0.81
Comments: D. Wayne Lukas is back again with Optimizer, as it seems that D. Wayne just can’t stay away from the classics, regardless whether the
horse deserves to be here or not. Besides his second place run in the Rebel back in March, Optimizer has been soundly beaten in all of his graded
races, including the Derby and Preakness. Once this Triple Crown is over, we expect Optimizer to really flourish as a turf horse, as his sire,
English Channel was one of the best turf runners in recent memory.
Atigun, by Istan out of Rimini Road, by Dyanformer, bred in Kentucky
Owner: Shortleaf Stable Inc.
Trainer: Kenneth McPeek
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
DP/DI/CD=5-3-12-0-0 2.33 0.65
Comments: The more experienced of McPeek’s two entries is Atigun, who seems well below these, even if he’s at his best. He is reunited with Julien
Leparoux, who was his rider in his most impressive win, which was on the Derby day undercard. He tried the Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes,
but was beaten handily in both. Being out of a Dynaformer mare, he looks like another who could have his best success on turf later in his career.
Unstoppable U, by Exchange Rate out of Nassem, by Point Given, bred in Kentucky
Owner: Magdalena Racing
Trainer: Kenneth McPeek
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
DP/DI/CD=5-4-9-0-0 3.00 0.78
Comments: The more talented of McPeek’s two entries is Unstoppable U., who is undefeated in two career starts, but obviously lacks experience.
He does seems like he wants to run long, as he’s out of a Point Given mare. Point Given, of course, won the 2000 Preakness and Belmont in dominating
fashion, and remains one of the best three-year olds in recent memory. McPeek shocked the world at the Belmont in 2002 with 70-1 Sarava.
Could he do it again?
Five Sixteen, by Invasor out of Third Street, by Salt Lake, bred in Kentucky
Owner: MEB Racing Stables LLC Year
Trainer: Dominick Schettino
Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
DP/DI/CD=2-0-4-0-0 2.00 0.67
Comments: Here’s one that we just don’t see making an impact on Saturday. One positive is that he’s out of Breeder’s Cup Classic winner, Invasor,
so he should be able to handle the distance. Veteran trainer Schettino is a long-time New York Horseman, who is just trying to pick up a piece of
the purse on Sat. Rosie Napravnik will attempt to become the second female jockey to win the Belmont (Julie Krone, 1992, on Colonial Affair).
Ravelo’s Boy, by Lawyer Ron out of Dance Tune, by French Deputy, bred in Kentucky
Owner: Korina Stable
Trainer: Manuel J. Azpurua
Jockey: Alex Solis
DP/DI/CD=2-2-4-0-0 3.00 0.75
Comments: Ravelo’s Boy is the most experienced horse in the field, having ran 13 times with two wins and two thirds. Not the most ringing
endorsement for a classic, but they wanted to take a shot, so who are we to stand in their way. Being out of Lawyer Ron, we’d expect that he can
get the 1 1/2, but we don’t see him being very competitive. He ran 5th in the Tampa Bay Derby and 6th in the Sammy Davis, earlier in the year.
Guyana Star Dweej, by Eddington out of Special Feeling, by Pine Bluff, bred in Kentucky
Owner: Shivmangal Racing Stables
Odds Trainer: Doodnauth Shivmangal
50-1 Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
DP/DI/CD=9-12-9-2-0 3.00 0.71
Comments: This well-bred son of Eddington is probably in over his head in here, but like a few of the others, is just looking to pick up a piece of
the purse. His breeding suggests he’ll handle the distance, as his bloodlines feature classic winners Unbridled (1990 Kentucky Derby, 1990
Breeders’ Cup Classic) and Pine Bluff (1992 Preakness).