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May 21, 2010

Belmont Stakes prospect preps in turf race


Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - New Madrid, a Belmont Stakes candidate, faded down the stretch Thursday at Belmont Park in his first race in more than a month. The three-year-old colt was using the optional claiming event as a prep for the final leg in the Triple Crown.

Trained by Tim Ice, New Madrid and jockey John Velazquez took the lead coming out of the gate in the 1 1/8-mile turf contest. The colt ws making his first start since finishing sixth to Line of David in the Arkansas Derby. This was just his fifth career start.

New Madrid, owned by Shortleaf Stable, set the pace up the backstretch with Syo Defenceman to the inside in second. Spanish Art, the 2-1 favorite, was racing off the pace in sixth while 3-1 second choice Elusive Beat was running last.

Around the turn for home Kindergarden Kid made a sweeping move and took the lead heading into the stretch. New Madrid, 6-1 on the tote board, and Syo Defenceman both faded down the stretch.

Kindergarden Kid, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, held off a late running Cherokee Speed to win the grass race by three-quarters of a length. Spanish Art finished third followed by Elusive Beat, New Madrid, Wild Entry and Syo Defenceman.

Sent off at 7-1, Kindergarden Kid covered the 1 1/8-miles in 1:49.74 on a firm turf course.

In other Belmont Stakes news, Stay Put had his final Churchill Downs work in preparation for the 1 1/2-mile Test of Champions on Saturday, June 5. The chestnut colt worked six furlongs in 1:14 with jockey Jamie Theriot. The three-year-old is owned by Bertram, Richard and Elaine Klein, and trained by Steve Margolis.

"It was very good. Jamie said he finished well and I got him galloping out in 1:28 and a mile in 1:42," Margolis said. "He will ship to Belmont next Thursday, train Friday and then work a half-mile Saturday or Sunday. We always thought he had talent. Jamie says he never seems to get tired and his Derby Day race was impressive in the way he did it."

Stay Put won an allowance race at Churchill Downs that began the May 1 program. The colt was fifth in both the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.

Preakness runner-up First Dude, trained by Dale Romans, is scheduled to leave Louisville on Friday for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes. Owned by Donald Dizney, First Dude was 23-1 in the Preakness after finishing fifth in the Florida Derby to Ice Box and third to Stately Victor in the Blue Grass Stakes.

A pair of Belmont Stakes probables have been withdrawn from consideration. Dublin and Setsuko will not be entered in the race.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Dublin was seventh in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness. His defection means that no horse will have started in all three Triple Crown races this year.

Setsuko, Santa Anita Derby runner-up, has inflammation in his ankles and will remain in California. Trained by Richard Mandella, the colt was second in the Sham Stakes in March, but did not have enough graded stakes earnings to enter the Kentucky Derby. On April 30 he was fourth in the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs.

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