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May 27, 2010

Probable Belmont Stakes favorite training at Saratoga


Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box, the probable Belmont Stakes favorite, is being trained for the Test of Champions at Saratoga Race Course by Nick Zito. The colt will be one of two horses that the Hall of Fame trainer will run in the final jewel of racing's Triple Crown.

Owned by Robert LaPenta, Ice Box will be joined by Richard Pell's Fly Down in the 1 1/2-mile race on Saturday, June 5. Fly Down is coming off a victory in the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on May 8.

On Wednesday Ice Box galloped almost two miles on the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course. The Florida Derby champ will likely have a breeze Thursday morning.

Fly Down worked four-furlongs last Saturday in 49 2/5 seconds. Zito plans to bring both colts to Belmont Park next Wednesday.

"Right now, everything is positive and we want to keep it that way," Zito said. "I'm going to stay here, take care of the horses, and go from there."

Ice Box is the winner of three of eight career starts with $906,535. Fly Down has earned $182,070 in five starts and three lifetime wins.

Make Music for Me, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, has been galloping at Belmont Park for trainer Alexis Barba.

Owned by Peter and Ellen Johnson, Make Music for Me has nine career starts with one win and two second-place finishes. The colt has earned $362,260.

Preakness runner-up First Dude also took a gallop around Belmont Park on Wednesday morning. First Dude is trained by Dale Romans for owner Donald Dizney.

"He's doing great," said exercise rider Tammy Fox, who is overseeing First Dude?s preparations for the Belmont Stakes. "He's getting over the track fine; he's just floating right over it. He's such a big horse with a long stride, and you don't feel like he's doing anything. He's real easy on himself."

First Dude has one win in seven career starts for $352,160. He was fifth in the Florida Derby and third in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Also expected to start in the 142nd Belmont Stakes are Game On Dude, Stately Victor, Drosselmeyer, Stay Put, Uptowncharlybrown, and Spangled Star.

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