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Jun 03, 2011

American Turf Club Lead

            As of this writing it looks like the top seven finishers in the Kentucky Derby might return in the Belmont Stakes on June 11 which would be a record marking the first time the first seven finishers in the Kentucky Derby also competed in the Belmont Stakes.

            Animal Kingdom, Nehro, Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford, Master of Hounds, Santiva, and Brilliant Speed were the first seven finishers in the Kentucky Derby and are scheduled to run back in the Belmont. Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby but came up short in the Preakness to Shackleford checking in second. Nehro, who was second in the Kentucky Derby in a solid effort didn’t run in the Preakness and instead waited to run in the Belmont. Even though there is not a Triple Crown chance again this year leaving the last Triple Crown winner as Affirmed in 1978, this Belmont Stakes is setting up as one of the best betting races we have seen in a while. There are many horses that will have a legitimate chance if the race shapes up as advertised with Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, and Nehro taking the bulk of the money. However, with some other horses taking their shot it should make for some nice betting opportunities.

            This past weekend in New York as tradition on Memorial Day weekend, Belmont hosted the Grade I Metropolitan Mile. The Met Mile which is run over a one turn mile at Belmont carries a purse of $500,000 and is eligible to three year olds and upward and is a handicap race. The co-highweights in the race were Aikenite and Tackleberry both four year olds. The favorite in the race was Tizway, who was breaking from the far outside post 11 with the popular New York bred Haynesfield going off as the second choice in the race. As the gates opened Tackleberry was sent right to the lead with Tizway not far behind in second through a moderate opening quarter mile in 23 flat. As they moved down the long backstretch at Belmont, Tizway took over the lead heading into the far turn past the half in 45:2, as they entered the lane Tizway began to draw away opening up a four length lead past the ¾ mark in a solid 1;08:3, at this time Caixa Eletronica moved into second as Tackleberry began to tire. As they continued to the wire Tizway held solid to the wire to win by almost three lengths in a very fast 1:32:4, longshot Rodman, sent off as the longest shot in the race at 36-1 finished up well on the inside part of the track to finish a clear second with Caixa Eletronica checking in third. Aikenite and Haynesfield were fourth and fifth respectively. Tizway has shown an affinity for the Belmont strip and at times has shown flashes of brilliance. Although he just won the Met Mile, Tizway’s trainer H. James Bond, has said that he would like to run Tizway in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 and ¼ miles at Churchill Downs. He will aim Tizway towards the August 6th Whitney at Saratoga and the October 1st Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. If he can hold his form in what looks like a down year for the older male division Tizway can definitely make his presence felt.

In other news Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year and the only mare to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, is in foal after a second mating to Bernardini. The 60 day ultrasound confirmed that her second pregnancy is proceeding without problems so far.

At Calder owner Frank Calabrese has decided to take his 48 horses stabled in South Florida and ship them to Monmouth Park. Calabrese, who usually spends his summers at Arlington Park in Illinois had decided to stay year long in South Florida. However, five weeks into the meeting he has changed his mind citing the threat of a purse cut because of the ongoing dispute between the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Calder management as well as the economics of racing here. “They’re talking about cutting purses from 10 to 15 percent here, and I’ll lose a ton of money if I stay and they do that,” said Calabrese. “I called Monmouth and they gave me 48 stalls, so we’re moving out Monday.” Calder’s racing secretary and general manager of racing were both disappointed to see Calabrese leave but said they understood the reasoning for his decision. Calabrese, who owns a home locally, said he does plan to return to the area in November. The Calder season ends on Dec. 2. “Gulfstream opens its backstretch in November, and as soon as it does, we’ll be back here.”


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