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May 23, 2014

Derby runner-up targets Belmont Stakes


Elmont, NY ( - Last year six horses came out of the Kentucky Derby to compete in the Preakness Stakes. This year five 3-year-olds went to the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown from a start in the Run for the Roses.

Neither year did the Derby runner-up make the two-week turn around.

In 2013, Golden Soul finished second to Orb in the Kentucky Derby as a 34-1 longshot. This year, Commanding Curve at 37-1 made a late run to get second to California Chrome and then get a rest for a try in the 146th Belmont Stakes on June 7.

"He's big, strong horse who just seems to get better as his races get longer, so in theory the Belmont should be a perfect fit for him," said Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds, owner of Commanding Curve. "We're in it to win it. Period. That said, if it's not our day on June 7, I'd be very happy to see California Chrome get the job done. He's an amazing horse with a touching rags-to-riches story. It just goes to show that a good horse can come from anywhere."

Commanding Curve will try to post a better result this year than Golden Soul did when finishing ninth in the 2013 Belmont Stakes. Golden Soul was 11-1 in the 145th Belmont about what Commanding Curve is probably slated for.

"He was so calm, cool, and collected during all the Derby hoopla and ran like I thought he would," trainer Dallas Stewart observed. "It didn't matter to me that he was a longshot, I had a ton of confidence in him, he's a real good horse. He's versatile enough that I don't think we need to be way off the pace in the Belmont like we were in the Derby."

Commanding Curve, who will again be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan in the Belmont Stakes, has shown improvement in each of his stakes races this year. Coming into the Run for the Roses he was third in the Louisiana Derby after finishing sixth in the Risen Star Stakes. His grandsire A.P. Indy won the 1992 Belmont Stakes and was voted that year's Horse of the Year as well as champion 3-year-old male.

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