Nestled between Games 5 and 6 of the Cup finals, the Belmont Stakes will be running for the 143rd time on June 11. Nicknamed “The Test of a Champion”, it’s one of the few dirt races still contested at 1.5 miles (2.4 KM). Despite the decline in thoroughbred stamina over the years, it’s not likely to be shortened. The winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Animal Kingdom and Shackleford, are both likely to be entered in the big race. Mucho Macho Man, who has a knack of finding trouble in these big races, will also start. According to his trainer, he lost his right shoe in the Preakness, which could have been a factor in his poor showing.
All three horses will have a 3 week layoff to prep for the Belmont. That’s a tall order for the modern thoroughbred, with many horses being lightly raced and not accustomed to running 3 demanding races in the span of 5 weeks. Right now, Master of Hounds stands out among this field. He mounted a late charge in the Kentucky Derby to come a respectable 5th, and proved he can handle dirt racing and heavy traffic. At the time of the Derby, his only knock was that he had one prep race in 2011. Well, now he’s got two under the proverbial belt.
|Belmont Stakes contenders|
|Animal Kingdom||Graham Motion||2nd – Preakness|
|Brilliant Speed||Tom Albertrani||7th – Ky. Derby|
|Master of Hounds||Aidan O’Brien||5th – Ky. Derby|
|Monzon||Ignacio Correas IV||6th – Peter Pan|
|Mucho Macho Man||Kathy Ritvo||6th – Preakness|
|Nehro||Steve Asmussen||2nd – Ky. Derby|
|Prime Cut||Neil Howard||3rd – Peter Pan|
|Ruler On Ice||Kelly Breen||2nd – Federico Tesio|
|Santiva||Eddie Kenneally||6th – Ky. Derby|
|Shackleford||Dale Romans||1st – Preakness|
|Stay Thirsty||Todd Pletcher||12th – Ky. Derby|