Probable Contenders for the Belmont Stakes

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Multiplier, the Grade 3 Illinois Derby winner who was sixth in the Preakness Stakes at 19-1 odds, will run in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets, unless a reason surfaces that he shouldn’t, trainer Brendan Walsh said Thursday at Churchill Downs.

“But he’s giving me every indication right now that he’s doing great,” he said.

Walsh said he’ll probably be in the saddle for a routine pre-Belmont workout, which likely will be Saturday at Keeneland. Multiplier is scheduled to fly out of Louisville Tuesday on the Tex Sutton equine charter to New York.

Joel Rosario, aboard in the Preakness, will have the Belmont mount, Walsh said. The roan son of the very fast horse The Factor was purchased privately by Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel and George Kerr after the Illinois Derby.

“I thought he ran well. He was sixth but beaten three-quarters of a length for third and we didn’t have a very good trip,” Walsh said of the Preakness. “He got shuffled right back at the start. When they turned for home, he was really coming with a run. If you watch it, he got stopped at the head of the straight twice. And he’s not a horse that needs that. He needs to get rolling; he doesn’t need to be stopped. He came back rolling again, but then it was too late. I think there were a couple of horses unlucky not to be third in the race.

“[The Belmont] might be his race. Even going to the Preakness, I was hoping he’d run a race good enough to justify going to the Belmont. Even though he’s not really bred to go that far, he’s got plenty of stamina in his back family. Who knows? I think the track will suit him, that he’s cut out for that. Joel knows him now, too. I think he’s a horse you’ve got to know a little bit. He does need a very, very aggressive rider. He knows that now, too, so that’s going to be a big plus as well.”

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Trainer Tom Albertrani reported Thursday morning that he was more than happy with Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan contender Sadler’s Joy, coming off a strong third-place finish in the Grade 1 Man o’ War after encountering traffic in the stretch only to miss second by a nose,

Last Sunday, the 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy breezed four furlongs in 50.99 seconds on the main track for his penultimate work heading into the race.

“We’re doing super going into the Manhattan,” said Albertrani. “We’ll probably just give him a maintenance work on either Monday or Tuesday since he worked a couple of days ago, but he’s doing well.

“I thought he ran a really good race in the Man o’ War,” he added. “Unfortunately, he got trapped inside almost the entire race and I thought he would’ve clearly been second best in there if he was able to get a way out earlier on. He ran huge and it seems like he’s been making good forward steps with every race.”

Albertrani noted that Sadler’s Joy will have to clear a new hurdle in the June 10 Manhattan: a cut back in distance to 1 1/4 miles following the 1 3/8-mile Man o’ War and a Grade 2 win at 1 1/2 miles in the Pan American on April 1 at Gulfstream Park.

“The only thing against us I’d say would be the distance,” said Albertrani. “He’s won at that distance last year against a little weaker competition, but naturally this would be a real test for him.”

Albertrani added Smooth Daddy, winner of the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May 6, came out of his race in good order. Initially under consideration for the Manhattan, Albertrani said he will be pointed to another spot. Albertrani also said that multiple grade stakes placed runner Giant Run had suffered a minor injury exiting a fourth-place running on March 4 in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream but should rejoin his barn for a summer campaign.

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The inclusion of Multiplier brings the number of confirmed runners to nine for the 149th running of the longest and final leg of racing’s vaunted Triple Crown, the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets. Likely runners also include Grade 3 Peter Pan runner-up Meantime, Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, Grade 2 Louisiana Derby runner-up Patch, and Grade 2 Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry, all pending workouts this weekend.

The three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, on June 8-10, is comprised of 15 graded stakes, including six Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, worth more than $9 million in total purses.

Probable contenders for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes
Probable: Classic Empire (Mark Casse); Epicharis (Kiyoshi Hagiwara); J Boys Echo (Dale Romans); Lookin At Lee (Steve Asmussen); Meantime (Brian Lynch); Multiplier (Brendan Walsh); Senior Investment (Kenny McPeek); Tapwrit (Todd Pletcher); True Timber (Kiaran McLaughlin); Twisted Tom (Chad Brown)
Possible: Gormley (John Shirreffs); Irish War Cry (Graham Motion); Patch (Pletcher)

Probables for the 2017 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival:
Grade 3, $250,000 Intercontinental
Probable: Conquest Babayaga (Chad Brown); Fair Point (Shug McGaughey); Mississippi Delta (Mark Casse); Nobody’s Fault (Neil Pessin); Outsider Art (Jonathan Sheppard); Portmagee (Christophe Clement); Rapid Rhythm (Michael Stidham); Ruby Notion (Wesley Ward); Take These Chains (C. Brown)
Possible:Miss Ella/Miss Katie Mae (Graham Motion); Sassy Little Lila (Brad Cox)

Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again
Probable: Coasted (Leah Gyarmati); Corporate Queen (Casse); Dream Dancing (Casse); Enchanting Kitten (C. Brown); Fifty Five (C. Brown); New Money Honey (C. Brown)
Possible: Journey Home (Motion)

$150,000 Astoria
Probable: Amberspatriot (John A. Hancock); Contrarity (Hugh McMahon); One Last Cast (Todd Pletcher); Sugar Queen (Pletcher); Waki Patriot (Hancock)
Possible: Best Performance (Clement)

Grade 2, $500,000 New York
Probable: Achnaha (George Weaver); Apple Betty (McGaughey); Dacita (C. Brown); Kitten’s Roar (Mike Maker); Quidura (Motion); Sea Calisi (C. Brown); Suffused (Bill Mott); Summersault (Mark Hennig); Time and Motion (Jimmy Toner)
Possible: Hawksmoor (Arnaud Delacour); Sassy Little Lila (Cox)

Grade 2, $250,000 True North
Probable: El Deal (Jorge Navarro); Fellowship (Kenneth Decker); Green Gratto (Gaston Grant); Holy Boss (Steve Asmussen); Noholdingback Bear (Brian Lynch); Roy H (Peter Miller); Stallwalkin’ Dude (David Jacobson)
Possible: A. P. Indian (Delacour); Always Sunshine (Edward Allard)

Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational
Probable: Bigger Picture (Maker); Bullards Alley (Tim Glyshaw); Clondaw Warrior (Willie Mullins); Hunter O’Riley (Toner); Now We Can (Nick Clement); Patterson Cross (Mott); Red Cardinal (Andreas Wohler); Renown (Elizabeth Voss); Roman Approval (David Cannizzo); Some in Tieme (Kenny McPeek); St Michel (Sir Mark Prescott); Taghleeb (Maker); Wall of Fire (Hugo Palmer); Wicklow Brave (Mullins)

Grade 3, $250,000 Bed o’ Roses Invitational
Probable: By the Moon (Michelle Nevin); Flora Dora (Marialice Coffey); High Ridge Road (Linda Rice); Indulgent (McLaughlin); Lightstream (Lynch); Mia Torri (Navarro); Quezon (Robert Ribaudo); Rachel’s Temper (David Cannizzo); Tale for Ruby (Barclay Tagg); Wheatfield (Nick Zito)

$150,000 Tremont
Probable: Admiral Jimmy (Pletcher); Analyze Your Luck (Pletcher); Analyze the Odds (Pletcher); Presence of Mind (Weaver); Salmanazar (Pletcher); Wonder How (John Salzman)
Possible: Ten City (McPeek)

Grade 1, $1.2 million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan H.
“Win and You’re In Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Division”
Probable: Awesome Slew (Casse); Denman’s Call (Doug O’Neill); Economic Model (C. Brown); Inside Straight (Robertino Diodoro); Mohaymen (McLaughlin); Mor Spirit (Bob Baffert); Rally Cry (Pletcher); Seymourdini (Rice); Sharp Azteca (Jorge Navarro); Solid Wager (Peter Miller); Tom’s Ready (Dallas Stewart); Tommy Macho (Pletcher)

Grade 1, $1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan
Probable: Applicator (Mikhail Yanakov); Ascend (Motion); Beach Patrol (C. Brown); Divisidero (Buff Bradley); Potemkin (Andreas Wohler); Sadler’s Joy (Albertrani); Time Test (C. Brown); Wake Forest (C. Brown); World Approval (Casse)

Grade 1, $750,000 Ogden Phipps
“Win and You’re In Breeders’ Cup Distaff Division”
Probable: Carina Mia (Bill Mott); Factory of Faith (Joe Sharp); Highway Star (Rodrigo Ubillo); Paid Up Subscriber (C. Brown); Songbird (Jerry Hollendorfer)
Possible: Annie Rocks (Jason Servis); Bar of Gold (John Kimmel)

Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn
Probable: Abel Tasman (Baffert); Benner Island (Cox); Florida Fabulous (Fawkes); My Miss Tapit (Pletcher); Nikki My Darling (Dominic Giglio); Salty (Casse); Sweet Loretta (Pletcher); Tequilita (Michael Matz); Union Strike (Ruis)
Possible: Sailor’s Valentine (Kenneally); Yellow Agate (Christophe Clement)

Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just A Game
Probable: Antonoe (C. Brown); Celestine (Clement); Dickinson (McLaughlin); Prize Exhibit (James Cassidy); Roca Rojo (C. Brown)
Possible: Harmonize (Mott); Hawksmoor (Delacour); Sassy Little Lila (Brad Cox)

Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens
Probable: American Anthem (Baffert); Aquamarine (D. Wayne Lukas); Classic Rock (Kathy Ritvo); Conquest Mo Money (Miguel Hernandez); Gold for the King (Charlie Baker); Hard Scramble (Asmussen); Long Haul Bay (C. Brown); The Money Monster (Mott); Wild Shot (Rusty Arnold)
Possible: Recruiting Ready (Horacio DePaz)

Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational
Probable: Doyouknowsomething (A.C. Avila); Behesht (Arnold); Governor Malibu (Clement); Idolo Porteno (Ignacio Correas, IV); Send It In (Pletcher); Sunny Ridge (Jason Servis); Tu Brutus (Gary Contessa); War Story (Navarro)

Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational
Probable: Canadian Flyer (Mott); Conquest Enforcer (Giglio); Disco Partner (Clement); Green Mask (Cox); Hogy (Larry Rivelli); Holding Gold (Casse); Loose on the Town (Lynch); Pure Sensation (Clement); Stormy Liberal (Miller); Tombelaine (C. Brown), Undrafted (Ward); Why Two (Michael Machowsky)
Possible: Always Sunshine (Allard)

$150,000 Easy Goer
Probable: Giuseppe the Great (Zito); West Coast (Baffert)
Possible: Sonic Mule (Pletcher)

That’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to teach him. I wanted to give him a good schooling and see how he reacted. In the end he ran good, just a little green that’s it.”

John Velazquez, Jockey of Noble Indy (third)

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