COUNTDOWN TO BROWN
2:38 UPDATE..DOUBLE CHAMP TRUE 'MET' IN TOWN
Belmont Park is not the only place with a blockbuster card on Saturday....WOODBINE has 11 races on tap including the GRADE 3 ECLISPE HANDICAP, featuring two-time older horse champion in Canada TRUE METROPOLITAN. The Proud and True Florida-bred won his season debut in Vancouver and is meeting 5 rivals on Saturday in the 1 1/16 mile test including champion 3yo colt of last year ALEZZANDRO, Ben Ali H. winner STERWINS and American stakes winner BESTOWED.
ELEVEN fellows are in the co-featured STEADY GROWTH STAKES later on the card including multiple stakes winning 7yo ARCH HALL.
UPDATE ..UPDATE.. UPDATE
Melnyk-bred late entrant in Belmont
GUADALCANAL, a maiden after 5 races for trainer Fred Seitz, was entered in the Belmont Stakes today. The field of 10 was drawn this morning.
GUADALCANAL (Graeme Hall) is out of a Quest for Fame mare that ran at Woodbine - Bessette.
Belmont Post Positions
Horse Jockey Odds
1 Big Brown Desormeaux 2-5
2 Guadalcanal Castellano 50-1
3 Macho Again Gomez 20-1
4 Denis of Cork Albarado 12-1
5 Casino Drive Prado 7-2
6 Da’ Tara Garcia 30-1
7 Tale of Ekati Coa 20-1
8 Anak Nakal Leparoux 30-1
9 Ready’s Echo Velazquez 30-1
10 Icabad Crane Rose 20-1
ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORT ON BIG BROWN'S WORKOUT
The narrator is reading a script that seems to have been written by someone who does not know racing but otherwise, a good little report and footage of Big Brown's workout.
Thanks to YOUTUBE.
BELMONT PROBABLE FIELD
Anak Nakal N. Zito J. Leparoux
Big Brown R. Dutrow Jr. K. Desormeaux
Casino Drive K. Fujisawa E. Prado
Denis of Cork D. Carroll R. Albarado
Icabad Crane H. G. Motion J. Rose
Macho Again D. Stewart G. Gomez
Ready's Echo T. Pletcher J. Velazquez
*Tale of Ekati B. Tagg E. Coa
Da' Tara N. Zito A. Garcia
CAN HE DO IT?
MY LAST TRIP TO THE BELMONT STAKES
There are lots of you out there who have seen the NEAR MISSES in American Triple Crown history.
Who can forget the deafening silence and Tom Durkin's almost depressed call as BIRDSTONE went past SMARTY JONES to win the Belmont 4 years ago?
That is what makes the Triple Crown special - only 11 winners since 1919 when SIR BARTON won it (before it was known as the Triple Crown).
Good grief, SPECTACULAR BID - he didn't win it. Incredible.
This writer's last trip to BELMONT (for the Belmont Stakes) was 1989.
As an avid EASY GOER fan, I had been frustrated that the exciting big chestnut had been beaten twice by that sleep black thing (Sunday Silence). I would go to the Belmont and cheer on my guy myself.
Turns out he didn't need me as Easy Goer romped by the length of the stretch, loving the wide, expansive turns of the track and the 1 1/2 mile distance.
Is BIG BROWN the one? The crop just is not that good this year, he very well may be.
And how cool will it be on Saturday to find out?
WHO WON THE FIRST 2 LEGS AND NOT THE BELMONT?
(since Northern Dancer in 1964)
Year Kentucky Derby Preakness Belmont Stakes
2004 Smarty Jones Smarty Jones 2nd (Birdstone)
2003 Funny Cide Funny Cide 3rd (Empire Maker)
2002 War Emblem War Emblem 8th (Sarava)
1999 Charismatic Charismatic 3rd (Lemon Drop Kid)
1998 Real Quiet Real Quiet 2nd (Victory Gallop)
1997 Silver Charm Silver Charm 2nd (Touch Gold)
1989 Sunday Silence Sunday Silence 2nd (Easy Goer)
1987 Alysheba Alysheba 4th (Bet Twice)
1981 Pleasant Colony Pleasant Colony 3rd (Summing)
1979 Spectacular Bid Spectacular Bid 3rd (Coastal)
1971 Canonero II Canonero II 4th (Pass Catcher)
1969 Majestic Prince Majestic Prince 2nd (Arts and Letters)
1968 Forward Pass Forward Pass 2nd (Stage Door Johnny)
1966 Kauai King Kauai King 4th (Amberoid)
1964 Northern Dancer Northern Dancer 3rd (Quadrangle)
RAGOZIN SHEETS TALKS BELMONT
EXCERPT FROM ED FOUNTAINE
WARY OF 'BIG' BOUNCE
BUT SUB-PAR FOES STILL GIVE 'BROWN' THE EDGE
By ED FOUNTAINE
NEW YORK POST
"His Derby was a top-class effort," (Len) Friedman told The Post yesterday. "[But] he's been very fortunate in the quality of his opposition. This 3-year-old crop is weak overall, well below average based on the last 5-10 years. If you took Big Brown out, this year is the worst.
"He could afford to be four or five wide around the track [in the Derby] because he was that much better than what he was running against. If Big Brown had the same trip against Smarty Jones or Barbaro, he would have lost."
Sheets devotees believe a horse that just ran a top number will "bounce" (regress) in its next race, unless given time to recover between starts - which is why Dutrow was so concerned about the two-week turnaround between the Derby and Preakness. Indeed, Big Brown did bounce in Baltimore.
"He reacted [from the Derby] to run a 33/4 in the Preakness," Friedman said. "That would not have won in very many years. He ran against an extremely soft field."
Big Brown is often compared with Smarty Jones, who also was undefeated when he bid for the Triple Crown in 2004, only to lose the Belmont by a length to Birdstone.
"Smarty Jones put together a series of great races," said Friedman. "Big Brown has that one big effort, but Smarty Jones, at this point, had a stronger, more consistent campaign."
Smarty's previous races "absolutely" set him up for a bounce in the Belmont, Friedman said, "but he ran pretty well. He got beat because [Birdstone] jumped up and ran big, not because he ran bad."
What do the Sheets say about Big Brown's chances Saturday?
"I'd say he's about 50-50 to win, which means he'll be one of the big underlays of all time," Friedman said. "Smarty Jones, I felt, was about even-money also. But it's not bad to be going for the Triple Crown with a 50-percent chance. Most of the others, I thought, were anywhere from 5-1 to 20-1 underdogs. It's very hard to run three big races in five weeks."
Casino Drive, the Japanese invader, ran a 23/4 winning the Peter Pan, the best Sheets number of the other Belmont runners, "but how can anybody read that horse?" Friedman said. "Maybe his last race was the end of the line, maybe he's a superhorse who'll run the big number in the Belmont.
"The rest," Friedman said, "are much slower than Big Brown. They'd have to jump up just to get in the ballpark."
WOODBINE OAKS DRAW TOMORROW
Maple Leafs GM CLIFF FLETCHER is wooing hockey coach RON WILSON and it looks as if the former San Jose Sharks coach will try to guide our Maple Leafs starting next year.
FLETCHER will be on hand at WEGZ STADIUM BAR tomorrow for the WOODBINE OAKS draw, the $500,000 race for Canada's top 3yo fillies.
The Oaks field is very much up in the air and that is to be expected.
The favourite GINGER BREW won the Calder Oaks and has a decided edge over her rivals, however. In 5 races, she has won 3 times and lost the other two by 3/4 and 1/2 a length. She has a 94 Beyer Figure on grass and an 87 in a dirt race. She won her maiden on Polytrack.
The others that have at least run at 80 Beyer this year include SHILLA (81, Fury Stakes, sprint) , SUGAR BAY (82,maiden win sprint), MONEY MY HONEY (a pair of 82's, one at 9 furlongs), ANNE'S PURSE (80 in maiden win, sprint, Lady Angela Stake dropped to 79).
The others are lucky to have reached 75 on the Beyer scale.
But hey, after HARLEM ROCKER lost at 1 to 5 in the PLATE TRIAL, who can blame people for throwing their horses in?
Anne's Purse/Big C Little C Stable/Earl Barnett/Eurico Rosa da Silva
(Porto Foricos-Blue Spanish Eyes, Regal Classic, bred by Big C Little C)
Authenicat/Vinery LLC/Josie Carroll/Indefinite
(D'Wildcat-Authentic Deed, Alydeed, bred by Gail Wood)
Ginger Brew/Stronach Stables Inc./Brian Lynch/Javier Castellano
(Milwaukee Brew-Coral Necklace, Conquistador Cielo bred by Adena Springs)
Initforreal/Rowbotham, Lindskog, MacKinnon, Richer & Boogmans/Arthur
(Real Quiet-Favored One, by Son of Briartic,bred by Richard Lister)
Lady d'Wildcat/Shyman Farm/Steve Roberts/Emma-Jayne Wilson
(D'Wildcat-Avenue's Lady, Avenue of Flags, bred by Shyman Farm)
Money My Honey/Stronach Stables Inc./Brian Lynch/Indefinite
(Red Bullet-Collect the Cash, Dynaformer, bred by Adena Springs)
Nicki Knew/Knob Hill Stable/Kevin Attard/Jono Jones
(Tethra-Panteccaria, San Romano bred by Knob Hill Stables)
Northern Kraze/Anderson Farms and Partner/Mark Frostad/Chantal
(Aljabr-Baraha, Dayjur bred by Anderson Farms)
Shilla/Victura Farm/Nick Gonzalez/David Clark
(Marquetry-Papoose, bred by Brian Cullen)
Sugar Bay/Augustin Stable/Mac Benson/Corey Fraser
(Syncline-Otra Vez by Rahy, bred by Augustin Stable)
Victory Romance/Donver Stable/Josie Carroll/Emile Ramsammy
(Slew City Slew-Moonbeam Dancing, Dance Brightly, bred by Donver Stable, Alberta)
OTHER POSSIBILITIES - MRS. BEGAN, WIND IN MY WINGS
SCORE SHOW CONTINUES BATTLE ROYAL
Watch the next round of QUEEN'S PLATE'S from the 1970's tonight on THE SCORE cable channel, Canada-wide. The show also features som BELMONT STAKES NEWS plus a funny feature on trainer (and new Hall of Famer) ROBERT TILLER.
Don't forget to get your picks in for the 123 contest too!
The LEGENDS ON TOUR promotion - jockeys Pat Day, Jorge Velasquez and others, is expected to stop at Northlands Park this summer according to a report in the EDMONTON SUN today. The LEGENDS ON TOUR began this year and has been to Churchill Downs.
DOUG SALVATORE writes about a dead rail bias at Presque Isle...