05/30/2014 2:43PM

Another second chance for Stewart


ELMONT, N.Y. – Though Dallas Stewart is bringing the Kentucky Derby runner-up to the Belmont Stakes for the second consecutive year, the trainer believes the similarities between Commanding Curve and Golden Soul end there.

Stewart said that Commanding Curve, second to California Chrome at odds of 37-1 in the May 3 Kentucky Derby, came out of his effort better than did Golden Soul, second to Orb at odds of 34-1 in last year’s Derby. Golden Soul, who like Commanding Curve skipped the Preakness, finished ninth in the Belmont Stakes as the sixth betting choice in the 14-horse field.

Stewart said he was only able to work Golden Soul once in the five weeks between the Derby and the Belmont. Commanding Curve has already worked twice at Churchill Downs and was scheduled for another timed breeze on Sunday at Belmont Park in preparation for next Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes where California Chrome will attempt to become the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner.

“I think this horse came out of the race better than Golden Soul weight-wise,” Stewart said Thursday on a national conference call. “Golden Soul had lost some weight, I only worked him one time, struggled to get the weight back on him.

“This horse,” Stewart said, referring to Commanding Curve, “looks like he’s put on a lot of muscle since the race. He’s trained very steady, looks great to me, lot of things we like to see. He’s eating well, we’re coming up to the race in good shape.”

On Friday, Commanding Curve visited the Belmont main track for the first time and inadvertently galloped 2 3/8 miles because exercise rider Emerson Chavez backed up to the seven-furlong pole.

“He backed up just a little bit further than he was supposed to, no big deal,” Stewart said at Belmont on Friday. “He just went off like a hobby horse. He traveled well. He’s an easy horse. He doesn’t have a lot of particulars about him.”

Commanding Curve, a son of Master Command owned by the West Point Thoroughbreds, will attempt to become the first Kentucky Derby runner-up to win the Belmont since Empire Maker did it in 2003, upending the Triple Crown bid of Funny Cide. Since then, Derby runner-ups are 0 for 4 in the Belmont, including a ninth-place finish by Ice Box as the favorite in the 2010 Belmont.

Stewart was one of those who doubted California Chrome could win the Derby. He thought the combination of an inauspicious pedigree and conditioning based on easy victories in Kentucky Derby prep races might work against him.

“Oh yeah, I was wrong,” Stewart said. “The horse is just a runner.”

On Friday, California Chrome and Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin both visited the starting gate.

California Chrome, who has had a little trouble in the gate in some previous races, walked right in and stood perfectly. Alan Sherman, the assistant trainer for California Chrome, said his biggest concern is to make sure the horse is standing square in the gate.

“He has a tendency to spread his front feet a little bit, so as long as he stays square, that’s my main concern,” said Sherman, who added that he may take him to the gate one more time next week.”

After visiting the gate, California Chrome galloped 1 1/4 miles.

“He was really good today, he’s mature now. He’s figuring out what the gate is for,” said exercise rider Willie Delgado. “He goes into the gate, he thinks it’s time to run.”

Delgado said that California Chrome was so strong galloping through the stretch that “my arms were burning today. I really had to stand up to pull him up.”

Later in the morning, California Chrome was equipped with a new set of glue-on shoes that are affixed using nails. Blacksmith Judd Fisher said he first did this without telling the connections of California Chrome, and it began a week before he won the King Glorious Stakes, the first of six straight wins.

“I wanted to get him up off his sole a little bit more than he was,” Fisher said explaining why he uses nails to affix glue-on shoes.

Ride On Curlin, who broke a step slow in the Preakness, went to the gate after he galloped 1 3/8 miles, nearly running off with exercise rider Bryan Beccia around the clubhouse turn near the end of his session.

Kid Cruz, whose status for the Belmont is uncertain, worked six furlongs in 1:14.53 over the Belmont training track in company with the 3-year-old maiden A Marked Man. Kid Cruz, who began his work at the half-mile pole, galloped out seven furlongs in 1:28.17.

Afterward, trainer Linda Rice, who called the work “okay,” was noncommittal about running.

“Probably make a decision on whether we do or don’t go to the Belmont over the weekend,” Rice said.

After staying in the barn on Thursday, Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong had a solid 1 3/4-mile gallop over the training track.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

Charles Vitale More than 1 year ago
Wow Post position #4 for my winner Curve who will be sitting on Chrome's until the 1/8 pole, only to draw away and win by 5. my computer order of finish. 4-2-1-8-6
Christian Gannon More than 1 year ago
Two words of caution....Big.Brown.
wally More than 1 year ago
And the winner is ????? All depends on the pace
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Old / New shooters, this time its a bunch of junk & a weak crop behind CA CHROME Some how a race will be make of it, 2014 the FAVORITO gets the NOSE WIN unlike Smarty & Real Quiet
Gregory More than 1 year ago
The geniuses at DRF think red flags next to all their stories content will get someone excited enough to want to pay to see the whole story behind the headline. You know 3 year old stuff like peekaboo.
Jeff N More than 1 year ago
your webiste is a total fn joke###i used to really enjoy reading the articles about upcoming races, very informative. never gave any thoughts to your picks as i have had more derby winners picked the last ten years that any of your writers.. Equibase has much more information on entries alone. Good luck with your new business model, you will need it. I leave on this note, just open the website and look at the screen, does that look good and porfessional to you??? I think not.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Looks like you have to hit the spell button
P More than 1 year ago
If C Curve goes off at 5-2 it will suck. Rears back remember a couple years back 'Went the Day Well' closed hard, next race his odds dropped and did nothing. C. Curve should be 7-1 easy...also I don't believe Ride ob Curlin can win, he doesn't have any turn of foot after he starts to close...in any of his races and this will be the longest..exotics for sure. Hope Social Inclusion doesn't run. Samraat and General A Rod both in and I believe it will be a no for Kid Cruz his work was terrible and no on Candy Boy as well
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
In a 10+ horse field with a prohibitive favorite and at least two horses ranked ahead of him, Commanding Curve will be 12-1 or higher, a total sucker bet at any price IMO.
Bryan Tripoli More than 1 year ago
If General A Rod is truly 100% for the race, he's my upset pick. Horrible trip in the Derby, and lost 10 Lengths around the far turn in the Preakness having to stop behind the filly with the greedy owners who should have never been in the race. He closed just as fast as Curve in the Derby if you watch the blimp shot, and closed very well in the stretch at Pimlico after the debacle involving Ria Antonia on the turn. Give ROC's trip in the Preakness to General A Rod and the Triple crown mite not be up for grabs this weekend. Not saying I don't like Chrome, i think he's definitely the horse to beat, but if any horse has a shot to beat him, I think its A Rod.
Bryan Tripoli More than 1 year ago
Also, looking at pedigrees, A Rod and Curve have the best shot to get the 1 1/2 miles. A Rod is by Roman Ruler (who himself was sired by Fu Peg, a proven stamina source) out of a Dynaformer mare. The distance definitely won't be a problem for A Rod
Charles Vitale More than 1 year ago
I Curve goes off 7-1 this is going to be a BIG pay day for me! MY program show's 2-1 or 5-2. How many times have we been here (2 wins) going into the third. If I am wrong I lost a small amount of money to make a lot. If your right, you can have your 3-5. Which only win 33% of the time! 12 starter"s in the race - he has a 25% chance of winning. Curve finish 2nd to him, this gives him a 50% of losing and a 50% chance of winning. How much money do you want to collect, $16.00 or $3.80. Thick about it.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Try $2.80, can never rely on a CLOSER, the further they go less chance to win
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
You should revisit high school arithmetic. In a 12h field with a 3/5 favorite, it is mathematically impossible to have a second choice at 2-1, never mind that Ride on Curlin and Wicked Strong will be the ones vying for 2nd favoritism, Tonalist and Samraat vying for 4th, Commanding Curve and Medal Count vying for 6th. You'll get 20-1 and he's really not as good as Ice Box or Dullahan.
kmindeye More than 1 year ago
If Joel did not stiff Curlin it would of been game over for cali chrome. Both curve and curlin are the big closers if cali is able to finish it will be curlin curve, and cali in the tri. The three big "c".
Dom DiNatale More than 1 year ago
its would have not would of...just saying
Michael Jeffries More than 1 year ago
Please define stiff?
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
He means PULLED, I'll still give ya all my invite bet,since 3 May 2014....Give the rest of the FIELD at 4&1/2 - 1.......I take CC ... Ask any jock in the world, if given the choice, who they would ride here ? Its 500-1 for Ride on Curlin
Lefty More than 1 year ago
Commanding Curve finished how far back to Vicar's In Trouble in a Prep Race? No, Commanding Curve is Tomato Can! Good Luck, Pal!
Tim More than 1 year ago
it was 5 lengths in the LA derby, he was bumped at the start and forced to save ground then make one run at a horse who had it his own way the whole time. Didn't finish badly all things considered. Maybe you would have had a piece of the place or show or even the easy exacta in the KY derby if you knew how to handicap. Info courtesy of EQUIBASE's **FREE** race charts