05/30/2016 11:40AM

Belmont Doings: New experience for Creator

Barbara D. Livingston
Creator and trainer Steve Asmussen. Creator will try 1 1/2 miles for the first time, with a new rider, in his first start at Belmont Park.

Creator will try a new distance at a new track with a new rider when he competes in the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Creator, who won the Arkansas Derby before a troubled 13th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, will make his first start at Belmont Park in the last and longest of the Triple Crown races, the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, and he’ll be ridden by New York-based Irad Ortiz Jr., who was announced on Monday as Creator’s Belmont jockey.

For the past seven weeks, Creator has been stabled at Churchill Downs, where on Monday he worked five furlongs in 1:02 in company. Jockey Florent Geroux was aboard.

“It was a steady work, nothing crazy,” Geroux said.

“Nice and smooth, galloped out good,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “He’s doing well, traveling really good. We’re just keeping him in a nice, long rhythm.”

Alluding to the 1 1/2-mile Belmont distance, he said, “Obviously, staying is going to come into play.”

Creator, who rallied from last in the Arkansas Derby, began well back in the Kentucky Derby and was making what appeared to be a significant rally when he was stopped badly in severe traffic on the far turn. He was ridden that day by Ricardo Santana Jr., who has been on Creator for six of his nine starts, including the Arkansas Derby victory.

Elliott Walden, the president and chief executive of WinStar Farm, which owns Creator, said the success Ortiz has enjoyed in recent years on his home circuit in New York made him a desirable choice for the Belmont.

“He’s a great young rider,” Walden said.

Creator, a son of Tapit, has won twice in his nine starts. He did not defeat maidens until his sixth start, then was third in the Rebel Stakes prior to capturing the Arkansas Derby.

He gives WinStar two interests in the Belmont Stakes, with WinStar having acquired the breeding rights to Exaggerator after his victory in the Santa Anita Derby in April. Exaggerator is expected to be the strong Belmont favorite after capturing the Preakness Stakes on May 21.

Creator was scheduled to ship to New York on Tuesday, as were trainer Dale Romans’s two Belmont entrants, Brody’s Cause and Cherry Wine.

Asmussen said that the older sprinter Holy Boss would also be traveling to New York on Tuesday to compete in the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap going six furlongs on June 10. Counterforce, second last time out in the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico on May 21, went straight to Belmont from Pimlico, and Asmussen said he will run there June 11 in the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

Creator was one of two Asmussen trainees who competed in the Kentucky Derby. Gun Runner, third behind Nyquist and Exaggerator in the Derby, is being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on June 18 at Churchill Downs. On Monday, Gun Runner worked five furlongs without company in 1:01 under exercise rider Carlos Rosas.

Gun Runner captured the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in his two starts this year prior to the Kentucky Derby.

– additional reporting by Marty McGee

Potential Belmont Stakes Starters
Horse Trainer Jockey Last Race
Brody's Cause Dale Romans Luis Saez Ky. Derby, 7th
Cherry Wine Dale Romans Corey Lanerie Preakness, 2nd
Creator Steve Asmussen Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ky. Derby, 13th
Destin Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano Ky. Derby, 5th
Exaggerator Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux Preakness, 1st
Governor Malibu Christophe Clement Joel Rosario Peter Pan, 2nd
Lani Mikio Matsunaga Yutaka Take Preakness, 5th
Stradivari Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Preakness, 4th
Suddenbreakingnews Donnie Von Hemel Mike Smith Ky. Derby, 5th
Wild About Deb Phil D'Amato Trevor McCarthy Peter Pan, 3rd
Rick Keenum More than 1 year ago
Carlo who died and made you the expert? You don't know that SBN or Creator are just grade 3 horses.  Considering they run 1 & 2 in the grade 1 Arkansas derby I'd say their grade 1 horses.
Rick Keenum More than 1 year ago
Carlo who died and made you the expert?
ed More than 1 year ago
Look how badly the field ran in their last race. Exaggerator won, CW and Gov Malibu finished 2nd and Wild About Deb finished 3rd. The rest were out of the money. Not an all star group and minimal early speed. I think Stradivari can steal the race by just going out as fast as possible and not looking back. Don't stick around and wait for the closers to catch you. 
CarloCampanella More than 1 year ago
Once again, a bunch of people that know NOTHING about racing are commenting on this board- here's what you're wrong about.

1. Ray, Kent is riding Exaggerator, not only is it his brothers horse, he won won the Preakness...only way he wouldn't be in the saddle was if he was dead.

2. Ray (again), don't say ridiculous things like I hope Nyquist can run again. He has a high white cell count- that takes some antibiotics and 10 days to clean up. It's the equivalent in human terms of a bad cold/flu. 

3. Jason, while I was commenting on how weak THIS year's (2016) Oaklawn preps were, not on any other year. But, with that said, Pharoah was a once in a lifetime horse that would have won the triple crown no matter where he ran his prep races. Other than Pharaoah, NO ONE from last year's OP derby preps made any noise in grade 1 races- so wow, they were weak other tan Pharoah, who was really based out if so cal for Baffert. 

4. FLUM, sudden breaking news is a grade 3 caliber horse- anyone that thinks SBN, Whitmore, Creator, Cupid or the rest of those OP stakes horses doesn't understand class

Bill Pfeiffer More than 1 year ago
Carlo - You obviously know a lot about horse racing but your comment on Suddenbreakingnews is way off base. There's a reason he's second choice on the early Vegas lines at 4-1. Maybe you need to go back and rewatch the Kentucky Derby and see SBN closing like a freight train to finish a close up fifth. With an extra furlong in distance and Mike Smith in the irons, he has a very real chance a week from Saturday.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Last I checked Cherry Wine, 3rd in the AD, just ran a very close 2nd to Exaggerator in the Preakness, a GRADE ONE. SBN got mugged in the 1st quarter of the KD, but check out his final mile and final quarter mile, 1:35 and 4/ and 23 and 3. SBN is sitting on a monster race in a race that should flatter him. The wide turns are tailor-made, and the distance appears to be in his wheel-house. With Gettysburg now entered, don't be shocked if SBN and Creator run 1-2. 
Cheryl More than 1 year ago
I love reading stupid pre-race comments about horses I love! #Creator Thank you for driving up his price though. :)
flum1448 More than 1 year ago
Like News with Mike Smith up ,could be a big differance
Aero Palo Eduardo More than 1 year ago
I think the race won't be easy for Exaggerator. There will be a slow pace and he will run closer, but will he have enough stamina?  From this list, only the two Pletcher's colts have speed.
I agree with John Gardner: it could have 3 different winners in the TC.
john gardner More than 1 year ago
4 Horse Tri-Box Exag., Brody's, Destin, Stradivari. Super, same, hit all in 4'th.
I think we could have a different winner in each triple crown race, in somewhat of a mediocre year of 3 yr. old colts.
Bob Blake More than 1 year ago
yeah? i thought it was exciting not mediocre.
Scott More than 1 year ago
I like your box except for Brody's Cause...I'm thinking Suddenbreaking news and Lani will fight for 4th.
RaceTote More than 1 year ago
I like Exaggerator. I like practically every colt in the field. Exaggerator's Preakness victory didn't come easy. I'm just wondering if he's got enough left in the tank to run a mile and one-half against fresh animals. 
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Exag will win for fun just like AP did last year. just hope for a long shot for 2nd.
Raymond Felder More than 1 year ago
someone put that out there as a joke, sorry.   Kent is on exaggerator.
Raymond Felder More than 1 year ago
i cant believe kent  is of exaggerator?  why?  its a shame what has happen with the Derby, Preakness and the Belmont stakes.  i rem when these three races had more meaning.  it seems to me now its just about having a race.  i was looking for Nyquist to win the triple crown, but in the racing industry we understand things happen.  i hope Nyquist gets well enough to race again.
Rob Tolliver More than 1 year ago
john gardner More than 1 year ago