06/21/2012 3:41PM

Belmont: Larry Jones turns back allotted stalls at Saratoga


Watching it play out from afar, trainer Larry Jones was incredulous by some of the decisions made by New York racing regulators as it pertained to the Belmont Stakes.

So much so, that Jones decided to turn down the 11 stalls he was granted by the New York Racing Association for the upcoming Saratoga meet and participate only on a ship-in basis.

Jones, at Belmont Park to run Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can in Saturday’s Mother Goose, said Thursday he couldn’t believe when the New York State Racing and Wagering Board gave trainer Doug O’Neill a hard time about cooking the oats he fed Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another prior to the Belmont Stakes.

“If they’re going to tell you what you can feed then this is really starting to get ridiculous,” Jones said. “They’re trying to tell you everything you’re going to do and they want us to all be the same trainer. But it seems like they want us to all be a bad trainer.”

Jones said the primary reason for cooking oats is to help horses digest their food easier.

“You cook your food; do you go out and eat oatmeal dry?” he said. “I don’t know of anybody that does it. I bet you the stewards don’t do it.”

When NYRA used the detention barn in the mid 2000s, Jones said he had a hassle with regulators who at first wouldn’t allow him to feed yellow corn to his horses.

“We had to take that to the stewards and have them look and they said ‘There’s nothing the matter, you can have that feed,’ “Jones said.

Jones, currently based at Churchill Downs, said he will be based at Ellis Park – where he previously trained – and ship to Saratoga on an as-needed basis.

“I’m not boycotting anybody,” he said. “We hope we’re at the Alabama, I would hope to be at the Coaching Club Oaks. I may even have a 2-year-old or two that may be good enough for Saratoga but I don’t have to put my whole string in there.”

Union Rags could breeze this weekend

Trainer Michael Matz said Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags could return to the work tab this weekend at Fair Hill, but he said he hasn’t made a definite decision on where the colt would make his next start.

Matz said the choices remain the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 29 or the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga the previous day.

Matz said Union Rags has been galloping pretty regularly since a few days after the Belmont, though he has backed off a little in his training due to the hot weather that has gripped the Northeast.

Matz said that he has not made any decisions on who would ride Union Rags in his next start. John Velazquez, who rode Union Rags to victory in the Belmont, sustained a fractured collarbone last Saturday at Churchill, is unlikely to be ready to ride by the end of July.

“I want to talk to him and see where we are,” Matz said. “He looks like he’ll have to skip one.”

When he chose Velazquez to ride for the Belmont, Matz had mentioned Ramon Dominguez as another rider to whom he gave serious consideration.

Meanwhile, Matz said Teeth of the Dog, who won the Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont undercard, is a candidate for next Saturday’s Dwyer at Belmont. He too was scheduled to work this weekend at Fair Hill.

“If he’s fresh enough to come back we’ll do that,” Matz said.

Teeth of the Dog finished third in the Wood Memorial and fifth in the Preakness. In the Easy Goer Stakes, Teeth of the Dog split horses in upper stretch and pulled away to win by 3 3/4 lengths under Joel Rosario.

“I thought he ran a real good race. I was real pleased with how he came back after the Preakness,” Matz said. “Joel said he galloped out real well. He had plenty of horse. He was very happy with him.”

Other possibilities for the Dwyer include Unstoppable U, Zetterholm, Rousing Sermon, and Brigand, who is entered in Sunday’s Mike Lee Stakes for New York-breds.

Brigand, trained by Bob Baffert, would have to be supplemented to the Dwyer since he was not an original nominee.