06/18/2012 2:49PM

Belmont Park: Brigand sharp for Mike Lee

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Barbara D. Livingston
Brigand is being pointed to Sunday's Mike Lee Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park.

New York-bred Brigand, one of two Bob Baffert-trained horses currently on the grounds, worked five furlongs in a sharp 58.66 seconds Monday over the Belmont main track. Javier Castellano was aboard for the move in which Belmont clockers caught his first quarter in 22.83 and his last three-eighths in 35.83.

Brigand, a son of Flatter, is coming off a second-place finish to The Lumber Guy in the Grade 2 Jerome at Aqueduct on April 21. He lost a hind shoe in the race and suffered a foot injury that forced him to miss a couple of weeks of training, according to Barnes. He seems to have made up for lost time.

“He lost a hind shoe somehow in the Jerome, and we lost a little time,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert. “He tore the front of his toe off, and it took a while for it to heal. We got behind; we didn’t train for maybe three weeks. When I got here after the Preakness, he had worked only an easy half. This was his third work since. We’re ready.”

The Mike Lee is the first leg of the Big Apple Triple, which offers a different bonus this year than in years past. Previously, a horse could earn his connections a large bonus if he swept the Mike Lee, New York Derby at Finger Lakes, and the Albany at Saratoga.

This year, there is a $50,000 participation bonus that would get split three ways. Horses who finish in the top three in those races earn points on a 10-7-5 basis. The winner of the Albany earns an additional five points.

The horse who garners the most points earns their connections a $25,000 bonus; the second most points earn a $15,000 bonus; the third most points earn a $10,000 bonus. A horse must participate in all three races to qualify for any bonus money. The bonus was initiated by NYRA, Finger Lakes, and the New York State Breeding and Development Fund.

The $150,000 New York Derby, at 1 1/16 miles is, July 21. The $150,000 Albany, run at 1 1/8 miles, will be held at Saratoga on Aug. 22.