05/26/2012 10:42AM

Belmont Stakes 2012: Street Life, McPeek pair drill over main track

Tom Keyser
Street Life is working toward a start in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

ELMONT, N.Y. – On a humid but dry and sun-filled morning, a trio of Belmont Stakes contenders put in workouts over a drying-out Belmont Park main track.

Meanwhile, Triple Crown candidate I’ll Have Another appeared to have another good morning, galloping seven furlongs over a main track labeled good for morning training.

Street Life, the third-place finisher in the Peter Pan, worked four furlongs in 47.82 seconds under exercise rider Richard Johnson.

Wearing blinkers, equipment he raced in for the first time in the Peter Pan, Street Life worked outside stablemate Mister Pippit and went in fractions of 12.13, 23.50, and got his last quarter in 24.32 while finishing a head in front of his workmate. Street Life galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.55 and pulled up six furlongs in 1:14.54.

“He worked just like I wanted him to work,” trainer Chad Brown said. “He was in the bridle. He’s not a great work horse, but for him it was one of his sharper works. And he came home with plenty of energy walking back from the track.”

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

Brown planned to work Street Life one more time next weekend.

Shortly after Street Life breezed, trainer Ken McPeek’s pair of Belmont contenders worked by themselves.

Atigun, a first-level allowance winner on Derby Day at Churchill Downs, went four furlongs in 46.69 seconds under jockey Julien Leparoux, but did it without urging.

Atigun went in fractions of 12.38, 23.42, and came home in 23.27. He galloped out five furlongs in 59.58.

“We asked him to go in 48-and-change, but he did it really nice, all in hand,” said Lars Becdelamotte, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek. “I was very impressed with Atigun today. It looked like he handled this track very, very good.”

Unstoppable U, a front-running winner of his two career starts, went five furlongs in 59.22 under jockey Junior Alvarado.

A horse from another barn broke off about six to eight lengths in front of Unstoppable U, who seemed eager to go after that horse. Unstoppable U went his first quarter in 23.23 and three furlongs in 34.80.

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

As Unstoppable U got within a couple of lengths of that horse in the stretch, Alvarado took a hold of Unstoppable U, not wanting his horse to go too fast. Unstoppable U did not change leads until after the wire and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.89.

“I know this horse, I know how he is,” Becdelamotte said. “He’s a strong horse. [Alvarado] had to let him go a little bit to begin with. He could have gone in 58 if he wanted to. He was kind of sitting on him and holding him, and I think that’s why he didn’t change his leads.”

Reached in Kentucky, McPeek said that Atigun is definite for the Belmont, while he is leaning toward starting Unstoppable U in the race as well. There is a $100,000 overnight stakes for 3-year-olds on the Belmont undercard that also is a possibility for Unstoppable U.

McPeek said he expects to be in New York in time to oversee both colt’s workouts next Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another galloped seven furlongs over the Belmont main track following the renovation break under exercise rider Humberto Gomez.

In the stretch, I’ll Have Another was reaching out nicely over the ground and had his ears up, all positive signs for the Doug O’Neill-trained colt.