06/01/2013 1:43PM

Belmont Stakes: Always in a Tiz looks ready after work

Barbara D. Livingston
Always in a Tiz will try to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Wood Memorial.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The road to the Kentucky Derby for Always in a Tiz was full of potholes. A troubled trip in one prep, a disdain for a sloppy track in another, and an absolute debacle in a third kept the horse from making it to the Run for the Roses.

The connections of Always in a Tiz are hopeful their winter – and early spring – of discontent are behind their 3-year-old and are hoping for a dramatic change of fortune in the 145th Belmont Stakes to be run next Saturday.

Always in a Tiz convinced his connections to run in the Belmont with a solid five-furlong workout Saturday morning over the Belmont main track that included a strong gallop out. Working on the inside of the 3-year-old maiden Cielo Soleggiato, Always in a Tiz, under jockey David Cohen, worked five furlongs in 1:01.86, getting his final quarter in 24.17 seconds while finishing two lengths clear of his workmate. He widened his advantage on his workmate through six furlongs in 1:14.02, seven-eighths in 1:27.52, and a mile in 1:41.08.

“He has to be good enough with that class of horses – I think he has the talent,” trainer Dominick Schettino said afterward. “I was on the fence between the Easy Goer and the Belmont, but the way he worked today and the way he galloped out is a good sign he’s going the right way.”

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

Always in a Tiz, a son of Tiznow, won his debut at Saratoga last summer against a field that included Revolutionary, who this year won the Louisiana Derby and was third in the Kentucky Derby. Always in a Tiz finished second to Vyjack in an overnight stakes at Aqueduct over a sloppy track.

Schettino took Always in a Tiz to south Florida for the winter, but he and Anthony Bonomo Sr. and Mary Ellen Bonomo, the owners of Always in a Tiz, chose the Oaklawn series of preps to try and make the Derby.

Always in a Tiz finished a closing third in the Smarty Jones, a race won by Will Take Charge. He caught a sloppy track in the Southwest and finished a well-beaten fifth. Always in a Tiz remained at Oaklawn, but didn’t train well leading up to the Rebel Stakes and was not entered in the race.

He returned to New York and pointed to the Wood Memorial. Schettino put blinkers and a tongue tie on Always in a Tiz, but the horse did no running, finishing ninth, 14 3/4 lengths behind Verrazano.

“He didn’t try at all in the Wood,” Schettino said. “I really feel deep down it’s because of the blinkers and the tongue tie. These are all decisions you make. You can’t go back, you look forward. He had his little bumps in the road, but now he’s really back to himself.”

Cohen, who recorded a dead-heat victory in the Travers last summer with longshot Golden Ticket, will make his Triple Crown debut when he rides Always in a Tiz.

Incognito gallops on training track

Incognito galloped a solid 1 1/2 miles over the Belmont Park training track Saturday morning and was scheduled to have his last work for the Belmont Stakes on Sunday.

Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Incognito, said his assistant Art Magnuson mentioned to him that horses can sometimes lose focus galloping over the spacious 1 1/2-mile main track.

“That track is so big they can get lost,” McLaughlin said after watching Incognito gallop over the training track. “Here you have to pay attention, and horses they switch their leads on cue and they go three turns.”

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch