05/22/2013 2:08PM

Belmont Stakes: Giant Finish joins field, gets enthusiastic endorsement from Dutrow

Tom Keyser
Giant Finish, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, has earned a shot at the June 8 Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Tony Dutrow wasn’t necessarily on board when his owners, on the eve of entry day, decided to run their New York-bred Giant Finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“My clients wish to race and obviously I’m going to honor their decision,” Dutrow said at the time.

Dutrow said he was admittedly surprised when Giant Finish beat half the field in finishing 10th in the Run for the Roses.

On Wednesday, Dutrow confirmed that Giant Finish would run in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 8 and said he is definitely on board with this move.

“I was happily surprised that he beat half the field,” Dutrow said, regarding Giant Finish’s Derby. “I think the horse gave us a great effort and under all circumstances considered I respect him getting a chance in the Belmont.”

Giant Finish has won 2 of 6 starts and finished third in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes over Turfway’s Polytrack surface before his 10th in the Derby. He is by Frost Giant, who won the 2008 Suburban at Belmont when it was a Grade 1 and run at 1 1/4 miles.

“I’m not making any predictions, but I do think the mile and a half will be good for our horse,” Dutrow said.

Dutrow said he has not yet solidified a jockey for Giant Finish, who was ridden by Jose Espinoza in the Derby.

The field for the Belmont is expected to be large, but its lineup is far from confirmed. Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who finished fourth in the Preakness, is not definite to run nor has he been ruled out. Preakness winner Oxbow is virtually certain to run as is his stablemate Will Take Charge.

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

Trainer Todd Pletcher could run anywhere from four to six horses – including the filly Unlimited Budget. Other Pletcher definites include Revolutionary, Overanalyze, and Palace Malice. Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul and Peter Pan winner Freedom Child are definite starters while Code West is probable, Mylute possible, and Itsmyluckyday doubtful.

The field for the Belmont is limited to 16 starters. The largest field for the Belmont was 15 in 1983. Fifteen entered in 1996, but only 14 ran.

Orb, Oxbow walk again

Both Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Oxbow walked the shed row of their respective Hall of Fame trainers Wednesday, with both horses expected to return to the track on Thursday.

At Belmont, Orb walked under tack around trainer Shug McGaughey’s barn while his connections mull whether to run back in the Belmont or wait for the summer races at Saratoga, such as the Jim Dandy and Travers.

Stuart Janney III, who owns Orb with Ogden Mills Phipps, was a little cheeky when he said, “I’m pretty sure his next appearance is in New York.”

Asked specifically about the Belmont, Janney said, “I’m just going to try and figure out with Shug what the best thing to do with the horse is. He’s run a lot.”

Orb has run five times this year, winning an allowance race in January, the Fountain of Youth in February and the Florida Derby in March prior to his victory in the Kentucky Derby.

At Churchill, Oxbow walked the barn of trainer D. Wayne Lukas as did Will Take Charge, the seventh-place finisher in the Preakness. Both are expected to return to the track Thursday.

Mylute decision by the weekend

Trainer Tom Amoss said Wednesday morning that a decision on whether Mylute will run in the Belmont will be made by Saturday, if not sooner.

Mylute ran what Amoss described as “the best race of his life” when rallying from last to finish third behind Oxbow and Itsmyluckyday last Saturday in the Preakness at Pimlico. He earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

“He came back a little tired,” said Amoss, adding the colt was scheduled to return to light training Thursday at Churchill. “We’re going to talk over the Belmont and have a decision in the next few days.”

Mylute, owned by Gold Mark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm, ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby prior to the Preakness.

New security protocols for patrons

Fans coming to the track for the Belmont Stakes will endure a host of new safety protocols announced Wednesday by the New York Racing Association.

All fans, employees, vendors, and media will be subject to an electronic wand search upon entering through the gates.

Among the items that will be barred this year that have been allowed in years past are backpacks, briefcases, coolers, dufflebags, purses larger than 12-inches in diameter and thermoses. Tailgating will not be allowed.

Those wanting to bring in their own food may do so in a clear plastic container or bag that is no bigger than 18 inches by 18 inches.

NYRA drew up the new safety protocols in light of the bombings at the Boston Marathon and worked in concert with the other Triple Crown tracks, Churchill Downs and Pimlico.

– additional reporting by Marty McGee

James Andropoli More than 1 year ago
Lets ban everything but losing your shirt..that's not a problem ..lets put a limit on say 200.00 dollars a person per race..yea okay
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Shug WILL Run & Win The Belmont" Shug got his derby-now he will run because the owners say go:-lolk-DS
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
I think this extra precaution is a necessity. We Americans are targets of terrorism on our own soil because of our own freedoms. Any large gathering can be a target. If you can't go anywhere without your cooler of beer, you may have other issues.
Brian Butremovic More than 1 year ago
screw the aclu, racial profile, get it over with. we, the free, also have rights to. freedom of speech allows this comment,and many more think like I do.all we want is safety and peace, and we have to get frisked like a common criminal, why, well I think we all know why
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
NYRA is giving away a six pack cooler bag this Memorial day. It would be stupid to ban this from the Belmont Stakes All any reasonable person needs to bring is a couple of beers I think the high prices and checks of incoming coolers have helped a lot to control the rowdy drunken behavior of people at the track and baseball games. I remember too well the beer pouring down from the upper decks of Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds as well as the sloshed teenagers and yuppies at Belmont
Terry Culver More than 1 year ago
"They" won, the "terrorists", if their goal was to take our freedoms. We now have the TSA, and by the day more and more freedoms are being taken away at such events as the KY Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. They won. I just wonder how many other of our freedoms will be lost be cause of these cowards?!!
Tom Temple More than 1 year ago
Observation - heavy drinking at a track possibly leads to two thngs: 1. The more you drink the more you bet (don't care as much about spending money) and, 2. When losing, the tempers seem to flare more making it unenjoyable for everyone. I agree with Mr. Layer and Mr. Romano.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
The same security was in place for the Derby and Preakness. Guess what? You don't have to have a picnic or get drunk to have a good time. All I took to the Derby was money and my id. That's all you need. I go to the track about twice a week and never drink and it's still fun. Too many people associate the track with getting drunk. You shouldn't have to drink to have a good time. If you do then you probably have a problem. The less drunk idiots around me at the Derby the better. Nothing like a drunk obnoxious 20 something acting like an idiot and or throwing up. I can do without thanks.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Yep Brandon
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
Most New Yorkers like myself would like to attend the Belmont Stakes,,, DO NOT MAKE IT SYNTHETIC! OTHERWISE YOU KILL THE JOY OF BEING THERE WITH FRIENDS,and leave us with the option of OTB,which is great if you just want to bet and leave and watch it at home with adult beverages .foods around you,,,.Never GO TO THE TRACK HALF SOAKED[DRUNK]!,,,,,,WHEN YOU GET BACK IT WILL FEEL WORSE,,in many ways..esp. if you re [drunk] drivin` with a thick buzz.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Was at the Derby, saw plenty of tailgating, the security was very well organized and courteous upon entering, virtually no waiting. While I dont agree with the tailgating ban at all, I can totally understand banning coolers full of what-ever into the premises. I had heard of the legendary infield parties at the Derby for the last 138 years, but with beers going for 8-9$, juleps 11$, not to many drunks and or parties were evident. Still was awesome to be at.
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
I've been going to the Belmont Stakes for many years and tailgating was never a big part of the scene. With the big backyard picnics, tailgating seems an unnecessary prequel being as you are there 7-8 hours prior to the Belmont Stakes. Besides, Belmont is giving away a six pack cooler bag Memorial Day, they can't prevent that from being bought in on June 8th.