06/08/2014 11:03AM

Belmont Stakes: Tonalist doing well, will point to future stakes

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Debra A. Roma
Tonalist stands with trainer Cristophe Clement and owner Robert Evans after winning the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Tonalist, the winner of the 146th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, came out of the race in good condition and will be pointed to major stakes races on dirt the rest of the year, with the Travers Stakes at Saratoga being an obvious target, trainer Christophe Clement said Sunday morning at Belmont Park.

“He’s been trained to be a dirt horse. He’s bred to be a dirt horse. He will remain a dirt horse,” said Clement, whose success with grass runners often overshadows his considerable aptitude with dirt horses.

Tonalist is by Tapit and out of a mare by Pleasant Colony.

“I don’t think he has to go a mile and a half,” Clement said, referring to the Belmont distance. “But he has to go long. He can be competitive at a mile and an eighth and a mile and a quarter.”

The Jim Dandy, July 26 at Saratoga, is at 1 1/8 miles. The Travers, Aug. 23 at Saratoga, is at 1 1/4 miles.

The Belmont was the first Triple Crown race win for Clement, a native of France who has been training in the U.S. since 1991.

“This was really, really meaningful to me,” he said Sunday.

On Saturday, immediately after the race, Clement said, “Even if I’m French, I consider myself a New Yorker.”

Clement said Tonalist was “doing great” Sunday morning. He said Tonalist walked the barn’s shedrow Sunday morning for about 30 minutes.

Tonalist earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for his Belmont victory.

“They don’t give you the race,” Clement said. “He had to fight pretty hard to do it.”

Tonalist was making just the fifth start of his career. He was coming off a win May 10 at Belmont Park in the Peter Pan Stakes. Joel Rosario rode him in the Peter Pan and the Belmont.

A late bloomer, Tonalist did not run in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.

“He was a very immature horse at the start of the year,” Clement said. “As the year has progressed, he’s gotten better. Physically and mentally, I think there’s still more to come. Keep him sound and fit, and that will take care of the rest.”

Commissioner, who led until deep stretch and lost the Belmont by a head, will seek a rematch with Tonalist in the Travers, his next major goal, trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday.

Pletcher said the Jim Dandy or the Haskell at Monmouth on July 27 could be used as a prep to the Travers.

Commissioner “pulled up well,” said Pletcher, who said Commissioner would get a two-week freshening at the Kentucky farm of his owner and breeder, WinStar Farm, before resuming serious training at the end of the month.

John More than 1 year ago
Wake up fools, CC is never leaving California again.
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
It appeared Coburn was slamming the whole Triple Crown system. Tonalist happened to be the winner, but if you go down the top three placings, none of them ran in both the Preakness and Kentucky Derby. Was Matterhorn a maiden; you are right, some of the horses took up space but can affect the outcome, like backing up into the horse making a move, etc. When they allow the free for all in the Belmont the race seems more like an obstacle course, not a test of champions.
Mother More than 1 year ago
THIS IS THE TRUTH: matterhorn ruined my belmont instead of coburnm dissing a fine animal like tonalist he should have been slamming that joker of a trainer pletcher. how in the what a trainer runs a 4 race maiden in the belmont who did not stand a chance in hell to win. this should change if you dont have a chance in hell you just can run in the big races. this is a disgrace.
Daniel More than 1 year ago
Shibbley, you are absolutely correct. If I were the owner of CC I would give a well deserved break than get him back into training and look for a spot that will have Tonalist running. Seek out the horse that has everyone claiming is better than you just because he beat you in one race where he had a substantial rest and showed up fresh. Seek him out and beat him on the square. If you do there will be no doubt CC is better than Tonalist. If Tonalist wins than the whining from CC's connections needs to stop. Once you seek him out and beat him, than you seek out Shared Belief and beat him. LEAVE NO DOUBT!! Unfortunately that isn't the way in today's sport. The all mighty breeding dollar rules all in horse racing. Tonalist will run in weak field races and never face CC on the square. Tonalist will also not be pointed to the Breeders Cup Classic. He's a nice horse but he isn't great and he will lose and the owners know that so they will protect him in hand picked races and avoid the Classic to get top dollar at the end of the year when they retire him to stud. So Sad. The rivalry is there but they will all hide from it. Zenyatta and Rachel rivalry fueled the sport for a while until Rachel could no longer keep up. But it made the sport exciting if only for a short time.
Shibbley More than 1 year ago
That's where Tonalist's owner was dead on. This sport has no clue how to sell itself and how to promote itself. This is a rare opportunity (with all the news about the "poor sport") Show them you are done talking Mr. Coburn and aim directly in Tonalist's direction. They won't retire Tonalist or run him in a cheap race next or the one after. However, if CC comes calling where ever they go it won't take but two or three races for the owners of Tonalist to go the route you speak of. Strike now! SELL, SELL, SELL! PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
Shibbley More than 1 year ago
"Build it and they will come."
Shibbley More than 1 year ago
One of the main reasons this sport was so popular once about a time, was because there was no dodging competition. There weren't enough huge money races to bypass a race because of opponent. Now it's the norm. California Chrome was beaten by Tonalist (regardless of injury). Now it's time to say loud and bold to all the new outlets: "My horse is better than their horse and I am out to prove it...several times." That's what can raise this sport up. Get tout spoken and build yourself a national rivalry, east coast colt vs west coast colt. It's a natural. It's all set up, the ambers are stoked, let's build us a huge bonfire! Let the rivalry begin.
David Merz More than 1 year ago
Now that the world hates the owner, and with the race being in his backyard, doubt CC would get any real credit if he beats Tonalist at Santa Anita in the Classic. But I do like the idea of an east-west rivalry...
John Furgele More than 1 year ago
Class act, that Clement. Charles de Gaulle would be proud
Shibbley More than 1 year ago
You have to strike while the iron is hot, Mr. Coburn! You have a stage, but, it's going away quickly with each passing day since the Belmont. The sport goes dormant for most of the nation now, until next year's renewal of the TC races. Get on Good Morning America, but this time, announce that you want Tonalist and his connections to KNOW who the best horse is. Say it loud and proud. Tell the nation we are going where ever Tonalist goes. We want Tonalist!
Shibbley More than 1 year ago
Coburn needs to get on a soap box today and announce he is going where Tonalist goes. Huge rivalry in the making with the right strategy. Get BOLD! Turn the hunted into the HUNTER! "Where might you take your horse next, Mr. Coburn?" Well, where is Tonalist going? We are going there. Then we will go after him on the next one and the next. Don't tell Tonalist and his connections you think they are cowards for running only in the Belmont. Go after them deliberately and with no apologies. Scream it from the roof tops! Say it loud and bold for all to hear and talk about. Make the news with it. Turn your lemon into lemonade.
Mother More than 1 year ago
That sounds cool for the sport, but no matterhorns please!!!! to cut another horses heel off.
Michael Harbour More than 1 year ago
I dont understand Beyer numbers assigned to Tonalist and Norumbega who both won at 12 furlongs at Belmont on Saturday. Tonalist received at 100 Beyer Speed Figure for running his race in 2:28.52 while Norumbega received only at 101 BSF for running much faster in 2:27.13. Based on traditional analysis Norumbega ran about 7 lengths faster than Tonalist on the same day and same distance which should have translated into a Beyer number of 10-14 pts higher than Tonalist's. Seems like Tonalist should have received a high 80's or low 90's Beyer number for his Belmont win. Norumbega's 101 was his best in awhile if not his personal best. Any ideas?
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
And those older horses weren't that special.
Michael Harbour More than 1 year ago
Horses in both races poorly suited for 12 furlongs. 100 Beyer figure a gift for Tonalist..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beyer hates everything associated with the west coast. Hence the Derby Beyer for CC. But a very generous one for Tonalist, an east coast horse. Beyer's bias shows more and more in his writings.
Mother More than 1 year ago
BEYER IS DRUNK WHEN HE MAKES HIS FIGURES. THAT WAS WHY I DISCARDED THE BEYER SYSTEM YEARS AGO, IT JUST MADE NO SENSE.
Tom Holmes More than 1 year ago
It also has to do with trip distance traveled ect, I thought Tonalist number was low considering how wide he was the whole race. Did he not travel 64' farther than the next closest horse?