06/02/2013 12:26PM

Belmont Stakes workouts: Unlimited Budget pleases Pletcher with breeze

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Barbara D. Livingston
Unlimited Budget breezed a half-mile in 47.48 seconds at Belmont Park on Sunday in preparation for Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Unlimited Budget all but solidified her status as a starter for Saturday’s 145th Belmont Stakes with a strong workout Sunday at Belmont Park, which would make her the first filly to start in the Belmont since Rags to Riches won the race in 2007.

Unlimited Budget was one of five possible Belmont Stakes starters who worked for trainer Todd Pletcher on a warm, sun-splashed Sunday at Belmont Park. While Revolutionary, Palace Malice, and Overanalyze had always been considered definite starters for Pletcher, Unlimited Budget and Midnight Taboo needed one more good work to earn their way in.

While Unlimited Budget did that, Midnight Taboo’s status remained undecided in Pletcher’s mind after an OK work that was timed in 47.26 seconds for a half-mile by Daily Racing Form.

“I thought he worked good this good morning; he didn’t blow me away, so that’s going to be Mike’s call on that,” Pletcher said, referring to owner Mike Repole, “whether we want to take a more conservative route with a lightly raced horse or take a shot.”

For his part, Repole, who did not attend Sunday’s workouts, raised Midnight Taboo’s Belmont status to 75 percent from 60 percent a week ago. Midnight Taboo would go in the Easy Goer on the Belmont undercard if he skipped the Belmont.

Pletcher listed Unlimited Budget as “80 to 90 percent” after she worked a half-mile in 47.48 seconds in company with the 3-year-old colt Capo Bastone.

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

After an average workout last Sunday, when she was on the inside of her workmate, Unlimited Budget was put on the outside of Capo Bastone on Sunday and put in a stronger move, according to Pletcher. After she went her first quarter in 24.41, Unlimited Budget, under Patti Krotenko, got her last quarter in 23.07 and galloped out five furlongs in 59.62 while pulling up six furlongs in 1:13.48.

“She worked really well,” Pletcher said. “I thought she was full of run throughout, finished up strongly, galloped out well, seemed to cool out well. Biggest difference is we put her on the outside.”

Unlimited Budget and Midnight Taboo worked following the 8:45 a.m. renovation break.

Pletcher’s trio of Overanalyze, Palace Malice, and Revolutionary all went shortly after 6 a.m., when the track was yielding lightning-fast workout times.

Overanalyze, with John Velazquez up, started one length back of Caixa Eletronica, and after going an opening quarter in 25.15 seconds, he came home his final quarter in 22.86 for a final time of 48.01. He was within a neck of the always-tough Caixa Eletronica, who is running in Saturday’s True North. Overanalyze galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.00.

“I thought Overanalyze was actually pretty willing this morning,” Pletcher said about a runner not known to be an aggressive work horse.

Revolutionary, who seemed to be a little lackadaisical in his gallops Friday and Saturday, worked a half-mile in 48.51, getting a final quarter in 23.21 outside of stablemate Abraham.

“I think he’s been a little quiet the last few days, but I think a lot of horses have. It’s been pretty hot,” Pletcher said. “These horses are pretty wise to what’s going on. On a daily basis, they go out there and do their thing, but I like what I saw in his work this morning. Some horses go out there and train aggressively every day; some don’t. He’s one that kind of knows when game time is.”

Palace Malice, under exercise rider Annie Finney, worked inside the unraced 3-year-old Catron and went a sharp half-mile in 47.43, with a final quarter of 23.36.

Pletcher said he put Palace Malice on the inside of his workmate because “he was going to control the pace of the breeze. Annie was going to be in charge of the fractions we were laying out, and I like an inside horse to do that.”

After showing speed with blinkers on in the Kentucky Derby, Pletcher was asked where he would like to see Palace Malice – who will not wear blinkers in the Belmont – in the early stages of the race.

“I would like to see him get into a nice, comfortable rhythm, wherever that is,” Pletcher said.

Incognito sharp in work

Incognito worked four furlongs in 48.32 over the Belmont Park training track Sunday, breezing in company with fellow 3-year-old Irsaal.

Incognito started about a length behind but quickly caught up to Irsaal after an opening quarter in 23.45. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had said Irsaal had never been outworked, and that statement rang true, as Incognito got within a neck of Irsaal at the wire but did not get past him.

McLaughlin said he was happy enough with Incognito’s work and reiterated that the primary reason he is in the race is because his pedigree suggests he can get the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont.

Freedom Child strong in open gallop

While he didn’t have an official work, Peter Pan Stakes winner Freedom Child had a strong gallop over the main track that will serve as his final major move before Saturday’s Belmont.

Freedom Child went the final half-mile of his gallop in 52.84 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch, that time coming from the finish line to the mile pole.

Following a sharp five-furlong work last Monday in 1:00.06, trainer Tom Albertrani said he did not want to work Freedom Child and was planning to give him a strong open gallop Monday, but he moved it up to Sunday due to a forecast for rain Sunday night into Monday.

“I told the rider [John Mason] to start past the quarter pole getting him into a rhythm, and by the eighth pole to do a two-minute lick, then put a little something extra on it,” Albertrani said. “He said he was doing everything on his own.”

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch