05/29/2010 11:00PM

Belmont workers a study in contrasts


ELMONT, N.Y. - Stay Put and Fly Down put in different kind of workouts on Sunday morning as they finished their major preparations for Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes.

At Belmont Park, Stay Put, working by himself over the main track, went a relatively easy half-mile in 50.70 seconds under exercise rider Loren Diego. Meanwhile, at Saratoga, Fly Down, the Dwyer Stakes winner, worked in company over the Oklahoma training track and went four furlongs in 47.50 seconds under exercise rider Maxine Correa.

At Belmont, Stay Put, working following the renovation break and equipped with blinkers, broke off slowly, going his first eighth in 13.61 seconds and the quarter in 26.24 before getting his final quarter in a respectable 24.46 seconds. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:05.41.

"I started off slow, let him feel the track, let him pick it up at his own pace, and at the end he was rolling," said Diego, who is overseeing Stay Put's training until trainer Steve Margolis arrives here Monday night.

Stay Put, a son of Broken Vow, has won 3 of 7 starts including a second-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. In his two stakes tries, he was fifth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, in both the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

Stay Put arrived in New York on Thursday and trained over the main track for two days before his breeze on Sunday.

"The track is a little deep, but I don't think it's a problem for him," Diego said. "It feels like he's handling the track pretty good."

Diego said that Stay Put, owned by Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein, would jog on Monday and gallop up to the race.

Trainer Nick Zito, a two-time Belmont Stakes winner, was looking for a more serious move from Fly Down on Sunday. Zito put a 3-year-old maiden, Kerouac about four lengths in front and let Fly Down go after him. Saratoga clockers caught Fly Down in splits of 12.10 seconds and 24.09, meaning he got his last quarter in 23.51 seconds. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.15.

"He looked pretty good to me this morning, so I was happy about that," said Zito, who noted that Fly Down exerts a lot of energy in his races. "The main thing is he came home good, he looked good doing it. That's all you can ask for."

Zito will run both Fly Down and Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box in the Belmont. Both have now completed their final preparations for the race and will ship to Belmont from Saratoga on Wednesday, the day post positions are to be drawn. Zito knows there will be a lot people expecting him to win his third Belmont.

"I think with the expectations you got to put everything in proper perspective," Zito said. "As long as they look good, as long as they run good, come back good, hit the board, whatever. And if they win then obviously you thank your lucky stars."

Trainers Bill Mott and Alexis Barba pushed back by one day scheduled workouts for Drosselmeyer and Make Music for Me, respectively. Both trainers said they wanted to work closer to the race.

After two weeks of training on Belmont's main track - including a mile work in 1:43.03 last Sunday - Make Music for Me galloped on Belmont's training track on Sunday. Barba is planning to work Make Music for Me on the training track on Monday.

"Change of scenery," Barba said. "At home he goes to the training track. Watching him and I saw how deep [the main track] was, I thought maybe he had enough of getting used to Belmont."

Stately Victor is scheduled to have his final breeze on Tuesday, according to trainer Mike Maker.