05/23/2010 12:00AM

Belmont works better than final times


ELMONT, N.Y. - Accustomed to watching Make Music for Me zip over the synthetic surfaces of Southern California and Kentucky, trainer Alexis Barba said she suffered a little bit of "culture shock" as she glanced between her stopwatch and her Belmont Stakes hopeful during his morning workout Sunday at Belmont.

Preparing for the June 5 Belmont Stakes, Make Music for Me completed a mile work in 1:43.03, according to Daily Racing Form, over the Belmont main track, his first time breezing over the deep, sandy track. While the work seems slow at face value, the track was yielding slower times than normal on a humid Sunday morning. One exercise rider who works horses at Belmont every morning, thought the track was about two seconds slower than usual.

Also working Sunday for the Belmont Stakes was Drosselmeyer, who went six furlongs in 1:14.10 in company with the 3-year-old maiden winner Raging Wit.

Make Music for Me, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, worked shortly after the renovation break. With exercise rider Andy Durnin in the irons, Make Music for Me broke off from the seven-furlong pole and went in fractions of 13.41 seconds, 26.35, 39.27 and 52.30 for the first half-mile. Durnin, sensing he was going slow, began to ask Make Music for Me, throwing a few crosses at the horse who went the last half-mile of the move in 50.33 seconds. He galloped out 1 1/8 miles in 1:59.16.

"I knew right away it was the depth of the track," Barba said. "I know this horse too well. He got a good blow out of it, recovered quickly. I'm pleased with him. We'll see how he looks tomorrow morning."

Barba said in Southern California, where Make Music for Me trains at Hollywood Park, the colt would often gallop out a mile in 1:37 and change.

"At home this is a very good work horse," Barba said. "Now he's learned to rate himself more and not be kind of this wild horse running off working. He used to be very, very aggressive. Now he's more professional."

Barba also noted that Make Music for Me worked in flat shoes for the work but would wear bend shoes, which generally give horses more traction, in the Belmont.

Barba, who was scheduled to return to Southern California on Monday before coming back to New York at the end of next week, said Make Music for Me would have one more breeze next Sunday.

Drosselmeyer, second in the Dwyer last out, worked a few minutes after Make Music for Me. Breaking off three-lengths behind stablemate Raging Wit, Drosselmeyer went his first eighth in 13.81 seconds, the quarter in 25.82, then drew on even terms with his workmate after three-eighths in 37.47. In the final part of the move, with the exercise rider applying mild pressure, Drosselmeyer came home in 36.63 seconds, and finished three lengths ahead of the workmate. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:28.10 and pulled up a mile in 1:43.95.

"Everybody tells me the track was very, very slow," said Bill Mott, trainer of Drosselmeyer. "When he cued him to go after the workmate he went to him. It was okay. The stopwatch will probably confuse you more than anything today. His work, visually, was certainly good."

As of Sunday, the Belmont field remained at 10. Those horses are Drosselmeyer, First Dude, Fly Down, Game on Dude, Ice Box, Make Music for Me, Stately Victor, Stay Put, Spangled Star and Uptowncharlybrown.