05/31/2009 11:00PM

Charitable Man and Dunkirk work at Belmont

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - Charitable Man and Dunkirk, the likely second and third betting choices, respectively, behind Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird for next Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes, each put in their final workouts for that race on Sunday morning at Belmont Park.

Charitable Man, working by himself, went a half-mile in 49.00 seconds a short time after Dunkirk, who worked in company with Monba, went the same distance in 49.57. Both works were done over a fast main track following the renovation break.

Last week, Charitable Man went his first quarter in 22.97 seconds in a work that was timed in 47.85. On Sunday, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin instructed exercise rider Renzo Morales to start slower, and that's exactly what he did, maintaining a firm grip of the reins through an opening eighth in 12.37 and the quarter in 24.07. Morales kept Charitable Man several paths off the rail and never asked the colt for run through a final quarter in 24.97. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.88.

"I was happy that he went off slower because last week he went off fast so we didn't need that," McLaughlin said. "He went better, finished and galloped out stronger, I felt like. He is doing great - we're ready to go, I'm happy. We'll see how he is for the next five days.''

Charitable Man figures to go off the second choice based on the fact that he is 3 for 4 in his career, including a perfect 3 for 3 record on regular dirt that includes Grade 2 stakes wins in the Futurity here as a 2-year-old and the Peter Pan here on May 9. He also could play out as the main speed horse in what is shaping up to be a 10-horse field for the Belmont Stakes.

Alan Garcia, who rode Da' Tara to a front-running victory in last year's Belmont Stakes, will be aboard Charitable Man on Saturday.

John Velazquez will ride Dunkirk in the Belmont. On Sunday, Velazquez climbed aboard the gray colt for the first time, working him a half-mile. After starting about a length behind Monba leaving the four-furlong pole, Dunkirk quickly got to his company and put a head in front after an eighth in 12.62. Velazquez, instructed by trainer Todd Pletcher to give the colt an easy work, moved Dunkirk a few paths away from Monba so that he wouldn't get too aggressive.

After going a second in eighth in 11.72, Dunkirk did settle down while a few paths away from Monba in the stretch and got the last quarter in 25.34 while finishing a length in front of Monba. Dunkirk galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.92.

"He was a little strong," Velazquez said. "I was afraid he was going to go a little too fast so I had to get away from the company, I had to go in the five or six path, then sit there quietly. He actually worked really easy, though, and galloped out very nice."

Pletcher switched up workmates for Dunkirk, choosing Monba over Munnings because he wanted an easier work.

"I didn't want to do too much and I was afraid he and Munnings might go a little keen together," said Pletcher, who is pointing Munnings to the Woody Stephens on the Belmont undercard. "I was going to work him by himself, but I got to thinking I've never breezed him by himself. I didn't want to take a chance that he might go way too slow."

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas's Belmont duo of Flying Private and Luv Gov were due to arrive at Belmont on Sunday afternoon following a van ride from Churchill Downs.

On Monday, Mine That Bird was expected to put in his final Belmont drill at Churchill Downs, Mr. Hot Stuff was expected to work at Keeneland, and Chocolate Candy was expected to work at Belmont.