05/07/2013 2:26PM

Churchill Downs notes: Golden Soul eyes Belmont Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Golden Soul, the runner-up in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, will skip the Preakness Stakes but might start in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

While his former boss, trainer D. Wayne Lukas, and other colleagues make plans for Pimlico, trainer Dallas Stewart is enjoying the afterglow of a Derby in which he saddled the longshot runner-up, Golden Soul.

Stewart said he was “as proud as can be” of the way Golden Soul closed in the final quarter-mile to outfinish Revolutionary, Normandy Invasion, and Mylute for the $400,000 second-place prize.

“Nobody was going to beat the winner [Orb], not the way he ran,” Stewart said. “For a horse who wasn’t even supposed to make the race, we had a pretty good result.”

With just 14 points in the new system governing Derby eligibility, Golden Soul needed several defections to make the lineup. Stewart said the colt’s running style, combined with the extra three weeks of rest, could make him a threat in the Belmont Stakes. Stewart quickly ruled out the Preakness.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” he said. “Let’s see how he comes out of it, how he trains over the next few weeks. But, yeah, if everything’s good, I’m sure we’ll consider the Belmont. You’d have to, considering how big he ran.”

Lukas barn targets Pimlico stakes

Aside from Oxbow, Will Take Charge, and Titletown Five, Lukas is taking at least a few more horses to Pimlico for Preakness weekend.

The Hall of Fame trainer said Optimizer (second to Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic) would wheel back in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes, Laurie’s Rocket (third in the Churchill Downs) will run in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint, and Broken Spell (third in the Edgewood) goes in the Hilltop Stakes.

kwtalk More than 1 year ago
Chestnut and dark around the eyes and nose....a clear descendant of Secretariat. He looks so much like him. Even the blaze is similar. I missed this guy pre-Derby. Somehow he flew under my radar. Wish I had seen a pic of him before the race. That alone would have grabbed my attention. His pedigree would have cinched it for me. I agree that he could be a late bloomer. Anxious to see how he goes in the Belmont.
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
Rob Knoop More than 1 year ago
Four of the Five finishers were LAST at the half. so the Preakness bodes well for Normandy Invasion who was wide as stalked, had clear lead at mile pole until the back of the pack found room.
Rob Knoop More than 1 year ago
Golden Soul finish 2nd in the mud in Churchill LAST YEAR. It pays to read the Daily Racing Form! $981 exactor!
kwtalk More than 1 year ago
At what distance? Which race? I'd like to watch it if it's online.
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
Golden Soul appears to be a late bloomer. His prior race against Revolutionary clearly should have opened the eyes of many. That and the fact that he was one of the top four horses with the highest dosage profile clearly made him playable. Had anyone played the horses with the top four profiles, you would have had that $57 thousand dollar super. And just in case most of you don't know, he is also a great grandson of Secretariat.
Joe More than 1 year ago
He's old school!! What else can you say!! Don't bet his horses at your own risk!!
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
you obviously don't know, but this horse's great granddaddy won the Belmont by 31 lengths.
prose More than 1 year ago
D. Wayne insane in the membrane.
Justin Mato More than 1 year ago
Lukas is trying to optimize his profits
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
I'd love to see what Optimizer could do with a trainer who actually cared about him. Mott or Shug would make Optimizer a champion on turf.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Brandon, your constant bashing of Wayne Lukas is tiresom at best.. We get it you don't like him. I'm sure, and I would hope, there are many more positive things in this sport that you can find to comment on. Not sure wher you are from, but there is a weekend radio show that spends the entire hour doing nothing but finding fault with racing. (The Roger Stein Show...a.k.a. The Roger Whine Show. Don't get dragged into that type of negativity. Many of your post are actually somewhat insightful. Give the Kukas thing a rest though.
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
Jeff, why do you insist on defending DWL? The numbers are not on your side. His record in graded stakes over the last 5-10 years is PITIFUL!
Neil More than 1 year ago
Big Jeff loves him so DWL. At least these horses are tosses in these races....
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
I wonder.....whether either Mott or Shug or both had ever trained a champion turf horse and if either or both had, how long ago has it been?
Bryan E More than 1 year ago
If you're being serious, I can think of a few. Do you mean great horses or actual Eclipse Award winning Champions? Shug has Data Link and Point of Entry right now. Both good horses and Point of Entry would not be a surprise to end the year turf champion. A couple of decades ago, he trained Lure, one of my favorite horses. Mott trained two actual champions that I can think of, Theatrical and Paradise Creek. They haven't had any year end champions recently on turf that I can think of but neither have most trainers.
Bryan E More than 1 year ago
Optimizer probably would have been in the same races unless he had different owners. They were the ones who wanted him in the Triple Crown.
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
I feel you 100% but what's wrong with running him back in two weeks. This used to be the staple of horse racing. I know times are different now but if the horse bounces out of the race good why not run him. He's a race horse this is what he's bred to do.
CrystalB More than 1 year ago
No wonder why so many horses r breaking down. Come on Lucas give the horses a break! None of them r gonna win the races they r entered in. What a disgrace u have become!
Mike More than 1 year ago
I'm not so sure. Top horses fifty to seventy years ago regularly ran twenty plus times a year and regularly started on two weeks rest. I wonder if the breed is as sound today as it was then, but I think we overemphasize precociousness and juvenile speed at the expense of endurance and stamina. One way to correct that is to run horses who are healthy on a regular basis and then breed to those who are sound throughout a regular racing career and are competitive at higher levels. If eight or ten races is your idea of a full year, breeders don't get to make good decisions in terms of breeding in soundness.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Great post
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
lauries rocket dosent miss a sprint race anywhere...
Bryan E More than 1 year ago
Oh, come on... Lauries Rocket has run 6 times in the last 6 months. And until Saturday, all of those races were at Oaklawn (of which he won 3). He hasn't finished worse than 5th since Lukas has had him for the last year....in a total of 12 races. Is 12 races in a year really too many for people to handle, especially when the horse was competitive in every one and won 3?
Neil More than 1 year ago
So Optimizer goes here then in the Manhatten at Belmont. I wonder if any horse has ever competed in the Triple Crown schedule (3 races in 5 weeks and 3 different tracks the same as the Triple Crown) back to back years. Obviously not the same races but you should see where I'm going with this. Gotta love old DWL and Calumet.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
You are so right .They are both Legends and among the all time greats. Excellent post.
Bryan E More than 1 year ago
Well, how many horses even run in all 3 Triple Crown races anymore? And of those, how many were still running the next year? I would guess not very many in the last 10 years. However, off the top of my head, I know that Funnycide ran in 3 races in a 5 week period the following year (albeit at only 2 tracks) and then won the Jockey Club Gold Cup not long after. And if memory serves, when Unbridled ran in the Belmont, it was his 6th race in 3 months. Later that summer, he ran in 3 races in 5 weeks and then won the Breeders Cup Classic a month later. Going even farther back, I think Whirlaway ran in a race BETWEEN the Preakness and Belmont. I don't think running horses in 2-3 week intervals is necessarily going to harm them...especially ones with a running style like Optimizer...and even less so on the turf I would think. Just because most horses are more fragile these days doesn't mean that all horses are.