05/07/2013 1:26PM

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.