06/06/2016 2:06PM

Dozen set to face Exaggerator

Barbara D. Livingston
Creator worked a half-mile on the Belmont Park training track Monday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – After a Triple Crown bid by California Chrome in 2014 and then a Triple Crown sweep by American Pharoah last year, there will not be a horse going for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes when it is run for the 148th time on Saturday here at Belmont Park. But what is lost in drama will certainly be made up for in numbers, as it appears that 12 horses are set to take on the expected favorite, Exaggerator, who will try to add the Belmont to a résumé that includes a Preakness victory and a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

The field for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont increased by one on Monday when WinStar Farm announced that it would enter the longshot Gettysburg essentially to ensure a quick pace for the two better-regarded runners in which WinStar has an interest, Exaggerator and Creator. Both prefer to come from off the pace, and the Belmont had been shaping up as a relatively paceless race compared to the Derby and Preakness.

WinStar, owned by Kenny Troutt, has the breeding rights to Exaggerator, who had a routine gallop of 1 1/2 miles on Monday, though he did lose his left-hind shoe at some point during the exercise. He was to be shod prior to a scheduled workout on Tuesday.

“He looks like he’s put on weight since I left, and that includes some serious training sessions,” said trainer Keith Desormeaux, who arrived here Sunday night after attending to his horses at Santa Anita. His assistant Julie Clark has been with Exaggerator the whole time.

:: BELMONT STAKES: News updates, field, and videos

Creator, whom WinStar owns, completed his serious training for the Belmont with a half-mile workout on the Belmont Park training track on Monday that Daily Racing Form clocked in 50.93 seconds. Creator, under exercise rider Jesus Vinegas, went by himself shortly before 6 a.m. over a track rated “good.”

Creator was initially scheduled to work on the main track, but Toby Sheets – the New York-based assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen – called an audible owing to the wet condition of the main track following storms here on Sunday.

“I checked the main track this morning at 4:30, a quarter to 5, and was told there was a possibility the track would be harrowed at the break,” Sheets said at his barn, which is closer to the training track. “We decided to stay here. This track’s fine.”

Creator finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby after encountering severe trouble on the far turn. He will be ridden in the Belmont for the first time by Irad Ortiz Jr.

At Churchill Downs, another late runner, Suddenbreakingnews, turned in his final work for the Belmont when he went a half-mile in 49.40 seconds over a track rated “fast.”

Going after the regularly scheduled harrow break with jockey Joe Rocco Jr. aboard, Suddenbreakingnews went solo, galloping out in 1:02.80. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the Belmont mount.

“Put a little air in him,” said Rocco.

“I’d wanted 49 and change, so yeah, we’re good,” said Donnie K. Von Hemel, who trains Suddenbreakingnews for Sam F. Henderson. “I’m real happy with him. He’s kind of a lighter-made horse, which actually might be to his advantage in a long race like this. He won’t have to carry as much weight all the way around there.”

Suddenbreakingnews was fifth in the Kentucky Derby most recently after finishing second to Creator in the Arkansas Derby.

Suddenbreakingnews was booked on the Tuesday equine charter that was scheduled to transport a number of Kentucky-based runners to New York for the weekend races at Belmont Park. The flight was to depart Louisville International Airport at about noon Eastern.

Also from Churchill, Wild About Deb was scratched from the Tuesday charter after trainer Phil D’Amato said Sunday via text message that the colt will run instead in the June 25 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Wild About Deb, third in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 14, had been under consideration for the Belmont.

In addition to Creator, Exaggerator, Gettysburg, and Suddenbreakingnews, the other nine expected to enter the Belmont are Brody’s Cause, Cherry Wine, Destin, Forever d’Oro, Governor Malibu, Lani, Seeking the Soul, Stradivari, and Trojan Nation.

Entries for the Belmont are due Wednesday morning and will be drawn Wednesday at lunchtime in a ceremony at Rockefeller Center.

– additional reporting by David Grening, Marty McGee, and Mike Welsch

Potential Belmont Stakes Field
Horse Trainer Jockey Last Race
Brody's Cause Dale Romans Luis Saez Ky. Derby, 7th
Cherry Wine Dale Romans Corey Lanerie Preakness, 2nd
Creator Steve Asmussen Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ky. Derby, 13th
Destin Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano Ky. Derby, 6th
Exaggerator Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux Preakness, 1st
Forever d'Oro Dallas Stewart Jose Ortiz Maiden, 1st
Gettysburg Steve Asmussen Paco Lopez Bel. alw, 3rd
Governor Malibu Christophe Clement Joel Rosario Peter Pan, 2nd
Lani Mikio Matsunaga Yutaka Take Preakness, 5th
Seeking The Soul Dallas Stewart Florent Geroux Maiden, 1st
Stradivari Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Preakness, 4th
Suddenbreakingnews Donnie Von Hemel Mike Smith Ky. Derby, 5th
Trojan Nation Paddy Gallagher Aaron Gryder Ky. Derby, 16th


Jim Pitura More than 1 year ago
Game on.
RaceTote More than 1 year ago
 The most Significant factor barely discussed is the extent of exertion by Exaggeraot at Both Churchill Downs and Pimlico. As much as we may admire the young colt, he is facing a field of talented colts fresh and fully rested. In spite the morning line, history and a demanding schedule encumber Exaggerator's chance of victory. I admire the Curlin
Colt but under these conditions do not consider him a good bet. I will not risk money on him to win nor shall I select him to win with other in an exotic. Perhaps I'm completely wrong, and he's a super horse. Well, if he wears the carnations, Saturday, after all he's been through over the last six weeks, then he truly is a super horse. 
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
probably the worst bunch of 3's in a long time, none of these including nyquist will be serious contenders when it comes to running against their elders in graded competition in the fall,hope it doesnt rain on sat or this might be the smallest crowd at big sandy in the last 10 years. just a ho hum belmont with little betting  interest
Scott More than 1 year ago
you must have skipped over 2010 and 2011
Steve Brabant More than 1 year ago
Agree..mediocre and kind of a ho-hummer...but there may be some payoffs in this one.
mike More than 1 year ago
Here's a suggestion- don't watch the Belmont. See how easy that was. You're welcome!
Scott More than 1 year ago
brody's cause and cherry wine are the definition of plodders...my big price horse in this race is seeking the soul..ran a sneaky fast maiden race...should get at least 20-1 on him
Mooch ... More than 1 year ago
Guess they know that Exaggerator needs a meltdown on the front end to do any good, so now there's a rabbit entered. That rabbit won't help hold up Exaggerator after a mile, he doesn't want two turns let alone 1-1/2. Stradivari now has a target, and if they do get going too fast a real closer such as Brody's Cause will nail them all late. Don't blame Kent for moving too soon and hanging because that's what late sprinters do when they run in routes.
Jeff Byrd More than 1 year ago
So the Preakness winner doesn't want to run two turns, eh? I'm sure you can save them the entry fee and talk them out of running. Hopefully they check for advice in this comment section.
Mooch ... More than 1 year ago
When there is a wall of speed in front of you and only one closer behind you (that was class suspect) after Exaggerator made an early sprinters move and got the lead who was going to run him down, one of the speeds that had already quit? Watch the early move and hang Sat.
Mooch ... More than 1 year ago
I had the exacta and Tri in the preakness knowing it was a complete set-up for the top two
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Mark More than 1 year ago
You know what my analysis of the Belmont is?

I cant wait to play the Acorn and Ogden Phipps!  
Margaret Braun More than 1 year ago
destin didn't finish 5th in the derby suddenbreakingnews did. my bet with exaggerator all over my tri's and superfectas. won both on derby and preakness.
Mark Howell More than 1 year ago
buyer  beware  exaggerator  is  coming  off  a  small  negative  with  three  previous  improving  races,  not  a  good  betting  opportunity.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Exxagerator makes the lead at 3/8s pole and wins by 6.
Dom DiNatale More than 1 year ago
Tend to agree with you Chad....anyone who thinks hes nothing but a closer hasnt seen all his races.....bred to run all day...
Dahorsecapper More than 1 year ago
Lani / Stadivari / Seeking the Soul / Forever d'Oro and Govenor Malibu are the ones to use. Don't see any others that have a chance :) or offer value. These are the key horses for some nice payouts.
Fipke running two in here intrigue's.

good luck to all
Mark More than 1 year ago
Lani!?  Still?  What has he done!?