05/26/2010 12:00AM

McLaughlin in familiar spot for Belmont

Photos by Z/Keeneland
Uptowncharlybrown will make his first start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The last time the Belmont Stakes was held without the Kentucky Derby winner and the Preakness winner in the field was 2006, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin won the race with Jazil.

McLaughlin will hope for history to repeat itself in the 142nd Belmont Stakes on June 5, when he starts Uptowncharlybrown in the third leg of the Triple Crown, a race that will not include Super Saver, the Derby winner, or Lookin At Lucky, the Preakness winner.

"It makes the race a little easier," said McLaughlin, before adding that in 2006, "the bookkeeper still gave us the same amount of money."

Though Jazil had just one win from seven starts entering the Belmont, he was a bit more proven in Grade 1 company than Uptowncharlybrown. In 2006, Jazil finished a hard-charging second in the Wood Memorial and then dead-heated for fourth in the Kentucky Derby with Brother Derek.

"We felt confident and knew he belonged with those horses for sure," McLaughlin said. "This is a little different."

McLaughlin has never run Uptowncharlybrown in a race. He took over the training in early May after Bob Hutt, the managing partner of Fantasy Lane Stables, chose to move the horse to a New York trainer. The horse had been trained by Alan Seewald, who died April 12.

McLaughlin was well aware of Uptowncharlybrown before he came into his barn. McLaughlin attempted to buy the horse after his six-length victory in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January. At that point, Fantasy Lane turned down the offer.

Following the Pasco, Uptowncharlybrown was stretched out around two turns in the Sam F. Davis, where he finished third, four lengths behind Rule. In an attempt to put a little more speed into the horse, Seewald decided to equip the horse with blinkers for the Tampa Bay Derby. Breaking from the rail, the horse was a little bit rank early in the race, and while he did race closer to the pace, he ended up fifth, 2 3/4 lengths behind Odysseus, who won by a nose over Super Saver.

"Alan wanted to sharpen him up, which would have worked if he hadn't been on the rail," said Linda White, the assistant to Seewald who is now training for Fantasy Lane at Monmouth Park.

Uptowncharlybrown raced under White's name in the Lexington Stakes - run five days after Seewald's death - and the horse again ran with blinkers. After breaking slowly, Uptowncharlybrown made a five-wide move under Garrett Gomez and eventually got up for third behind Exhi.

McLaughlin said he plans to take the blinkers off Uptowncharlybrown for the Belmont.

"I'm afraid if we put them on, he might show more speed than necessary," McLaughlin said. "It's just an educated guess. In our care, he's going to show more pace."

Uptowncharlybrown, a son of Limehouse, has never run beyond 1 1/16 miles and has yet to win beyond seven furlongs. Thus, the big question surrounding the colt is whether he can get the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont.

"He covers a lot of ground, he always gallops out real strong, it appears he wants to keep going," McLaughlin said when asked what made him hopeful the horse could get the distance. "The interesting thing is, who does want it in there?"