05/18/2014 10:12AM

Ride on Curlin, Social Inclusion set sights on Belmont Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
After finishing 1 1/2 lengths back in second in Saturday's Preakness, Ride on Curlin's connections will point the horse toward the Belmont Stakes.

BALTIMORE – As Ride On Curlin walked behind California Chrome in the shed row of the Pimlico stakes barn Sunday morning, the irony of his place in the pecking order was not lost on trainer Billy Gowan.

“We’re still following him,” Gowan said as he led his Ride On Curlin in circles behind assistant trainer Alan Sherman and California Chrome.
Ride On Curlin chased California Chrome through the stretch of Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, having to settle for second-place, 1 1/2 lengths behind the Kentucky Derby winner.

On Tuesday morning, Ride On Curlin will follow California Chrome to Belmont Park, where both will be pointed to the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 7 – California Chrome trying to make history by becoming the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner, and Ride On Curlin trying to prevent it.

“I followed him around there yesterday. I’m going to follow him to New York,” Gowan said.

“I think my horse will like the mile and a half,” Gowan added, referring to the distance of the Belmont Stakes. “I hate to say it, but I think Chrome might like it too.”

Gowan was thrilled with the way Ride On Curlin ran in the Preakness, validating his decision to run back after a troubled seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Ride on Curlin, under Joel Rosario, raced four wide in the stretch and, for a brief moment, gave Gowan a thought he could catch California Chrome.

“I thought at the eighth pole, we might have a shot at getting to him, but old Chrome didn’t come back to me any,” Gowan said. “Chrome’s got a lot of gears, but my horse ran huge.”

Gowan may have to find another rider for Ride On Curlin for the Belmont. Rosario rode Tonalist to a visually impressive victory May 10 in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes, and he very well could wind up choosing that horse to ride. Gowan went to Rosario for the Preakness because he didn’t like the ride Calvin Borel gave his horse in the Kentucky Derby.

While he naturally would like to have Rosario, Gowan said, “It’s not that big of a deal.”

Gowan said he already has received calls from jockey agents, including Angel Cordero, who represents John Velazquez, winner of the 2012 Belmont Stakes on Union Rags and the 2007 Belmont on Rags to Riches.

Ride On Curlin finished second in the Preakness, 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Social Inclusion, who was making just his fourth start. Social Inclusion got very hot and washy near post time, and he was unsettled in the gate, nearly flipping. Still, his connections were pleased with the colt’s third-place finish.

“He didn’t break well. He hit the gate at the break,” Sanchez said. “We are satisfied and happy. The horse is healthy. That’s horse racing. You got to deal with winning and losing.”

Though Sanchez believes California Chrome “has the biggest shot to win the Triple Crown in the last 25 years,” he said he plans to run Social Inclusion against him in the Belmont.

“We’re going to New York to run in the Belmont,” Sanchez said. “We definitely have to work with him at the gate.”

Sanchez said Social Inclusion would likely stay at Pimlico until the weekend before shipping to New York.

Sanchez said he may make a rider change as well. Luis Contreras has ridden Social Inclusion in all four of his starts. Sanchez said he will sit down and talk with trainer Manny Azpurua about jockeys.

“We are doing to discuss that and work it out,” Sanchez said. “We will see what choices we have.”

Ring Weekend, fifth in the Preakness, is a possibility for the Belmont, trainer Graham Motion said Sunday. Motion felt with a better trip, Ring Weekend could have finished a little closer.

“I think he’s going to be a useful horse the rest of the year,” Motion said. “Whether it would make sense to do it is questionable.”

Kid Cruz, seventh in the Preakness, left Baltimore before 6 a.m. to return to Belmont Park and point for the Belmont Stakes, according to trainer Linda Rice.

Others expected to run in the Belmont include Commanding Curve, Danza, Wicked Strong, and Samraat – the second- through fifth-place finishers in the Derby – as well as Tonalist, Commissioner, and Intense Holiday.

On Sunday, Samraat worked four furlongs in 48.84 seconds at Aqueduct.

John M. Toothman More than 1 year ago
Kent Desormeaux would be an excellent fit for Social Inclusion. He has had great success in the Belmont, and has the drive and motivation to win another triple crown race.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Please social Inclusion,s connections ...plesase the horse wants to be alone on the front end ..clear..get it!! 2 for 2 when he makes the lead ..big figures ..go to the lead or else go away..thanks
Kelly Greene More than 1 year ago
Social Inclusion by all reports has been 'washy' in two straight races and it's amazing he ran as well as he did in those races. That's not to say that if he was cool, calm, and collected he would have won those races, but no doubt he'd have been closer. And as a horseplayer I've learned that equipment changes going into a big race, like Bayern's, are just not going to work. And even though CC's KD and Preakness victories weren't exactly blowouts, they were still dominant wins. Look for one more!
Yagbolsco More than 1 year ago
I hope they run General Arod. CC/GA exacta box.
mnlatemodelfan More than 1 year ago
Social Inclusion need Louis Rivera from Mountaineer Park to ride him---When Louie breaks out front nobody goes by him---
Steven Schneck More than 1 year ago
I think the only thing that beats CC is that last quarter of a mile. forget about his breeding, it will be about his heart. If he is a champion like most people want to believe then the heart of a champion kicks in. That,s a special 11 and if he a chompion he will have to earn it. He has one thing going for him. the 3 year olds are not very good, plus the horses for the belmont have showed there hand
Kelly Greene More than 1 year ago
"The 3 year olds are not very good" is just a way to cheapen CC's wins, without any real basis in fact. What's wrong with them? Don't they all have the 'correct' blueblood breeding, didn't they cost enuf $$$, aren't they owned by people who have jets to take them to the races?? I think there is this knock against CC because he was 'bred in the backyard' and has no business being as good as he is. And maybe it's even a 'red state' vs 'blue state' thing. But let's skip the politics, let's skip the blueblood snobbery, and let's give the horse his due. And look forward to the biggest Belmont ever!
Dave More than 1 year ago
Datara, Commendable, Ruler on Ice, Jazil... a lot of mediocre horses have won the Belmont. And a lot of great horses have lost it.
Marc Strews More than 1 year ago
SI very much hype horse then I have seen or read about.He still green and learning the game.But will be a wonderful stake horse in his own right.
. More than 1 year ago
He's a young monster in bad hands. BTW , he turned 3 on May 1st.
Roger More than 1 year ago
Only two possible winners of the Belmont....Samraat or Danza.
Chris More than 1 year ago
If there on crack
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Marc Strews More than 1 year ago
Well Mr. Roger if u want to pick a winner for the Belmont which is already about 3 weeks away.CC is good if he stays healthy but I will sway and say this TONALIST and COMMISSIONER are the only two who can in my mind stop the triple crown bid only if cc becomes sick or the Preakness took a lot out of him!
Paul F More than 1 year ago
lets assume chrome wont win or be in top 2........a lot of money will be on ride on curlin....this smells like smarty jones again.....
. More than 1 year ago
Samraat? ha ha ha ha ha
Paul F More than 1 year ago
agree.....surprised he did ok in derby ...horse has to be tired.
Jack H More than 1 year ago
Social Inclusion is still a green racing baby. Give him some time and point for the Haskell at Monmouth Park. When the gate spring unleash him to the from and these go bye bye Stakes record 1:47.00 - Bet Twice & Majestic Light Largest winning margin 9 3/4 lengths - Verrazano (2013) Then back off of him and find some soft sport going into the BC Classic. DO THE RIGHT THING BY THIS HORSE !!!
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Well if he is going to be anything he'd better get something on his resume more than an Allowance win first.
Paul F More than 1 year ago
i dont think the owners/trainer for this horse know what they are doing...
Walter More than 1 year ago
Fellas, you have a really nice horse in SI. Make the rider switch because Contreras isn't too good. But skip the Belmont in favor of a better race for your horse. SI can win some big races, but the Belmont is not one of them
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
That is an unwarranted "cheap shot" LC is an excellent rider. SI is just not a very good "gate horse" - yet ! Remember SI is a few months younger then his peers.
GuyFleegman1 More than 1 year ago
Walter...your meds ain't workin fella
EddySealy More than 1 year ago
You don't seems to know what you are talking about
Marc Strews More than 1 year ago
Si jockey really well u must be on an uneasy nut job.It wasn't the jocky the horse bud still green.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Contreras has looked overmatched in both the Wood and Preakness. He's never had a big mount outside of Canada that I can recall. Don't worry - he'll be off him for the Belmont.