06/01/2007 11:00PM

Slew's Tizzy perfect in final tune-up

Email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Slew's Tizzy had his final workout for the Belmont Stakes when breezing a half-mile in 48.20 seconds over a fast surface early Saturday at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky.

Trainer Greg Fox said the work, under regular exercise rider Alejandro Contreras, "couldn't have gone better," and that Slew's Tizzy "went the exact same type of work" as he did before winning the May 12 Lone Star Derby in Texas.

"The breeze basically was the last half-mile of a two-mile gallop," said Fox. "It was perfect. He did it well within himself."

Slew's Tizzy will be ridden by John Velazquez in the Belmont, which will be run for the 139th time Saturday at Belmont Park in New York. The colt figures as one of the middle wagering choices off back-to-back victories in the April 21 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland and the Lone Star Derby.

The solid favorite for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont will be Curlin, winner of the Preakness on Mayo19. Besides Curlin and Slew's Tizzy, other probable starters are Hard Spun, Tiago, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Digger.

Trainer Todd Pletcher planned to work both Rags to Riches and Circular Quay on Sunday at Belmont, with a decision to be made Tuesday about whether either of them becomes a seventh runner in the Belmont. Entries will be taken and post positions drawn on Wednesday.

Fox, a veterinarian who left behind a 15-year racetrack practice to begin training in February 2005, said he could not be more pleased with how Slew's Tizzy is coming into the race. He said the news that surfaced Friday that Digger will run in the Belmont as a speedy longshot will have no effect on his plans for Slew's Tizzy, who won the Lexington on the lead and the Lone Star Derby from a few lengths off the early pace.

"I don't have any set tactics," said Fox. "I believe we have a versatile racehorse; that's what we've been striving for. A lot of unexpected things can happen in racing from a pace standpoint. Hopefully, our horse will show the versatility that he needs to be effective in a race like this. How this other horse factors in, we won't know until they run the race."

Curlin, trained by Steve Asmussen, was scheduled to have his final prerace workout early Monday at Churchill Downs. Both he and Slew's Tizzy are scheduled to be flown Tuesday from Louisville to New York.

Hard Spun, the Kentucky Derby runner-up and Preakness third-place finisher, arrived at Belmont Park shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Hard Spun galloped 1 1/2 miles at Delaware Park before taking the three-hour van trip. He is bedded down in Barn 18 and is scheduled to breeze Monday, though trainer Larry Jones could move that work up a day pending the weather forecast, which called for showers Sunday night into Monday.

The Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense was withdrawn from Belmont consideration Thursday when trainer Carl Nafzger said he would instead point the colt for the Travers Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic.

- additional reporting by David Grening