Ready to Resume Training
With Justify resuming training Thursday at Churchill Downs, assistant trainer Jim Barnes said he's doing very wel..
“We came out of the race in great shape, head back to the track tomorrow,” Barnes said. “With the ship, we gave him an extra day, the four days and look forward to going back to the track tomorrow. He’s a chowhound, he eats up everything. Couldn’t be happier with his weight, his flesh, his color. Everything is great on him.”
WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden said Mike Smith will wear China Horse Club’s red silks with yellow stars and sleeves in the Belmont.
Lukas Brags on Belmont
D. Wayne Lukas said he expects this year’s Belmont Stakes to be a better race than the Kentucky Derby.
“Here’s why: It’s got a smaller field, bigger racetrack and it’s got all the major players,” he said. “Why would you not call it a better race? It’s going to be more fair, more honest, more demanding. It’s got all the Hall of Fame trainers. All the quality is there. The racetrack. The three-week break. What’s not to like? It’s a better race. Twenty head over here (to Churchill Downs), some don’t belong, stopping, starting. (The Belmont) is the best race. Whoever wins that should go to the top of the class, the leaderboard.”
Bravazo will resume training Thursday at the special 7:30 a.m. time restricted to Belmont contenders.
Lukas said Bravazo "was all over the barn” while walking on Wednesday, adding, “I should have taken him” to the track. I watched him here for about five minutes and said be careful. He’s on his game.”
Tenfold on Target
Steve Asmussen, who on Kentucky Derby Day became the second trainer to win 8,000 races, said Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold came out of his Preakness third-place finish “beautiful” and is squarely on course to run in the Belmont Stakes.
Tenfold jogged at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning shortly after the track opened. He will resume galloping Thursday at the 7:30 a.m. time restricted to Belmont Stakes candidates, Asmussen said. Tenfold, who like Justify never raced as a 2-year-old, was making his fourth start in the Preakness, having won a maiden and allowance race at Oaklawn Park before coming in fifth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
“I think we’re just getting to where we’re wanting to be with him,” Asmussen said. “He came out of it well physically, gave him a little jog this morning and he was as comfortable as he always is. We expect to run. All indications here are go. I was very anxious to be here this morning when he went back to the track and I loved how he looked. It’s going to be a very exciting 2 1/2 weeks, and it sure feels like we’re going to get to play.”
Free Drop Billy Possible
Trainer Dale Romans termed Free Drop Billy possible for the Belmont Stakes but added that the Belmont Derby Invitational on July 7 is an option.
Romans said the Belmont decision will come down to “gut instinct” and how Free Drop Billy is doing, more than who else might be running.
“His brother is one of the best turf horses in the world,” he said.
Free Drop Billy is expected to start training at Churchill Downs’ special 7:30 a.m. time restricted to Belmont Stakes horses.
Edited Belmont Park release