Ruler On Ice continued the three-year-old graded stakes upset trend with a surprising tally over Stay Thirsty and Brilliant Speed in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.
Belmont Stakes hero Ruler On Ice - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
The sloppy Belmont Park oval was favoring early-pressing speed throughout the day and the top two Belmont Stakes finishers made their presence felt throughout.
Ruler On Ice has returned to his Monmouth Park base with the Haskell a logical target. His stablemate Pants On Fire goes in Saturday’s Pegasus at the Jersey Shore and also has an eye on the Haskell.
Stay Thirsty and Brilliant Speed will likely spend the summer at Saratoga with the Jim Dandy and Travers on their radar screens.
Belmont Stakes 4th place finisher Nehro came out of the race with a small bone chip in his right front ankle and will have surgery on June 15.
Shackleford set the Belmont pace but came up empty late in a 5th place finish. He could not quite handle the marathon distance and should be much more effective in a race like the Haskell.
Animal Kingdom clipped heels and jockey John Velazquez lost his irons in a disastrous beginning. The Derby hero ended up a better than appears 6th and will target the big summer races (Haskell, Travers).
The rest were far back including the disappointing Master of Hounds, Mucho Macho Man, and Santiva. The latter reportedly did not handle the wet going.
This year’s Triple Crown series was a wild ride of upsets and the 3-year-old title is up for grabs. What surprises are in store for the second half of the year? I can’t wait to find out…stay tuned!
Mucho Macho Man appeared to be sitting on ready for the Preakness but a less than ideal start, wide journey, and another shoe episode derailed his chances. Can he rebound in the 2011 Belmont Stakes?
Mucho Macho Man tries to rebound at Big Sandy - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Kathy Ritvo’s immature son of Macho Uno has been a trifecta player in 8 of 10 lifetime starts and he still won’t officially turn three until after the Belmont Stakes.
Mucho Macho Man has plenty of graded experience (7 starts) with one win and four placings, including a show finish in the Kentucky Derby.
He gets a rider switch to Ramon Dominguez and has been outfitted with a new pair of shoes. He has more speed than he showed in Kentucky and Baltimore and uncorked a five furlong Belmont Park bullet in :59.57 on June 5.
Mucho Macho Man has the tactical speed and raw ability to compete in the Test of Champions. His long distance pedigree is less than stellar but he rates contender status in a wide open renewal of the Belmont Stakes.
The Triple Crown trail upsets continued as the 2011 Preakness went to Kentucky Derby 4th place finisher Shackleford. You can read the entire story at Horse Racing Nation.
Will Shackleford run in the Belmont Stakes? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Shackleford pressed solid fractions and was waiting for someone to go by but there were no takers so he happily took down top honors. Animal Kingdom rallied to land the place and Astrology finished a respectable 3rd. Dialed In clunked up for 4th and disappointing 6th place finisher Mucho Macho Man had early trouble, raced wide, and reportedly threw a shoe again.
As of now, it appears as though 14-horses are under consideration for the2011 Belmont Stakes. This evenly matched group of 3-year-olds take turns beating each other and we will probably see another upset in the Test of Champions.
Pedigree means everything in the Belmont Stakes and a horse like Shackleford could be in deep water because he does his best work on or near a fast pace and that strategy won’t work at twelve furlongs.
Likely Belmont starter Santiva has the right grinding style for Big Sandy and Stay Thirsty is bred to run all day.
Master of Hounds and Nehro are logical Belmont Stakes contenders. The former has the pedigree power but has been in Dubai, Ireland, the United States and back this year and could have serious jet lag if he returns to the US. The latter remains eligible for an entry level spot and has a case of seconditis.
Animal Kingdom will probably get the trip and has a strong kick when the pace is slow. How much energy does he have in reserve following back-to-back strong efforts in Kentucky and Maryland?
I will be posting profiles of all Belmont Stakes contenders in the coming weeks…stay tuned!
Mucho Macho Man will try to turn the tables on Animal Kingdom in the 2011 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.
The Kentucky Derby show finisher is the youngest member competing in the Triple Crown series this year and what he lacks in maturity he makes up for in talent.
Mucho Macho Man ready for Preakness - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and trained by Kathy Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man began his career with a couple of underneath sprint finishes in Florida and New York. Route racing did the trick as he coasted to an easy maiden win at Monmouth in his third lifetime start and ended his juvenile campaign with back-to-back runner-up efforts behind To Honor And Serve in the graded ranks at Aqueduct.
His lone off the board finish to date occurred when he dueled and weakened to 4th in the one turn Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park to begin his 3-year-old campaign. He came back in 20-days to capture the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds and threw a shoe in his Louisiana Derby (G2) show finish prior to occupying that same spot on the first Saturday in May.
Much0 Macho Man breezed a four furlong bullet in :49.28 over Belmont Park’s wet training track on May 17th and he figures to sit a decent stalk and pounce trip under Rajiv Maragh in the Preakness Stakes.
Animal Kingdom, the upset winner of the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby, came out of that race in good order and is on his way to Maryland to begin preparations for the 2011 Preakness Stakes.
Trainer Graham Motion will get Animal Kingdom ready for his next test at his Fair Hill Training Center base not far from Pimlico Race Course.
2011 Kentucky Derby show finisher Mucho Macho Man is expected to return in the Preakness, along with Shackleford, Santiva, and beaten Derby favorite Dialed In.
Speaking of Dialed In, the Nick Zito trainee is eligible for Frank Stronach’s $5.5 million bonus if he wins the second jewel of the Triple Crown. He qualified for the bonus by winning the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
Numerous new shooters are expected in Baltimore, including Jerome runner-up Astrology, Arkansas Derby show finisher Dance City, and Sway Away. The latter was 21st on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list and just missed qualifying for the big dance on the first Saturday in May.