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!
After sweeping moves in both the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby, Nehro has become a buzz horse for the 2011 Belmont Stakes. Trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Ahmed Zayat elected to skip the Preakness with the 3-year-old son of Mineshaft to prep specifically for the Test of Champions at Big Sandy.
Nehro is ready for Belmont Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Nehro disappointed in his first two outings before a breakthrough maiden performance at Oaklawn Park under late jockey Michael Baze, who also rode him to a runner-up effort in the Louisiana Derby.
He needed earnings to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May and got them in a second place finish in the Arkansas Derby under new pilot Corey Nakatani.
Speaking of Nakatani, he sensed the slow pace in the Kentucky Derby and made a wide early move aboard Nehro, which resulted in yet another runner-up finish.
The Preakness was seriously considered but the Kentucky Derby was Nehro’s third start in six weeks so his connections are left with a fresh horse making his first start in five weeks at Belmont Park.
Nehro’s sire Mineshaft, out of ’92 Belmont Stakes hero A. P. Indy, is responsible for last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Fly Down.
On June 6, Nehro completed his Belmont Stakes preparations with a four furlong work in :50.88 and his brash owner is confident in his colt’s chances in the Test of Champions.
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!
Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro might skip the 2011 Preakness and wait for the Belmont Stakes but he figures to take plenty of wagering action if his connections opt to run him in Baltimore.
Trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Zayat Stables, Nehro was slow to develop. After back-to-back unplaced efforts, the 3-year-old son of Mineshaft graduated nicely in a flat mile special weight affair at Oaklawn Park on Feb 21.
The aforementioned maiden win seemed to light a fire under Nehro because he returned to just miss in the Louisiana Derby at 36-1. He returned three weeks later to lose another photo in the Arkansas Derby and he headed to Churchill Downs as the wise guy horse.
Surprisingly, the Derby had no pace and Nehro’s rider Corey Nakatani sensed the slow fractions and made a smart early move. He was run down by Animal Kingdom and landed the place once again.
The Kentucky Derby was his third start in six weeks and it might be asking too much to come back in two weeks on the third Saturday in May. If he waits for the Belmont Stakes he would be running on five weeks rest. He breezed four furlongs in :50.80 at Churchill Downs on May 16.