The distance of Belmont Stakes 2011should not pose a problem for Brilliant Speed but the conventional dirt footing is a question he must still answer.
Brilliant Speed seems better on dirt and synthetic - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Brilliant Speed, trained by Tom Albertrani and owned by Live Oak Plantation, was beaten more than forty-lengths in a pair of dirt sprints to kick off his career in New York last summer. He showed signs of life in a pair of Belmont turf route show finishes before graduating on the Tampa Bay weeds in December.
That turf maiden win seemed to do wonders for his confidence and he followed that up with a pair of near misses in the grass stakes ranks. He burst onto the Derby scene with a surprising late running tally in the Blue Grass Stakes and ended up 7th of 19 on the first Saturday in May.
Brilliant Speed, a 3-year-old son of Dynaformer, out of Gone West mare Speed Succeeds, will once again have the services of leading Southern California rider Joel Rosario, and although the mile and a half Belmont Stakes distance should be well within his reach, he must still prove that he can run a big race on dirt.
King Congie has done all of his damage on synthetic/turf and might struggle on conventional dirt in the 2011 Preakness. Yes, we heard the same thing about Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby and that did not turn out as expected.
The difference with King Congie is that he tried dirt earlier in his career and did not handle it very well. Granted, those races were sprints and he is much better now.
After flopping in a pair of dirt sprints in New York, King Congie switched surfaces and crossed the line first in three straight turf routes. He rallied to finish a close-up 3rd when last seen in the Blue Grass Stakes but it should be noted that late runners fared well in that Polytrack affair.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Tom Albertrani, the 3-year-old son of Badge of Silver can complete in the Preakness if he handles the footing and it would be fitting if his new pilot Robby Albarado, who was removed from Animal Kingdom just prior to the run for the roses, got sweet revenge on another 20-1 surface switcher.