Danza, Wicked Strong breeze ahead of Belmont
Also in action on the training track was Wicked Strong, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 in preparation for the Belmont Stakes. The son of Hard Spun was likewise getting back to work for the first time since the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished a troubled fourth.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens was pleased with the work."He looked good. Everything is on schedule so far," Jerkens said.
"I don't know the exact day he'll breeze next week; it depends on how he gallops in between. It depends on a million things, but you can't get ready for a mile and a half keeping him in the barn."
Samraat took to the main track at Aqueduct, turning in a :48 4/5 four-furlong breeze in his first workout since finishing fifth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby.
"It was a recreational move, a maintenance breeze," said Rick Violette, who trains Samraat for Leonard Riggio's My Meadowview Farm. "He stretched his legs, had a good time out there, and pulled up well."
"I'm not going to worry too much about the field because there's not much I can do about it. I saw that California Chrome was very impressive yesterday and I congratulate his connections because it's a great feat."
Others pointing to the Belmont include Commanding Curve, a fast-finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, and Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin. Another Preakness starter under consideration for the Belmont is third-place finisher Social Inclusion, who is scheduled to arrive in New York on Friday. Preakness also-rans General a Rod (fourth), Ring Weekend (fifth) and Kid Cruz (eighth) are questionable.
Trainers commented on the depth of the prospective Belmont field.
"It looks like it might be a full field," Violette said, "and we'll have some horses who ran in the Derby who decided to wait for the Belmont and some who ran in both the Derby and the Preakness. It should be a solid field, and it won't be a layup for anybody."
"It looks like it could be a tough one," Pletcher said.Jerkens noted, "It's going to be a contentious field, that's for sure, which it figured to be with a lot of horses skipping the Preakness. The top two from the Peter Pan (Tonalist and Commissioner) are going. They'll all be there; it'll be something."
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