G1 Preakness-winner National Treasure breezes for G1 Belmont Stakes
by NYRA Press Office
- G1 Preakness-winner National Treasure breezes for G1 Belmont Stakes
- Reincarnate to bypass G1 Belmont Stakes in favor of G1 Travers; Doppelganger on target for G1 Met Mile; Fort Bragg, Gilmore, and Fort Warren point to G1 Woody Stephens
- G1-winner White Abarrio works for G1 Met Mile
- Early look at probables for the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets
SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital and Catherine Donovan’s Grade 1 Preakness-winner National Treasure worked a half-mile solo Tuesday over Big Sandy in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez up for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, the Quality Road colt was caught by NYRA clockers in a swift opening split of 23 and 2/5 seconds before hitting the wire through a half-mile in 50.62.
Velazquez had National Treasure under a hold down the lane before letting the talented bay gallop out strong.
“I wanted to jog him to the mile pole and start him galloping nice and easy. He got pretty strong on the bridle, so I kept him on the outside and Bob told me when I get to the four and a half, just drop him in and try to go 49,” Velazquez said. “He picked it up pretty quick. I slowed him down as best I could and down the lane I just held him together. Going past the sixteenth pole, I gave him his head and let him gallop out.”
National Treasure added blinkers for his score in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on May 20 at Pimlico which he won in dramatic fashion after a prolonged stretch duel with Grade 1-winner Blazing Sevens to his outside.
Velazquez, who won the Belmont with Rags to Riches  and Union Rags , said that he expects National Treasure should be able to handle the stretch out to 12 furlongs in the “Test of the Champion” on June 10 at Belmont Park.
“After the races, he always gallops out really strong. I just hope that he can put it together,” Velazquez said. “The whole thing with him is he gets a little spotty. We put blinkers on him and he's been pretty good with them. Hopefully, he stays like that.”
Tom Ryan, managing partner of SF Racing, was on hand to watch the breeze and said Velazquez was pleased with the work.
“He said he was getting over the track very well which is most important,” Ryan said. “He said that it’s good to get a horse acclimated to the track.”
National Treasure boasts a record of 6-2-1-2 for purse earnings in excess of $1.3 million. He has raced at four different tracks, graduating on debut in September at Del Mar before hitting the board in the Grade 1 American Pharoah [2nd] in October at Santa Anita, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile [3rd] in November at Keeneland, and the Grade 3 Sham [3rd] in January at Santa Anita. He entered the Preakness from a troubled fourth-place finish in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April.
Ryan said the well-traveled horse has gained valuable experience.
“He went from Del Mar to Santa Anita to Keeneland and back,” Ryan said. “He got that early education we wanted him to get of getting on the plane and going to Kentucky with a big crowd. He’s experienced that now on a number of days on Breeders’ Cup to Preakness to this.”
Ryan said a win in the Belmont Stakes would be significant as he looks to build National Treasure’s resume as a potential stallion.
“I think it’s very important,” Ryan said. “A race like the Belmont is very important when pairing it with a race like the Preakness. I think a standalone Belmont definitely has value on a resume, but when you put two Classics on your resume, it’s pretty hard to top isn’t it?”
National Treasure is the first stakes winner produced from the Medaglia d’Oro mare Treasure and was purchased for $500,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
Reincarnate to bypass G1 Belmont Stakes in favor of G1 Travers; Doppelganger on target for G1 Met Mile; Fort Bragg, Gilmore, and Fort Warren point to G1 Woody Stephens
While Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure is ramping up for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, stablemate Reincarnate will skip the "Test of the Champion" with the ultimate objective being the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Reincarnate was most recently 13th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby for trainer Tim Yakteen, who conditioned the son of Good Magic through his last three starts. He was previously third in Oaklawn Park’s Grade 2 Rebel and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
Both Reincarnate and National Treasure are owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Waves Edge Capital, Jay A. Schoenfarber, and Catherine Donovan.
“He’ll redirect to the Travers. It’ll fit him well and will give him some time to fill up again out of the Derby,” said Tom Ryan, racing manager for the ownership group. “It feels like he’s getting bigger and stronger with time. We all want everything to happen tomorrow, but if you’re patient with these horses and give them the chance to be able to be what they can be, it’s amazing how they can repay you.”
Ryan said he was unsure as to when or if Reincarnate would race leading up to the Travers.
Bred in Kentucky by Woods Edge Farm, Reincarnate was purchased for $775,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of the stakes-winning Scat Daddy mare Allanah.
National Treasure won’t be the large ownership group’s only starter on Belmont Stakes Day. Ryan reported that Grade 1 Carter-winner Doppelganger will return to the Empire State for the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap for trainer Brittany Russell. The Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Santa Anita.
Owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm, the 4-year-old Into Mischief colt is unbeaten since joining the Maryland-based Russell’s stable, capturing a pair of allowance events at Laurel Park before shipping to Aqueduct for his Carter conquest.
A debut maiden winner at two for Baffert, he finished second last year in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 San Felipe and third in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Affirmed – both at Santa Anita.
“He’s a spectacular physical son of Into Mischief with a great pedigree,” Ryan said. “He had some 2-year-old form. He’s a horse that had some bone bruising at a time in his career when we just needed to stop on him. We gave him all that time he needed. The Carter is a bear of a race, but the horse is doing well and he’s definitely improved from race to race and we’re excited about it.”
Ryan also reported that the ownership conglomerate which campaigns National Treasure will go three deep in the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun for sophomores going seven furlongs with Fort Bragg, Gilmore, and Fort Warren.
Fort Bragg was a last-out second to General Jim in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs following a pair of fifth-place finishes in the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 1 Florida Derby.
Gilmore, who was a closing third in the Pat Day Mile, ran second in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct two starts back for trainer Brendan Walsh. His lone win was a four-length victory going one mile in December at Los Alamitos for Baffert.
Fort Warren, a distant third in the Grade 2 San Vicente in January at Santa Anita for Baffert, defeated winners going six furlongs on May 19 at Pimlico for Russell.
“They’re three nice colts,” Ryan said. “Fort Bragg - it feels like he’s potentially the top of that trifecta, but Gilmore is a nice horse, too. He’s a horse that comes from off the pace. He’s really learning and improving with each start. Fort Warren ran very well at Pimlico on Preakness weekend. He came out of that race well. We always felt like, despite the fact that he’s by Curlin, that he’s more a sprinter, miler type.”
G1-winner White Abarrio works for G1 Met Mile
C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s Grade 1-winner White Abarrio breezed five-eighths in 59.02 Friday over Big Sandy in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 10 at Belmont Park.
The Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Santa Anita.
Trained by Rick Dutrow, Jr. and piloted through the work by Irad Ortiz, Jr., the 4-year-old Race Day colt was caught by NYRA clockers through splits of 24.30 seconds and 35.72 before galloping out in 1:11.74.
“Irad said he worked good. He was happy with that,” Dutrow, Jr. said. “He's a nice horse. He liked the track and Irad said he was going good. He said he really didn't ask him for anything - just galloping out he just wanted to keep his mind on his business and he couldn't be happier with him. So, I kind of feel the same way.”
White Abarrio, who won the Grade 1 Florida Derby last year, last worked a half-mile in 50.68 seconds on May 21 at Gulfstream Park when in the care of previous conditioner Saffie Joseph, Jr. before being transferred to the Dutrow, Jr. barn last week.
Dutrow, Jr. said that graded-stakes winner Master Piece, who was also transferred to his care from the Joseph, Jr. barn, will miss the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day.
“He came in here and had some kind of bellyache,” said Dutrow, Jr. who sent the 7-year-old Mastercraftsman ridgling to the Cornell Ruffian Equine Clinic briefly for evaluation. “He's back now and he looks like a different horse since he's been back. He's happy enough. So, I guess he'll go back to the track in a couple of days. They wanted him to walk for three days here, so he's still under doctor's care which is good.”
Dutrow, Jr. said Master Piece is scheduled to walk the shed row over the next two days before resuming any serious training. Owned by Michael and Julia Iavarone, Nicholas Zoumas, Vapewh, Frank Argano and Ten Twenty Racing, Master Piece made the grade in the Grade 2 Eddie Read in July at Del Mar when trained by Michael McCarthy.
Dutrow, Jr. said Sanford Goldfarb, Matthew Morrison and Crown Stable’s stakes-placed New York-bred Prince of Pharoahs came out of his seventh-place finish in Monday’s Commentator here in good order.
The 6-year-old American Pharoah gelding provided Dutrow, Jr. with his first victory since returning from suspension when he captured an open-company allowance mile on May 6 at Belmont.
“He looks good. I thought he ran a big race yesterday. He was just in the wrong place, that’s all,” Dutrow, Jr. said. “We can re-group and we know not to try that again, but he ran his ass off. I'm happy with that horse.”
Early look at probables for the G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets
HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER / OWNER
Angel of Empire / Flavien Prat / Brad Cox / Albaugh Family Stables
Arcangelo / Javier Castellano / Jena Antonucci / Blue Rose Farm
Forte / Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Todd Pletcher / Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
Hit Show / Manny Franco / Brad Cox / Gary and Mary West
Il Miracolo / Marcos Meneses / Antonio Sano / Alexandres
National Treasure / John Velazquez / Bob Baffert / SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan
Raise Cain / Junior Alvarado / Ben Colebrook / Andrew Warren & Rania Warren
Red Route One / Joel Rosario / Steve Asmussen / Winchell Thoroughbreds
Tapit Trice / Luis Saez / Todd Pletcher / Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable
Possible: Prove Worthy (Pletcher), Tapit Shoes (Cox)
The Belmont Stakes headlines the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that features a total of 16 stakes events from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. For additional information on the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing, visit BelmontStakes.com.