Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 12:05 PM
Volume 15 - Number 3
June 3, 2017
UPDATING THE BELMONT STAKES...SOME SYMPATHY, PLETCHER WORKS AND PLETCHER PATIENCE
(A LITTLE SYMPATHY FOR THE OWNERS)
A few days ago, Conquest Mo Money, who was supplemented to the final two legs of the Triple Crown for $150,000 before finishing an even running seventh in the Preakness Stakes was taken off the Belmont Stakes probability list. It seemed as though the decision to utilize his speed in the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 10 made sense. Co-owner Tom McKenna said on Thursday he was comfortable with the group decision.
Now move forward about 36 hours Thursday. Friday afternoon McKenna said the graded stakes-placed son of Uncle Mo breezed Friday morning at Fair Hill Training Center, came back to the barn in good order, but had swelling later in the afternoon.
"It's doubtful he'll run," said McKenna, who said Conquest Mo Money would likely head be sent back to New Mexico to gauge the colt's future status. It was in New Mexico where he won the first three races of his career. As tough as this game is for trainers, jockeys and bettors, it is equally tough on owners.
(PLETCHER DECLARES TWO AS IN BELMONT STAKES)
After both Patch and Tapwrit worked 5 furlongs in tandem over the Belmont main track in 1:01 2/5 Friday morning, trainer Todd Pletcher announced that each would be running in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.
Patch, with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, (Velazquez will replace Tyler Gafflione, who was aboard for the Kentucky Derby) drilled inside Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Tapwrit, who in turn was piloted by his regular jockey was, Jose Ortiz. Matched up head-to-head throughout, ran past the wire together in 1:01.45. NYRA clockers caught the pair in :37 for the first three furlongs. Together they galloped out to six furlongs in 1:14 3/5.
After running 1th and 6th respectively in the Kentucky Derby, Patch and Tapwrit skipped the Preakness.
(SPEAKING OF SKIPPING THE PREAKNESS...)
When it came to evaluating the Preakness Stakes there were obviously few negatives attached to Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, who went off as the Preakness favorite and put up little resistance to first Classic Empire, who put Always Dreaming Away and Cloud Computing, who ran down Classic Empire.
Those who did find a reason to stop dreaming pointed out trainer Todd Pletcher's high failure rate running horses back in stakes races in two weeks.
His success has always been based on his patience with his horses. And as negative as his quick turn-around record is, his patience has been just the opposite. In fact, in recent years, Pletcher has done quite well with horses who failed in the Kentucky derby, skipped the Preakness and returned for the Belmont. He has also done well with runners who did not run in either of the first two Triple Crown legs and went in the Belmont.
2016 - Destin - 6th in Kentucky Derby...2nd in Belmont at 8-1
2014 - Commissioner - did not run in either Derby or Preakness...2nd at 28-1
2013 - Palace Malice - 12th in Derby...WON at 14-1
2011 - Stay Thirsty - 12th in Derby...2nd at 16-1
2009 - Dunkirk - 11th in Derby...2nd at 9-2
2008 - Ready's Echo - did not run in either Derby or Preakness...3rd at 28-1
2007 - Rags To Riches - Won Kentucky Oaks...WON at 9-2
2006 - Blue Grass cat - 2nd in Derby...2nd at 5-1
2006 - Sunriver - did not run in either Derby or Preakness...3rd at 5-1
When you look at the 2017 Belmont Stakes PP's and see Patch finishing 14th and Tapwrit 6th when last seen in the Kentucky Derby, the above history might indicate that in this scenario, each of these Pletcher colts nonetheless belong on your radar.
Make certain to return to BELMONT BUZZ on these pages on Monday as we continue to add all your win-aiding information.