Danza Forced to Miss Belmont Stakes
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Grade I Arkansas Derby winner, Danza, who was most recently a troubled third in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the June 7th Belmont Stakes.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was dissatisfied with the manner in which the colt emerged from his workout on Sunday at Belmont Park.
“Danza worked very well, but I wasn’t totally happy with the way he looked this morning,” Pletcher explained. “He had a hard race in the Arkansas Derby and came back three weeks later for the Kentucky Derby. He has acted well in the two weeks since the Derby, but I just sensed he wasn’t 100% after that breeze.
“We’re going to send him to Payton Training Center in Ocala for some diagnostics and time off,” Pletcher added.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners President, Aron Wellman added, “It’s disappointing to be knocked out of any race, let alone a Classic, but the horse must always come first. As soon as Todd (Pletcher) expressed any concern over Danza’s condition, it was a no-brainer to take a step back and regroup. We’ll conduct thorough due diligence and leave no stone unturned to ensure Danza returns to 100%.
“We were certainly looking forward to the opportunity to take on a stellar cast of sophomores in the Belmont Stakes, but we’re confident that by continuing to do right by Danza, he will continue to reward our partners with world-class performances on the racetrack,” Wellman said.
Danza, a $105,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, broke his maiden on debut at age 2 at Belmont Park and followed that up with a stellar third in the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special at Saratoga. As a 3 year-old, he has won the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby and was third in the Kentucky Derby as well as a Gulfstream Park allowance race. He has amassed earnings of $866,428.