It was a busy Saturday morning at Belmont Park for trainer Todd Pletcher as he breezed a number of stakes contenders in preparation for upcoming assignments in the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival set for Thursday, June 6 – Saturday, June 8.
Wertheimer and Frere's homebred Spinoff will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8, after finishing a disappointing 18th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track.
Spinoff breezed five furlongs in 59.91 seconds in company with fellow 3-year-old stablemate Last Judgment, raking second out of 28 runners at the distance.
“I thought he [Spinoff] worked well,” said Pletcher. “I think the main track was a bit fast, but he galloped out [seven furlongs] in one [minute], twenty-four [seconds] and change and a mile in one [minute] thirty-seven [seconds] and change so it was the kind of big work we were looking for from him today.”
Last Judgment, a son of Congrats owned by Mathis Stable and Madaket Stables, broke his maiden in his second career start in February at Gulfstream and followed up with an allowance win on March 16 at Oaklawn.
Following a ninth-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on May 4 at Churchill Downs, Last Judgment is expected to target the $150,000 Easy Goer at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8.
“We have him penciled in for the Easy Goer at the moment,” said Pletcher. “He looked good this morning and that's encouraging. His race in the Pat Day was probably the most disappointing performance I've seen in a long time from a horse that trained like he did leading into it. I don't know if it was leaving from post 14 or what, but he never tightened the bridle at any stage.”
Intrepid Heart is also pointing for the Grade 1 Belmont following a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Peter Pan, and posted his first breeze back completing four furlongs in 49.16 seconds, with the addition of blinkers. He breezed in company with multiple graded stakes winning stablemate Prince Lucky, who finished sixth in the Grade 3 Westchester on May 4 in his most recent start and was clocked in 48.82 seconds.
“I thought his [Intrepid Heart's] workout was very good,” said Pletcher. “It was his first time with blinkers and he seemed to be a little bit more focused, but not head strong, so we got the response we were looking for. I thought he put in a nice move toward the end of the work and he had a nice gallop out as well. Prince Lucky didn't quite get to finish his gallop out due to the loose horse siren that went off, but I thought he also worked well. We'll see how he comes back next week before deciding on a race for him.”
Marconi completed his first breeze since winning the Flat Out on May 9. The handsome Tapit colt also visited the main track, breezing four furlongs in 49.82 seconds with his next target the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational.
“We didn't want to do too much today and I thought it was a good effort from him,” said Pletcher. “We're looking at the Brooklyn [Invitational] for him, so we'll see how he comes out of the work.”
Making a visit to the inner turf for Pletcher was Bortolazzo Stable's graded stakes winner Bellavais, who breezed four furlongs in 49.31 seconds and is targeting a start in the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game following a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.
“I thought it was nice, consistent work from her,” said Pletcher. “We're getting her ready for the Just a Game. She ran pretty well here last fall [October 24, Allowance win] going a mile on the turf, so we'll try to do that here again. It'll be a tough assignment, but we'll give her a try.”
On Friday, Pletcher sent multiple graded stakes winner Coal Front to the main track for his fourth workout since returning from Dubai after winning the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan Racecourse.
The 5-year-old son of Stay Thirsty breezed five furlongs in 1:00.66 in preparation for an upcoming start in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Mile.
“I thought he had an especially good work as well,” said Pletcher. “He's come out of it well and he seems to be in good shape in what's looking like a very deep race, but he's certainly earned his way to be in there.”
Also expected for a loaded renewal of the Runhappy Metropolitan are Mitole, McKinzie, Firenze Fire, Promises Fulfilled and Thunder Snow.
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