Danza Forced to Miss Belmont Stakes

by | 05.20.2014 | 2:16pm
Danza rolls home in the Arkansas Derby

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.

  • He was tackled by Judith Light in the Green Room, just before the Today Show interview.

    • riatea

      Seems Don Reed knows more than Todd Pletcher about what is going on.

    • Ida Lee

      Don, wrong Danza. But, as usual, LOL. Personally, I prefer the horse. Hope Danza gets well soon. He adds a lot of excitement to a race.

      • Did they ever explain to George Steinbrenner that he wasn’t the inspiration for “Who’s The Boss?”?
        Yes, I will miss him. He put some much-needed excitement into an otherwise humdrum Derby Trail.

  • Sara B.

    Will Ria Antonia race in the Belmont? Lol.

    • lawrence

      please don’t give that goofy SOB owner any ideas……there still looking for her at pimlico…they put out a APB…she was last seen backing up and slowing to a walk on the turn… the smart money says she ran away….just couldn’t take the abuse any more….and to think the fool of an owner was bragging on the walk over that he had a pocket full of tickets…lmao….wont be long now and he will be dabbling with those 5k claimers again..

      • Ida Lee

        Stop it … Ria does not deserve all these put downs…

    • forestwildcat


    • Mimi Hunter

      She’s not on any list I have seen so far.

  • Tinky

    See? If only the TC races had eight weeks between them he might have made it.

  • jttf

    imagine that, only three weeks off, he gets slammed by his own stablemate in a 19 horse field. and now he has something wrong with him.

    • Paul Prekop

      Aron and Eddie are first class !! Take one for the team. Why upset the California apple cart? California spelled correct for non sentiment.

    • Stuart H.

      That tends to happen when you start 4 horses for the same trainer who are allegedly all trying to win and run their best race. Even in a 19 horse field Pletcher has more than 20 percent of the field!

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Too bad. I thought he would have tested CC at 12 furlongs.

  • forestwildcat

    Sounds like a tendon to me

  • Stuart H.

    Pletcher will never be a threat with a single horse in the T/C trail for more than one race. Good thing he has multiple shooters. The turnaround is simply too quick for the way he trains. And at least he is doing right by the colt–and the colt could well be injured. But, even if he is not injured it is only 5 weeks to the Belmont. Pletcher likes 8-12 weeks. When you have an assembly line method its hard to tailor to one colt to get him ready for 2 or more T/C races, I suppose.

    • Mimi Hunter

      5 weeks from the Derby. 3 weeks from the Preakness.

      • Stuart H.

        And your point is what? We are talking about DANZA here who last ran in the Derby. I said it was 5 weeks to the Belmont for him. Do people like to correct here just for the sake of correcting without reading what has been said?


        • Mimi H

          Sorry. Your wording was unclear.

          • Stuart H.

            That is why I said I was going to assume you did not understand what I was talking about. No problem, next time I will write very clearly. We are on the same page…

  • Beach

    This is a bummer, Danza is a good horse. But better safe than sorry–I hope he has a nice rest.

    • Mimi Hunter

      I’d written down that his legs were a little odd – tendon sheaths didn’t appear to hold the tendons as smoothly as I’d like. So I went back to Google and looked at them again. Fetlocks and knees in front really look pretty lumpy – the entire hind legs appear off a little and fetlocks, hocks, and stifle [same as a knee in people – hocks are similar to human heels] are pretty lumpy – and don’t look like the tendons tie in smoothly. I think it was a wise decision to pull Danza out of the race.

  • Wild horses

    41 nominations for the TC and yet Pletcher did not have one runner in the Preakness and now Danza is out. Wastage rate at its highest.poor training.

  • Dan Jividen

    The California Chrome crew are rubbing their palms over the news of Danza’s withdrawal. Danza was one of the few Belmont Stakes contenders who could have prompted the pace alongside California Chrome. Chrome will feel a lot less pressure now. He will be able to stalk the pace in a more relaxed manner. And the pace should be a bit slower with only the one stalker now instead two. All in all the race sets up a lot better for California Chrome now that Danza’s out of the picture.

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