Grade 3 Illinois Derby winner Multiplier, most recently sixth in the Grade 1 Preakness, will race for the first time with blinkers in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Trainer Brendan Walsh decided to make the equipment change after Multiplier wore them for a sharp half-mile work in 48.60 seconds June 3 at Keeneland, his final pre-Belmont breeze.
“He's just so laid-back, it'll just help him to focus a little bit more and maybe travel a little better early on in the race,” Walsh said. “He broke his maiden without them, so I wasn't going to change then. Then he won the Illinois Derby without them so I wasn't going to change then either.
“I think now's a good chance to do it,” he added. “I galloped him myself a couple of days before he worked and he was so much more focused and then I worked him in them last week and you saw how he worked. I think they'll really help him.”
For the second straight morning since arriving from Kentucky on Tuesday, Multiplier galloped 1 ¼ miles over the main track Thursday under assistant trainer Tom Molloy. The son of The Factor will school in the paddock either before or during Friday's races.
“He was very bright and fresh this morning. He settled right into his routine. He was moving great and came back in through the paddock, taking everything in stride. All good. All systems go,” Molloy said. “He's real easy and he's enjoying it here. He likes the cooler weather at the moment, so he's happy. That's the reason he's here, because everyone's happy with the way he came out of the Preakness. Fingers are crossed, we're very happy where we're at with our horse. Touch wood, he stays sound and healthy into the race. We can't be happier.”
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