Trainer Todd Pletcher added Spinoff to the list of probable entrants for the Grade 1 $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8 after an 18th-place effort in the Kentucky Derby.
A Wertheimer and Frere homebred, the 3-year-old son of Hard Spun didn't take to the sloppy track conditions in the Derby, according to Pletcher who said that the horse has been training forwardly since then.
Spinoff recorded his first breeze since the Derby last Sunday morning with a half-mile work in 48.72 seconds at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
“He worked well and seems to be training forwardly,” Pletcher said. “He didn't seem to care for the surface on Derby day. He put himself in a decent tracking position, but when it was time for him to turn his head he just kind of spun the wheels a bit.”
Prior to the Derby, Spinoff was a game second to By My Standards in the G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. He was an impressive 11 ¾-length winner of his 2019 debut, which took place on Feb. 22 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Also targeting the Belmont from the Pletcher barn is Grade 3 Peter Pan third-place finisher Intrepid Heart, who was slow coming out of the gate in the local prep for the Test of the Champion and finished six lengths behind winner Global Campaign as the heavy favorite in his stakes debut.
A winner of his first two career outings, Intrepid Heart is by Tapit – who has produced three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners in Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017) – and also is a half-brother to Commissioner who was a close second behind Tonalist, both are out of the graded stakes placed Touch Gold broodmare Flaming Heart.
“He stumbled coming out of the gate but he's still lightly raced,” Pletcher said. “I thought he galloped out well. He's bred top and bottom for the distance and I'm optimistic that his pedigree will allow him to get the distance.”
Pletcher stated that both Spinoff and Intrepid Heart, along with Grade 2 Godolphin Mile winner Coal Front will all work Saturday morning. Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front is pointing to the Grade 1 $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap.
In other Belmont Stakes news, reigning Eclipse-Award 2-year-old champion and multiple graded stakes winner Game Winner, who finished fifth last out in the Kentucky Derby is still under consideration for the race, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
“He's continuing to do well coming out of the Derby,” said Baffert. “We've given him a little bit of a break, but we should make a decision on if we'll definitely run in the Belmont or not by the end of this week.”
Trainer Brendan Walsh said that he is still weighing options for Plus Que Parfait, who has yet to breeze since his eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
“I had to back off of him a little bit. We're looking for another spot for him but nothing is decided yet,” said Walsh.
The son of Point of Entry, who won the Grade 2 United Arab Emirates Derby at Meydan Racecourse in his start prior to the Run for the Roses, broke his maiden at third asking over the main track at Keeneland where he defeated eventual graded stakes winners Harvey Wallbanger and Cutting Humor.
Bred in Kentucky by Calloway Stables, Plus Que Parfait is the second foal out of the Awesome Again broodmare Belvedera. He was purchased for $135,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
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