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Large Belmont Stakes field concerns McGaughey

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The Sports Network
6/3/2013 3:47:05 PM
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Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - Last month's Kentucky Derby featured 19 3-year- olds, which apparently did no harm to Orb as he came from well off the pace to capture the 139th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

However, a large field for Saturday's 145th Belmont Stakes gives pause to Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey.

"(The large field is) more concerning than anything else because not all of them in there belong, but they have as much right to run as anybody else, so I do think the race will be pretty spread out," said McGaughey. "He ran with 18 in the Derby."

Two weeks after winning the opening leg of racing's Triple Crown, Orb failed versus eight rivals in the Preakness Stakes in which Oxbow led the entire way to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

Monday at Belmont Park, McGaughey reported that Orb came out of Sunday's workout in fine order with the 1 1/2-mile Test of the Champion on the horizon.

"He came out of his work good, ate up good, walked this morning, seems to be fine," said McGaughey, who trains the colt for Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had five horses run in this year's Kentucky Derby and is seriously considering doing the same for the Belmont.

Three horses are definite for Saturday's race: WinStar Farm's Revolutionary, Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice, and Mike Repole's Overanalyze. Repole could also start the filly Unlimited Budget and lightly raced Midnight Taboo.

"I have not yet spoken with Mike Repole, and he will make the final decision," said Pletcher.

Trainer Ken McPeek will start Frac Daddy in the Belmont Stakes.

"We still believe this is a really, really good horse," noted McPeek about the Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' 3-year-old, "but for whatever reason it hasn't happened for him. Sometimes you throw deep and it goes incomplete, but you can't score if you don't throw. (Carter Stewart, the principal partner for Magic City) is the ideal client to throw deep and we won the Travers for him last year (with dead-heat winner Golden Ticket)."

Frac Daddy posted a sixth-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a seventh behind Orb in the Florida Derby and was 16th in the Kentucky Derby.

"I do believe the horse will run well," McPeek said. "I think the pace in the Belmont will suit him well, too. He drew outside in the Derby and couldn't get position, and I don't think he handled the slop. He's worked on a dry track a couple times recently and worked freaky good. I think he's got a big shot at it."

Rain Monday morning at Belmont Park prevent Vyjack from putting in a workout. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez was in the saddle as the gelding galloped 1 1/2 miles.

"He jogged a bit and galloped the wrong way," said Rodriguez who will have Vyjack work Tuesday morning. "He was acting up a little bit and I didn't want him fighting me, so I opened him up a little bit. He seems good."

A final decision on Always in a Tiz?s status for the Belmont will come by Tuesday afternoon. Trainer Dominick Schettino and owners Anthony and MaryEllen Bonomo will consult with each other as to starting the colt in the 1 1/2-mile Test of the Champion.

Orb (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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