Quotes from a NYRA release
How do the trainers of Belmont contenders feel about their post position draws?
Turns out that everyone’s happy, except for one guy who’s hedging his bets. Here’s what they had to say, in post position order:
- Mubtaahij trainer Mike de Kock probably won’t be sending Christmas cards to NYRA officials who aren’t already on his list. But then again, he probably won’t take anyone off his list, either. “He did win from drawing (post) one in Dubai, but I’d rather be on the outside to be honest,” de Kock said, adding, “We’ve got a rider that knows his way around the track. You’ve got to leave it to the rider.”
- Tale of Verve‘s Dallas Stewart is much more interested in talking about his horse, the surprising Preakness runner-up, than the post position. “The post is fine,” Stewart said. “We brought him here right after Pimlico and he’s had some very good gallops. I just wanted to get him here. He’s a very big horse, it’s a big track, I just really felt like he would love it. I think he’s pretty impressive. I like him.”
- Madefromlucky, one of two Todd Pletcher trainees, will break from post three. “I think (post 3) is fine (for Madefromlucky),” Pletcher said. “I don’t think it was important for him where he drew. I think he’ll appreciate the mile and a half.”
- Frammento is trainer Nick Zito’s traditional “what’s he doing here?” entrant, one of whom, Da’ Tara, gave Zito one of his two Belmont wins, to go with three runner-up finishes. “I don’t think the post matters too much to us because we’re coming from behind, so hopefully we’ll get a good trip and go from there,” he explained of a horse that sports a 30-1 morning line.
- American Pharoah will gun for the first Triple Crown since 1978 from the five-hole for trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert is notoriously finicky about post positions but allowed, “I don’t really think it’s a horrible post position. I’ve always liked the five. It’s one I’ve had good luck with. The main thing is that the horse is doing well.” Of course, Baffert’s always done well from most post positions; his horses have won more than $220 million and 11 Triple Crown races, though, oddly enough, he’s won just a single Belmont (Point Given, 2001).
- Frosted closed nicely to be fourth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and sat out the Preakness to aim for this event. “I didn’t think there was going to be a bad draw for us and am happy that we drew post six in an eight horse field,” the conditioner said. “No excuses. We weren’t looking for any specific draw but in the middle is always a great place to be.” He added that he figured his horse would be in mid-pack in the early running.
- Keen Ice rallied into seventh in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Dale Romans, who pronounced himself satisfied with his Belmont draw. “It’s perfect,” he said. “I like having another horse on each side of me when they all break and this gives my rider the time to figure it out. In an eight-horse field going a mile and a half, the draw isn’t that big of a deal.”
- Materiality figures to be one American Pharoah’s top threats — if he can break more alertly than he did in Louisville, when he was away last before rallying to finish sixth. Trainer Todd Pletcher will have two shots at Belmont glory, with this horse and Madefromlucky. Look for this one to try to be involved from the first jump. ” I like the fact that we drew outside of American Pharoah,” Pletcher said. “We’re going to make sure we break well this time and go into the first turn trying to make sure there’s an honest pace.”