Early Voting, Epicenter likely to bypass Belmont
It looks like the season of skipping will continue. The Kentucky Derby winner skipped the Preakness; the Preakness winner skipped the Derby.
And now it looks likely that both the Preakness winner and runner-up will skip the Belmont. Such is racing in 2022.
- Fasig-Tipton mixed sale set for TuesdayNearly 300 horses, including 94 in the horses of racing age supplement, are in the catalog to sell December 6 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic mixed sale.
All Preakness runners came out of the Middle Jewel in good order, the Maryland Jockey Club said in a release.
Chad Brown and Seth Klarman, Preakness winner Early Voting’s trainer and owner, respectively, had indicated Saturday that they likely would not point their classic winner on to the Belmont; and Brown confirmed that Sunday morning.
“We are thrilled with the victory,” Brown said in a Maryland Jockey Club release. “I’m proud of the horse. Proud of my team. It was a super memorable day, especially being on Seth Klarman’s birthday in his hometown. Everything lined up. I’m just so appreciative for the day, the performance.”
While he told the notes team that he had not yet mapped out a game plan for the horse going forward, on Saturday he said that the 10-furlong Travers at Saratoga was a likely goal. Brown is a native of upstate New York, while Klarman originally hails from Baltimore.
“I really don’t believe he’ll have any trouble getting the mile-and-a-quarter,” Brown said. “And you know, growing up just 20 minutes from Saratoga – Baltimore native, that was his race today. The Travers would be for me. So that’d be really at the top of the list.”
Brown has never won the Travers.
Owner Ron Winchell also indicated Sunday morning that Epicenter, beaten favorite in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, would likely not head to New York for the Belmont.
“I would say that’s [a Belmont start] a stretch at the moment,” he told the Maryland Jockey Club notes team. “He had six weeks between the Louisiana Derby and the Derby, and that did him well. I think there might have been five weeks between the Risen Star (G2) and the Louisiana Derby (G2), and that did him well. Just looking at how he came back fresh, that seems to be the recipe at the moment.”
[VIDEO: Steve Asmussen discusses Epicenter days before the Preakness]
Epicenter was far back early in the Preakness before rallying willingly but could not get to the winner.
One horse who may head to the Belmont is Preakness show horse Creative Minister, and why not? After all, his connections paid $150,000 to supplement him to the Triple Crown.
The Creative Cause colt won an allowance race on the Kentucky Derby undercard and came back with a strong Preakness effort. He came out of the race well, McPeek said.
“That’s the plan,” he said of a trip to New York.
[VIDEO: Ken McPeek discusses Creative Minister days before the Preakness]
McPeek believes his colt will love the 12 furlongs of the Belmont Stakes.
“He’s out of a Tapit mare, and Tapit’s been a dominant stallion in the Belmont,” McPeek told Gary Quill of The Racing Biz prior to the Preakness.
One other runner under Belmont consideration is Skippylongstocking. He ran fifth in the Preakness, beaten 7 ½ lengths.
“He ran good enough (in the Preakness) and it might be worth taking a shot at it,” trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. said. “We won’t decide for a week. We’ll see how he comes out and see how his energy is and then decide. I think he would get a mile-and-a-half.”
[VIDEO: Saffie Joseph, Jr. discusses Skipplongstocking days before the Preakness]