In Saturday’s Churchill Downs media notes, trainer Dale Romans gave some insight into how the decision was made to run Medal Count in the Belmont Stakes.
Medal Count, eighth after a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby, was confirmed for the race earlier this week after Romans talked with Spendthrift Farm owner B. Wayne Hughes.
“I knew we were meeting Tuesday at Cracker Barrel,” Romans said. “I was thinking of all the reasons I wanted to run him in the Belmont and why it would work. (Hughes) is one of the most intimidating men in the game. I walked in and sat down at the table with my stuff ready to go and he said, ‘When are we shipping?’ I said, ‘Do you want to run there?’ He said, ‘Do you?’ I said ‘Yes’ and he said ‘Run.’ Then we had eggs and talked about economics!”
Medal Count, who will have Robby Albarado aboard for the Belmont, ships to New York Thursday. He worked six furlongs in 1:10.60 at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning.
General a Rod, 11th in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness, will team up with jockey Rosie Napravnik in the Belmont Stakes, trainer Mike Maker said Saturday.
General a Rod, owned by Skychai Racing and Starlight Racing, will join Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome and Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin as the only Belmont competitors to participate in all three Triple Crown races.
Starlight Racing issued the following statement: “After a great half mile work this morning and strong gallop out, it has been decided that General a Rod will be pointed for the Belmont Stakes. His trainer, Mike Maker, feels like he’s doing too well to skip the race. Jockey Rosie Napravnik up for today’s work (in 47 and change, out the 3/4 in 1:13: and change) gave him two thumbs up and is scheduled to ride him in the Belmont Stakes.”
The field currently stands at 13 with three listed as possible: California Chrome, Ride On Curlin, General a Rod, Wicked Strong, Tonalist, Commanding Curve, Samraat, Commissioner, Matuszak, Medal Count, Social Inclusion (possible for Woody Stephens or Belmont), Kid Cruz (decision pending), Matterhorn (decision pending).
To say new sire Warrior’s Reward is off to a good start would be an understatement. He’s off to a perfect start.
The 8-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, who stands at Spendthrift Farm for $12,500, had three winners from three starters – all fillies racing on dirt – at three different tracks Friday.
The first starter for the freshman sire was Liatris. She won a five furlong, $40,000 maiden special weight over a track rated good at Pimlico by 3 3/4-lengths for trainer Jann Anderson, who co-owns the filly with Charles L. Hall, and jockey Victor Carrasco.
Unbridled Reward was the second winner. She posted an impressive 7 3/4-length victory over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs in a four-and-a-half furlong, $44,000 maiden special weight for trainer Mark Casse, owner John Oxley and jockey Alan Garcia.
Strawberry Baby, who went off at 5-1 in a $20,000 maiden special weight at Lone Star Park, capped the monumental day for her sire. She won the five-furlong test over a fast track by 2 3/4-lengths for trainer J. R. Caldwell, owners Brad and Judy Miller and jockey Dakota Wood.