Bobby Zen

by Tim Wilkin and Editorial Staff

For the first time since before the GI Kentucky Derby, Mystik Dan (Goldencents), had a workout.

And trainer Kenny McPeek is getting more and more confident that his colt, winner of the Derby and second in the GI Preakness, will be in the starting gate at Saratoga Race Course for the GI Belmont S. on June 8.

Mystik Dan, with exercise rider Danny Ramsey aboard, went five furlongs in 1:01.59 (2/5) on the Oklahoma Training Track Saturday morning. He worked in company with Gould’s Gold (Goldencents).

McPeek has kept the promise that he would take his time deciding whether or not Mystik Dan would run in the Belmont. The deadline is quickly approaching as the draw for the race is Monday.

A final answer should come Sunday.

“This was a nice, solid breeze,” McPeek said after the 5:30 a.m. work. “His gallop out was impressive; he kept on going. He is actually acting like his energy level is getting higher from the Derby-to-Preakness-to-Belmont, which you have to have.”

As long as Mystik Dan, owned by Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing LLC, Daniel Hamby III and Valley View Farm LLC,  continues to gobble up his feed at night and his bloodwork is good, he will become the first horse since War of Will (War Front) in 2019 to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown (Max Player {Honor Code} did it in 2020, but that series was spread out over four months because of COVID).

Thorpedo Anna to the outside of Midnight Concerto | Sarah Andrew

“If everything goes good the next day or two, he will run there {Belmont},” McPeek said. “And she’ll run in the other one.”

She is Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna), his fast 3-year-old filly who was last seen winning the GI Kentucky Oaks. McPeek has thought about running her against the boys in the Belmont, but if Mystik Dan goes there, she will head to the GI Acorn against fillies on Friday at Saratoga.

Thorpedo Anna, owned by Brookdale Racing Inc., Mark Edwards, Judy B. Hicks and Magdalena Racing (Sherri McPeek), worked five furlongs in 1:02.09 (4/5) in company with Midnight Concerto (Mendelssohn).

“She just needed a nice little stretch out,” McPeek said. “She keeps herself fit; she’s a natural athlete.”

Brown Getting Closer to Running Two in Belmont

It looks more and more likely that the Chad Brown barn will have two runners in the Belmont S. at Saratoga. One is the expected morning-line favorite in Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), who has been pointed to this race since losing the Kentucky Derby by a gut-wrenching nose on the first Saturday in May.

Sierra Leone inside Domestic Product | Sarah Andrew

Brown is hopeful that Tuscan Gold (Medaglia d’Oro) will join Sierra Leone in the starting gate on June 8. Both horses turned in their final works for the race on Saturday. Sierra Leone, owned by Peter M. Brant, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg and Brook T. Smith, worked four furlongs in :49.32 (13/51) on the Oklahoma Training Track in company with Domestic Product (Practical Joke).

Just over an hour later, at 8:45 a.m., William H. Lawrence, Walmac Farm and Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Tuscan Gold went four furlongs in :48.38 (6/18) on the main track. He worked with the unraced Clever Mischief (Into Mischief).

“I am leaning towards running him,” Brown said outside his barn on the Oklahoma.

Brown said he was excited about Tuscan Gold’s chances in the Preakness two weeks ago, but the colt did not like the muddy track and was never a factor, finishing fourth.

“He was fresh, he was training great, and I really liked his chances going into that race,” Brown said. “I felt terrible going into the first turn; he was clearly not handling the track. He was trying to lose contact with the field and the jockey (Tyler Gaffalione) was doing the best he could to stay after him and keep him in the game, but it just wasn’t for him. I am actually surprised he ran fourth with as little effort as he showed.”

If Tuscan Gold does run in the Belmont, he’ll have a new jockey in Joel Rosario. Brown also took Gaffalione off Sierra Leone and replaced him with Flavien Prat.

Pletcher Full of Cliches

When the work was done Saturday morning, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said all the right things about the three horses he is pointing to the Belmont: Antiquarian (Preservationist), Mindframe (Constitution) and Protective (Medaglia d’Oro).

“I thought they all went great … well-executed breezes … the horses seemed to be moving well … finished out strongly …galloped out well,” Pletcher said as he stood outside his office on the Oklahoma Training Track.

Then he smiled.

Mindframe outside of Protective | Sarah Andrew

“All the cliches every trainer will give you,” he said and then got serious. “I was pleased with all of them.”

Centennial Farms’ Antiquarian worked four furlongs in :49.99 (25/51) in company with 3-year-old Be You (Curlin). Repole Stable and St. Elias Stables LLC’s Mindframe worked four furlongs in company with Repole Stable’s Protective and they were timed in :50.26 (35/51).

“I think all three of them will appreciate the mile and a quarter (Belmont distance),” Pletcher said.

Antiquarian, who will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, won the GIII Peter Pan S. in his last start.

Mindframe has been ultra impressive in his first two starts, winning by a combined 21 1/4 lengths and Pletcher has confidence he can run with the big boys. He will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Protective has yet to win a race but the maiden was third in the GII Wood Memorial S. and third in the Peter Pan. Pletcher said he will “most likely” have Tyler Gaffalione riding Protective.

Mott Needs to Know

On Sunday morning, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott plans on working Resilience (Into Mischief) on the Oklahoma Training Track. If he likes how he goes, Resilience will get another chance to run 1 1/4 miles, this time in the Belmont S.

The first time he ran the distance, it didn’t go so good as Resilience ran sixth in the Kentucky Derby, beaten five lengths by Mystik Dan (Goldencents). Mott isn’t convinced his colt doesn’t want to go that far.

“We want to give him another shot to make sure,” Mott said outside his office on the Oklahoma Saturday morning. “If he were to run well, then, ok, you can consider the (GI) Travers. If you don’t run well, you have to start thinking about other stuff. He is doing good; if he wasn’t, we would not even consider this.”

Owned by Emily Bushnell and Ric Waldman, Resilience has won two of four starts this year, including the Wood Memorial. He made a bid in the Derby but faded, giving the indication he might not like the distance.

Mott said that if the Belmont were being run at its traditional distance of 1 1/2 miles, Resilience would be sitting it out.

“He had a good trip (in the Derby). He made a run. He flattened out,” Mott said. “Is he going to flatten out again at a mile and a quarter? If he does, then we’ll know.”

Dornoch Regroups with Sharp Work

Dornoch (Good Magic), a full-brother to 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage, has regrouped for West Paces Racing, R.A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing, and Pine Racing Stables after a troubled 10th in the Kentucky Derby with four furlongs on the Oklahoma in :48.68 (3/39) Saturday morning in company with Ramblin’ Wreck (Redesdale). Exercise rider Priscilla Schaefer was aboard.

Dornoch on the rail with Ramblin’ Wreck outside | Sarah Andrew

“I had him in :48 and change,” said trainer Danny Gargan. “He was rolling early but then I had him slow down a little bit. He worked well.”

As long as Dornoch continues to progress, Gargan told the Belmont notes team the 3-year-old will start in Saturday’s Belmont S.

“We are hoping,” said Gargan. “We just have to stay focused and get lucky. Hopefully, have a good trip this time.

“He’s training really well. He worked good. We are really pleased with him,” said Gargan. “He is doing everything we want right now.”

The dual Grade II winner will have regular reinsman Luis Saez aboard in the Belmont.

Honor Marie Preps At Churchill

Honor Marie (Honor Code), a troubled eighth to Mystik Dan in the Kentucky Derby, tuned up for the Belmont with a half-mile breeze Saturday morning under the watchful eye of trainer Whit Beckman at Churchill Downs.

Runner-up to Catching Freedom (Constitution) in the GII Louisiana Derby, last year’s GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. hero covered the distance in :48.40 (48/166) outside of his stablemate Anthem King (Bolt d’Oro), a maiden winner at Turfway Mar. 8 and a latest fourth to Belmont-bound ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mindframe (Constitution) in a Derby Day allowance beneath the Twin Spires. The duo went the opening quarter-mile in :24.20, according to clocker Adam Wallace.

“He bounced out of the Derby in great shape,” Beckman told the Churchill Downs notes team. “We toyed for a little bit about running back in the Preakness but thought he’d do better with a little more time between starts. He had a really rough trip in the Derby and still finished up well.”

Florent Geroux takes over from the injured Ben Curtis for the Belmont.

Baffert BSRF Runners Tune Up at Santa Anita

Trainer Bob Baffert will not be represented in Saturday’s Belmont S., but the barn will nevertheless be active in a pair of undercard races, with ‘TDN Rising Star’ Prince of Monaco (Speightstown) and Preakness seventh Imagination (Good Magic) headed to the GI Woody Stephens S. and National Treasure (Quality Road) set for the GI Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan H.

On Saturday morning at Santa Anita, last year’s GI Del Mar Futurity hero Prince of Monaco drilled six furlongs in 1:11.20 as he prepares for his first appearance since a fifth in last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. National Treasure, unraced since a game fourth in the G1 Saudi Cup on Feb. 24, went a half-mile in :48.20. Imagination worked three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.40 on Friday.

“All three look good. They’ll leave [Sunday],” Baffert said.

The post Mystik Dan Going in Right Direction for Start in Belmont appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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