Thoroughbred Daily News
Southern Halo - Woodman's Girl, by Woodman - WinStar Farm
WinStar Farm - Versailles, KY | 1997 | Entered Stud 2001 | 2019 Fee $80,000 S&N

Thursday’s Trackside Belmont Stakes 151 Report


Tacitus | Sarah Andrew

By Steve Sherack

ELMONT, NY – With the star-studded GI Belmont Stakes card right around the corner, the main track was in terrific shape for training hours early Thursday morning despite receiving a soaking from heavy overnight rains.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, sporting a New York Yankees cap, got a feel for the track walking the freshly harrowed surface, labeled “good,” under a dense cloud cover and extremely humid conditions just after 6 a.m.

Mark Casse watched a set train from the rail, including the GI Longines Just a Game S.-bound Got Stormy (Get Stormy), and began contemplating whether or not to send his Belmont S. duo of War of Will (War Front) and Sir Winston (Awesome Again) out a little earlier than usual due to the sticky, summer-like conditions.

Former Doug O’Neill assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, off to a promising beginning since striking out on his own last summer, kept a close eye on the galloping gray Bandua (The Factor), who lines up in the GI Manhattan S. He will also saddle Lexitonian (Speightstown) in the GI Woody Stephens S. and Vexatious (Giant’s Causeway) in Friday’s GII New York S.

While Belmont S. live longshot Spinoff (Hard Spun) went about his business for Todd Pletcher at the adjacent training track, 9-5 morning-line favorite Tacitus (Tapit) enjoyed another very impressive session galloping over Big Sandy with Mott watching aboard a stable pony while the sun began to play a bit of hide-and-seek just after 6:40 a.m.

Speaking of the mighty Tapit–sire of three of the last five Belmonts–he will also be represented in this year’s final leg of the Triple Crown with Bourbon War (Tapit) and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Intrepid Heart (Tapit). The former, looking to rebound from a disappointing eighth in the GI Preakness S., was getting over the ground nicely while galloping over the main oval at 7 a.m.

Casse, in fact, did decide to call that audible, and sent his aforementioned pair, led by the Preakness winner War of Will, out to train about 20 minutes later. They had previously visited the track following the 8:30 a.m. break since shipping in to New York. Under a nice hold once again by exercise rider Kim Carroll, War of Will seemed a bit more relaxed during Thursday’s exercise while striding powerfully down the lane.

With Tammy Fox aboard and equipped with a camera on her red helmet, longshot Preakness runner-up Everfast (Take Charge Indy) trained after the renovation break as did two-time G1 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}). The latter, fitted with a pair of cheek pieces and a Godolphin blue saddle towel, remained on his left lead for most of the stretch while blowing out three furlongs in :36.42 for an absolutely loaded renewal of the GI Met Mile.

With training hours winding down as the temperatures continued to rise, GII Wood Memorial S. runner-up and former claimer Tax (Arch) closed things out galloping over the sun-splashed training track just after 9:30 a.m.

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