Thoroughbred Daily News
Dynaformer - Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold - Adena Springs
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Wednesday’s Trackside Belmont Stakes 151 Report


Tacitus | Sarah Andrew

By Steve Sherack

ELMONT, NY – With a field of 10 now in place for Saturday’s 151st renewal of the GI Belmont S., there was plenty to see on an overcast Wednesday morning at beautiful Belmont Park.

Bourbon War (Tapit) was the first sophomore entered for the final leg of the Triple Crown to catch the eye, sporting a white bridle during his gallop just after 6 a.m. After experimenting with first-time blinkers in the GI Preakness S., trainer Mark Hennig takes the shades off following a punchless eighth at a well-backed 5-1 in Baltimore.

Morning-line favorite Tacitus (Tapit) briefly took in his surroundings by the clubhouse turn–which included a small group of media and photographers assembled–while getting some love from longtime Bill Mott assistant trainer Leana Willaford aboard a stable pony at approximately 7 a.m. The striking gray Juddmonte homebred glided over the track beautifully with his ears up during his gallop under the watchful eye of his GI Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. He certainly couldn’t be looking any better in the flesh since his strong showing while rallying from far back in Louisville on the First Saturday in May.

The action picked up considerably after the renovation break as the sun briefly tried to make an appearance while temperatures remained in the mid 60s.

Does Everfast (Take Charge Indy) have another big run coming at boxcar odds? Second at 29-1 in the Preakness and also runner-up at a massive 128-1 in the GII Holy Bull, the Calumet Farm homebred bounded on the freshly manicured track with his head cocked high beneath exercise rider Tammy Fox.

Master Fencer (Jpn) (Just a Way {Jpn}), elevated to sixth via disqualification in the Derby, was impossible to miss with his bright pink-and-red blinkers and ear muffs as he cruised down the lane on his left lead beneath jockey Julien Leparoux–minus the bell boots this time–completing his five-furlong breeze in 1:01.28. Master Fencer’s morning routine also included a trip to the nearby training track and some gate schooling.

Trainer Mark Casse watched by the gap as his Belmont S. duo of Preakness winner War of Will (War Front) and GIII Peter Pan S. runner-up Sir Winston (Awesome Again) galloped in close proximity.

War of Will, hard held throughout by Kim Carroll after looking plenty eager early, displayed extremely good energy just as he did leading up to the Derby. The blaze-faced bay appears to be sitting on go as the lone runner to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown this spring.

Other high-profile runners in action stretching their legs for this weekend’s three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival included: GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S. winner Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) (GI Manhattan S.); the GI Met Mile H. trio of two-time G1 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}), MGISW ‘TDN Rising Star’ McKinzie (Street Sense) and G2 Godolphin Mile winner ‘Rising Star’ Coal Front (Stay Thirsty); and the comebacking strapping chestnut Catalina Cruiser (Union Rags) (GII True North S.), off since suffering his first career defeat in the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

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