Lukas Not Worried About Seize the Grey's Belmont Post Position

Seize the Grey | Sarah Andrew

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One thing Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was not going to do was fret over the post position assigned to Seize the Grey (Arrogate) for Saturday's GI Belmont S. at Saratoga Race Course.

Seize the Grey got the rail for the 1 1/4-mile Belmont. It's a post most dread, but Lukas, who has won 15 Triple Crown races–including four Belmonts–isn't going to lose any sleep over it.

“You have no control over it,” Lukas said, sitting a few feet away from Seize the Grey's stall at his barn on the Oklahoma Training Track Tuesday morning. “I just take it in stride. Would I choose the one? No. If I had a choice, I would probably choose the three or the four.”

Seize the Grey won the GI Preakness S. going gate-to-wire. Drawing the rail in the Belmont doesn't necessarily mean that Seize the Grey and jockey Jaime Torres will be gunning for the front Saturday.

“If we don't send him, we will have horses on the outside and there is a chance we could get caught covered up on the rail,” Lukas said. “This horse is very manageable. You could lay him anywhere in the race and he would be effective. He is not at all a one-dimensional horse. We can do whatever we want with this horse; he is adaptable to any situation.”

Ever since he upset the Preakness at 9-1, Lukas has been raving at how well Seize the Grey, owned by MyRacehorse, bounced out of the race. He said the horse looks better to him heading into the Belmont than he did before the Preakness.

Lukas took Seize the Grey to the main track early Tuesday morning and he galloped a mile and three quarters.

“When he pulled up, you could have said, 'let's do it again,” Lukas said. “It was like he hadn't even done anything.”

Taking a Chance with The Wine Steward

Trainer Mike Maker said he had been thinking about a match between The Wine Steward (Vino Rosso) and the GI Belmont S. for a while.

It goes back to before the New York-bred, owned by Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher, ran in the GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland Apr. 13.

The Wine Steward finished second in the Lexington, his first race since last October.

“He really came out of the layoff well,” Maker said. “We were talking about [the Belmont] before the Lexington. He is a very consistent horse and he is doing well. We've got to take a chance.”

The Wine Steward followed the Lexington with a second in the GIII Peter Pan S., three quarters of a length behind Belmont rival Antiquarian (Preservationist).

If he were able to win the Belmont, The Wine Steward would become the fifth New York-bred to do so. The last was Tiz the Law in 2020.

In six career starts, The Wine Steward has three wins and three seconds; four of his races have been in open company.

Manny Franco will ride The Wine Steward in the Belmont. He replaces Luis Saez, who was on board for the colt's last three starts. Saez has opted to ride Dornoch (Good Magic) in the Belmont.

The Wine Steward will start from post position four and is 15-1 on the Belmont morning line.

Blazing Sevens Gets Rematch with National Treasure

There has been plenty of talk about the agonizing loss trainer Chad Brown had when Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) got beat a nose by Mystik Dan (Goldencents) in the GI Kentucky Derby.

Brown experienced another Triple Crown race agony last year when Blazing Sevens (Good Magic) lost by a head to National Treasure (Quality Road) in the GI Preakness S.

Brown and Blazing Sevens get a rematch Saturday when they meet in the one-mile GI Metropolitan H. on the GI Belmont S. undercard.

The race also includes White Abarrio (Race Day), the 6-5 morning-line favorite. National Treasure is the 8-5 second choice in the six-horse field. Blazing Sevens, owned by Rodeo Creek Racing LLC, is 8-1.

“There might not be many horses in the Met Mile, but it's a real war,” Brown said. “[Blazing Sevens] is going to have to come with that Preakness effort to be competitive, but, the way he is training, I do see him doing it.”

Blazing Sevens raced just once after the Preakness last year, finishing third in the Curlin S. at Saratoga. He reappeared in an allowance in April and won by a length.

“The horse came back better than expected,” Brown said.

So much better that Brown has the confidence to bring him into this spot.

Manny Franco, who rode Blazing Sevens in the allowance race for the first time, keeps the mount.

Brown will also saddle Sierra Leone, the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the GI Belmont S. Saturday. He was originally also going to run Tuscan Gold (Medaglia d'Oro) in the race as well, but pulled the plug at the last minute.

He did not like the way Tuscan Gold came out of his four-furlong breeze Saturday.

“I didn't want to run him in a race of this magnitude unless he was 100%,” Brown said. “I'm  going to take a step back and re-evaluate that horse.”

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