Mystik Dan and Seize the Grey Face the Freshness Factor in the Belmont

D Wayne and Laurie Lukas looking on as Seize the Grey gets his bath | C Bossinakis


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY-Five weeks ago, Mystik Dan (Goldencents) took down the GI Kentucky Derby in thrilling fashion, garnering the Run for the Roses by a mere nose. Also landing in Churchill's winner's circle that day, albeit in an entirely different race, Seize the Grey (Arrogate) recorded a confident win over 'TDN Rising Star' and SW Nash (Medaglia d'Oro) in the GII Pat Day Mile. Two weeks later, the duo faced off, and it was the grey horse who proved best on a grey day to take the GI Preakness at Pimlico. Now, all eyes turn on Saratoga for the rematch in Saturday's GI Belmont, however, a slew of fresh challengers await to take on the Classic-winning pair.

Both stationed on the Oklahoma side of the track, Mystik Dan and Seize the Grey ventured to the track at about the same time Wednesday, between 5:30-5:45 a.m. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas was quoted previously as saying that people would largely ignore his colt in the lead up to the Belmont. However, it appeared that nobody told the group of media who followed The Coach and the grey, in an ant-like procession, as they made their way to the training track. For a horse that has already run two big efforts over the past five weeks, the son of Arrogate carried good flesh and appeared in fine spirits, looking as stout and strong as he was two weeks earlier.

On the other hand, the Derby winner continued to manifest the calm and steady state-both physically and mentally–that Kenny McPeek has been raving about all along. Mystik Dan shipped to Saratoga two days after the Preakness, and since his arrival in upstate New York, he worked five furlongs–in company with stablemate Gould's Gold (Goldencents]-in 1:01 2/5 June 1.

“We only scheduled one work in between [the Preakness and Belmont],” said McPeek. “He worked with Gould's Gold, second in the [May 18] Sir Barton S., who is a pretty nice horse. Gould's Gold gave him a little bit of a workout, and [Mystik Dan] galloped out 15 lengths in front. He seems to be continuing on.”

McPeek once again underscored the superpower that the colt has displayed all winter and throughout the Triple Crown.

“He's a lovely horse to be around,” he said. “He's very uncomplicated and he likes his work. He also likes to get his peppermints in the morning and some carrots in the afternoon. And he gets grazed a lot. He's happy.”

Also making appearances on the Oklahoma track Wednesday, the Todd Pletcher-trained 'TDN Rising Star' Mindframe (Constitution) and GIII Peter Pan S. winner Antiquarian (Preservationist) went to the track after the 7:30a.m. break. With the latter getting a brief schooling at the gate, the duo posted easy maintenance moves Wednesday. Repole Stable, who owns Mindframe in partnership with St Elias Stables, also owns maiden Protective (Medaglia d'Oro), who also came out later in the morning.

Also turning a few heads Wednesday morning, GII Wood Memorial winner Resilience (Into Mischief) enjoyed a nice and easy gallop on the Oklahoma track as trainer Bill Mott, who was assuming his customary place astride his pony, looked on. With his ears pricked and gliding over the surface as if it were a conveyer belt, the colt gave every indication that he will improve upon a sixth=place effort in the Kentucky Derby.

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