Richard Migliore Joins the TDN Writers' Room

Richard Migliore Horsephotos 

It was a first-of-its-kind TDN Writers' Room this week as the crew gathered to discuss the first GI Belmont S. to run at Saratoga Race Course. To get started on their handicapping ahead of a jam-packed weekend of racing at the Spa, the team brought in Green Group Guest of the Week Richard Migliore, an on-air racing analyst for NYRA who will be part of the FOX Sports coverage of the Belmont on Saturday.

Calling into the show–which is presented by Keeneland–from the famed picnic tables of Saratoga, Migliore said there is already an air of excitement even days before racing is set to begin.

“I can already feel the energy in town,” he said. “Saratoga always holds that kind of energy and you feel the charm of it, the mystique of Saratoga, but it's amped up even more. I don't want to say it's going to be a madhouse, but it's going to be on the edge of chaos. I'm excited about it. Saratoga, to me, is America's classic racetrack. Obviously it's home to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. You can feel the history. It's palpable. And now we're having an American Classic here.”

An Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey, Migliore has spent plenty of time on the racetrack and in the winner's circle at Saratoga. He explained that there is a lot for the ten jockeys riding in Saturday's Belmont to consider as they prepare for the third leg of the Triple Crown to run at a mile and a quarter instead of the traditional mile and a half.

“I think going a mile and a half, which is not a distance that is common in North America particularly on the dirt, riders ride it much more carefully,” Migliore said. “They're much more inclined to worry about a horse getting the distance at a mile and a quarter. You know, a lot of these horses obviously have run in the Derby. They're not going to be as concerned about the mile and a quarter, so I do believe they'll ride it a bit differently. I do think you'll see more of a legitimate pace, particularly in this Belmont because there are three or four horses that I think are forward-type horses.”

Morning-line favorite Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) has a lot going for him coming into Saturday's race, but there are also a lot of question marks surrounding the Kentucky Derby runner-up as trainer Chad Brown has opted to change the colt's bit in the hopes that he will be easier to keep straight coming down the stretch for his new jockey, Flavien Prat.

“Sierra Leone has always shown that propensity to want to lug in,” Migliore explained. “He did it in his first start. I think it cost him the GII Remsen S. because he lugged in on top of Dornoch (Good Magic) and it emboldened Dornoch. If you go back and look at his GI Blue Grass S., he's not running straight on his own volition. He's having to be corrected. If you look at some of the still shots of the Derby, he has a snaffle bit, which is a very mild bit in the horse's mouth. It's basically pulled all the way through his mouth by Tyler Gaffalione, who is trying to keep him straight off of Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) and go forward. [Chad Brown] said they had experimented previously with that bit and were not thrilled with how he reacted to it, but since the Derby he's worked in it three times. I was here for the last work and it looks like it's having the desired effect.”

Migliore acknowledged that Sierra Leone is the horse to beat in the Belmont, but pointed out that Seize the Grey (Arrogate), who is coming in off a win in the GI Preakness S., may be flying a bit under the radar.

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by the WinStar stallion Constitution, Pennsylvania Horse Breeders' Association, 1/ST Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, the Alameda County Fair and, the team of Randy Moss, Bill Finley and Zoe Cadman took a look at all the Grade I racing at Saratoga this weekend and discussed the latest with Louisiana Racing Commission's drug regulation.

Click here to listen to the audio version of the show.

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