Stars Come Out on a Steamy Wednesday Morning at Belmont Park

We the People | Sarah Andrew


ELMONT, NY – With the rising sun making its way through cloudy skies, GI Belmont S. longshot Skippylongstocking (Exaggerator) began to get into his gallop on the clubhouse turn on a steamy Wednesday morning at beautiful Belmont Park.

Sporting plenty of trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.'s flashy yellow-and-blue stable colors, the GI Preakness S. fifth-place finisher continued to catch the eye upon return while jogging along the outer rail with his neck arched. He stood briefly by the gap and soaked up plenty of attention from a handful of photographers as he headed off.

Unbeaten 'TDN Rising Star' Jack Christopher (Munnings) certainly made his presence felt while stepping onto the track at 7:13 a.m. The blaze-faced, 3-year-old chestnut puts his perfect three-for-three record on the line for Chad Brown in Saturday's GI Woody Stephens S.

Fellow 'Rising Star' We the People (Constitution) made his way through the tunnel about 40 minutes later. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset was all smiles in the irons aboard the GI Belmont S. morning-line favorite as he jogged alongside the pony. The runaway GIII Peter Pan S. winner–equipped with a pair of cotton balls in his ears–had his mind on the task at hand while understandably getting a little hot, cruising down the lane under a very snug hold.

Last year's GI Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Aloha West (Hard Spun), meanwhile, got plenty of love from his groom while exiting the track by the gap. He meets the powerhouse duo of unbeaten 'Rising Star' Flightline (Tapit) and the streaking Speaker's Corner (Street Sense) in a GI Hill 'n' Dale Met Mile for the ages. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, responsible for 2017 Belmont S. winner Tapwrit (Tapit), will also be well-represented in the main event with the filly Nest (Curlin).

The aforementioned Flightline, last seen romping in Santa Anita's GI Runhappy Malibu S. Dec. 26, was one of the first to train after arriving from John Sadler's Southern California base Tuesday afternoon.

With GI Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice) opting for some lighter exercise on the training track following a very powerful and visually impressive gallop on Tuesday, champion Letruska (Super Saver) enjoyed the spotlight on the main track after the break ahead of her title defense in Saturday's GI Ogden Phipps S. Things did not go exactly as planned, however, for the five-time Grade I winner after a little schooling session in the paddock.

With what appeared to be a chord from her exercise rider's walkie talkie swinging between her legs, Letruska was seemingly undeterred and galloped lightly down the sun-splashed stretch. She was pulled up just past the wire while being met by the outrider as training hours began to wind down.

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