Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 Belmont Stakes Contenders Brave Victory, Miner’s Escape, Summer Bird Work at Belmont Park

Three Belmont Stakes contenders — Brave Victory, Miner’s Escape and Summber Bird — turned in their final serious moves this morning at Belmont Park in preparation for the 141st running of the $1-million Belmont Stakes 2009 on June 6.

Robert V. LaPenta’s Belmont Stakes entries Brave Victory and Miner’s Escape worked in tandem after the break under jockey Rajiv Maragh and exercise rider Eddie Cruz, respectively, going a half-mile in 48.66 over the fast main track. The time was the fifth-fastest of 14 at the distance.

Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Summer Bird went 5 furlongs under Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, with NYRA clockers catching him in 1:01.89, the fifth-fastest of 9 moves at the distance.

“I was very happy with everything,” said Hall of Fame race horse trainer Nick Zito of Brave Victory, who will be ridden by jockey Rajiv Maragh in the Belmont Stakes, and Miner’s Escape, who will have jockey Jose Lezcano up. “I wanted them to go even. They both went great, and they’re ready to go.”

Brave Victory, third in the Peter Pan Stakes, and Miner’s Escape, winner of the Frederico Tesio on May 9 at Pimlico Race Course, represent the 21st and 22nd Belmont Stakes starters saddled by Nick Zito, who saddled 2 Belmont Stakes winners in Birdstone (2004) and Da’ Tara (2008).

Race horse trainer Nick Zito said there remained a slight possibility My Meadowview Farm’s Nowhere to Hide, 17th in the Kentucky Derby in his last start, would mark the trainer’s 23rd Belmont Stakes horse.

“He’s up at Saratoga,” said Zito. “He’ll work either Sunday or Monday, but right now, I’m leaning against it.”

Jockey Kent Desormeaux said he was delighted with the way Summer Bird, like Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird a son of Birdstone, went Saturday morning.

“He breezed brilliantly,” said jockey Kent Desormeaux, who is 0-for-6 in the Belmont. “I think what impressed me the most about Summer Bird was his energy level. He came off the track happier than he went out, which is a great indication of a healthy, happy horse, as well as a fast one.”

Horse racing news edited from www.nyra.com

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