Belmont Stakes Update: They’re Here! 

June 3, 2022

Rich Strike continues to train forwardly toward Belmont Stakes

Contenders arrive: Creative Minister, Skippylongstocking, Nest, We The People, Golden Glider and Mo Donegal all arrive in New York to begin their Belmont final preps

Brigadier General to pass on G1 Belmont 

Belmont Post Draw Tuesday, June 7 at 11 AM

ELMONT, N.Y. – Kentucky Derby champion Rich Strike had his routine daily exercise over the Belmont Park main track on Friday, galloping 1 1/2 miles over the sloppy going in his latest preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 11. 

Rich Strike took two turns around the Belmont paddock before heading through the tunnel and onto the main track. Guided by regular rider Gabriel Lagunes, who described the outing as “perfect,” Rich Strike was allowed to gallop at a stronger pace than his exercise on Thursday, stretching his legs and opening up his stride down the lane while maintaining a consistent pace. 

The chestnut son of Keen Ice pricked his ears down the stretch before Lagunes began to ease him up just past the finish line. 

“He was a lot happier today because we let him step out a bit,” said trainer Eric Reed. “You could see coming down the stretch he was much happier and never even got warm. That’s how you know his head is in the right place, and he loves his pony. We’ve got him a friend and that helps get him relaxed.

“I do want to get him on a dry track for two or three days and watch how he moves and comes back from the gallops just to see if there’s any difference in how he handles the surface,” Reed added. “But I don’t think that would be the case. He’s ran well at Keeneland in a troubled trip and well on synthetic, which I’m sure is not his favorite track. So, I don’t think the surface will be too big of a deal.” 

Rich Strike’s latest works on Equibase

Churchill Downs5/30/2022Dirt5F59.00Breezing1/11
Churchill Downs5/21/2022Dirt4F47.20Breezing7/138
Churchill Downs4/27/2022Dirt5F59.60Breezing3/9

Rich Strike has been accompanied to the track each morning by outrider Juan Galvez and his pony, Stormy. Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike had never had an issue with being ponied on and off the track. But after he stunned the “Run for the Roses” at odds of 80-1, Rich Strike displayed a newfound feistiness towards the pony who greeted him in the gallop out. 

Reed said having a pony that Rich Strike gets along with has helped his preparations for the Belmont Stakes. 

“The first thing I wanted to do after he got settled in was find somebody to go with him and see if he’s going to try anything in a new place,” said Reed. “That’s so much better for him [to have a pony].”

Rich Strike has had no issues with Big Sandy’s sweeping turns thus far thanks to his large frame and wide stride, something Reed said may prove beneficial on race day. 

“That’s got to help him because he’s a big, long-striding horse. There’s not so much company out here,” said Reed. “At other tracks, there’s horses all around him at all times and every time he sees a horse, he wants to go catch it. This is a lot better for him. He had a great day today.” 

Reed said he was pleased with Churchill Downs and Belmont Park for their accommodations throughout Rich Strike’s campaign. 

“Keeping him healthy is all I’m worried about,” said Reed. “Churchill was so gracious and gave us the track to work on in between races. Belmont has just gone out of their way to do so much for us. When we got here, Frank Gabriel and Juan [Dominguez] were here at 1:00 in the morning and that says a lot. We’re real happy that it’s going smooth.” 

Rich Strike has been calm and happy since arriving at Belmont early Wednesday morning and shows no signs of anxiousness in his new surroundings, something Reed said is “just him.” 

“He’s an 11:00 napper and is a very routine horse – he just takes care of himself,” said Reed. “Nothing seems to shake him up. The only thing I ever had shake him up was in New Orleans [Gun Runner] when things were just all out of whack [in his routine] going into that race. That’s why it horrified me to think of running him back in two weeks in the Preakness. We had to do what’s right for the horse. I think when we school him during the races a couple times next week, hopefully he’ll be as relaxed as he always is. All we have to do now is worry if he’ll get a good race and show us if he can do it.” 

As expected with a Kentucky Derby winner, fans and media are frequent visitors at Reed’s barn. Rich Strike enjoys having the spotlight on him, looking at cameras and always observing alertly with his ears forward and head up. 

“He’s a kind horse and he loves people,” Reed said. “They’re not supposed to know, but I think he knows he’s done something. He’s enjoying it. Some horses get nervous about a lot of people. Not him.” 

Creative Minister, Skippylongstocking, Nest, We The People, Golden Glider and Mo Donegal all arrive in New York to begin their Belmont final preps

Contenders for the 2022 Belmont Stakes have begun to arrive with Creative Minister, Skippylongstocking, Nest, We The People, Golden Glider and Mo Donegal all arriving in New York to begin their Belmont final preps. 

This group is all tucked in their stalls for a quick bit of quiet before hitting the sand Saturday. 

Creative Minister’s latest work*

Belmont Park5/31/2022Dirt4F48.33Breezing2/5

Golden Glider’s latest work*

Belmont Park5/29/2022Dirt5F1:01.55Breezing8/16

Mo Donegal latest work*

Belmont Park5/27/2022Dirt5F1:02.99Breezing10/11

Nest’s latest work*

Belmont Park5/27/2022Dirt5F1:02.99Breezing10/11

Skippylongstocking’s latest work*

Palm Meadows Training Center5/13/2022Dirt5F59.60Breezing1/5

We The People’s latest work*

Belmont Park5/27/2022Dirt4F48.39Breezing10/35

*On Equibase

Brigadier General to pass on G1 Belmont 

Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds said Friday morning that Brigadier General will not make the trip to New York for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. 

Finley said the Grade 3, $225,000 Matt Winn on June 12 at Churchill Downs or the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby on June 25 at Thistledown are likely spots for Brigadier General’s next start before eyeing action at the Spa. 

“We’re going to pass on the Belmont,” Finley said. “Not by a longshot, but it’s just a touch too much for him right now. We’ll bring him to Saratoga this summer.”

Trained by Dallas Stewart, the son of Street Sense broke his maiden two starts back going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland before finishing fourth in a Churchill Downs allowance optional claimer at the same distance. 

Post Position Draw

The 2022 Belmont Stakes Post Position Draw is Tuesday, June 7 at 11 AM EDT. You can watch on as well as the NYRA YouTube channel.

2022 Belmont Stakes Possibles/Probables

Barber Road John Ortiz6thx2nd Ark. Derby
Creative Minister Ken McPeekx2nd1st 11/16m AOC
Ethereal Road D. Wayne Lukasxx1st Sir Barton
Golden Glider Mark Cassexx2nd Peter Pan
Howling Time Dale Romansxx1st Street Sense
Kuchar Rodolphe Brissetxx2nd Oaklawn S.
Mo Donegal Todd Pletcher5thx1st Wood Mem.
Nest Todd Pletcherxx2nd Ky. Oaks
Rich Strike Eric Reed1stx3rd Jeff Ruby
Skippylongstocking Saffie Joseph, Jr.x4th3rd Wood Mem.
We the People Rodolphe Brissetxx1st Peter Pan
Western River Rodolphe Brissetxx4th Peter Pan

*Kentucky Derby **Preakness Stakes

NYRA Press Office/Additional info Maribeth Kalinich, Past The Wire Senior Editor
Top Photo of Rich Strike by Adam Coglianese. Contender photos screen shots from supplied videos. 

@jonathanstettin eaaaaaaaaaazy winner.

Ryan Cimino @smcimino2 View testimonials



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