ELMONT, N.Y. – WinStar Farm, CMNWLTH and Siena Farm’s We the People put in his penultimate work Friday in preparation for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, covering a half-mile in 48.39 seconds over the Belmont main track.
“It was an easy half, very routine for him,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who was aboard for the work. “It was exactly what we were looking for. Just a maintenance work to put us in a perfect spot for next week. We just like the way he’s been acting and training here. He’s not an easy horse and he looks like he’s maturing at the right time. Hopefully, the next two weeks will be the same.”
The son of Constitution established himself as a top contender for the Belmont with a resounding win in the Grade 3 Peter Pan on May 14, the final local prep for the “Test of the Champion.” We the People led every step of the way over a good and sealed Big Sandy to win his first graded stakes by 10 1/4 lengths. He covered the nine furlongs in 1:48.27 and earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
“We were happy with the number, and you will always have people say it was a sealed track and an easy lead,” said Brisset. “But I just feel like that was the right effort right before the Belmont and I think it’s the right move to point him to the big one now.”
Brisset’s other runner in the Peter Pan, Western River, rounded out the superfecta after stumbling at the start and putting in a bid down the lane. The Tapit grey was bested a neck for show honors by Electability, who finished a nose behind runner-up Golden Glider.
Brisset said that Western River had been under consideration for the Belmont but will bypass with other summer goals in mind.
“We took him out of consideration a few days ago and he’s already back at Keeneland,” Brisset said. “If we had run one-two [in the Peter Pan], the entry fee and running fee would have been waived for the Belmont, but he got beat a head and a neck for the place. He’d have to face We the People again and we felt it just wasn’t the right move for the horse.”
Western River could target graded company this summer or a potential start in the $135,000 Curlin on July 29 at Saratoga Race Course.
“We will be looking at an allowance at Churchill Downs in June and if he wins that, we’d look at the [Grade 3] Indiana or Ohio Derby or even the Curlin,” Brisset said.
WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Kuchar could be under consideration for a start in the Belmont after a victory going 1 1/4 miles in an off-the-turf allowance for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill on May 22.
Ridden to victory by Florent Geroux, the Uncle Mo colt tracked in second through the first three-quarters before taking command and leading the rest of the way. Kuchar dug down and maintained his advantage down the lane and crossed the wire two lengths the best.
“Kuchar is under consideration for the Belmont just because he won at a mile and a quarter and beat older horses,” said Brisset. “Speaking with Florent after the race, he said he was waiting on horses. Watching the replay, you can see at the eighth pole it looked like he was almost in trouble but he rebroke strongly. Based on that, I felt like it maybe wasn’t a bad idea to put him under consideration without any commitment. We got him back to Keeneland and he’s back to training. He cleaned the feed tub and is moving well. I’ll give myself another couple days before really committing to it.”
Brisset said Kuchar could also target the Grade 3 Ohio Derby on June 25 at Thistledown.
“The timing would be better in the Ohio Derby,” Brisset said. “It’s 50/50. If I had to lean anywhere, it would be to the Ohio Derby, but things can change.”
A homebred for WinStar Farm, Kuchar broke his maiden at third asking by a nose before facing winners for the first time in the Oaklawn on April 23. He set an even tempo under Geroux before relinquishing the lead to Home Brew to be defeated 1 3/4 lengths. He is the fourth foal out of the multiple Grade 1 placed Street Hero mare Street Girl.
Belmont Park Week 6 stakes probables
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Early look at the G2 Pennine Ridge
Probable: Credit Event (Chad Brown), Elizar (Christophe Clement), Limited Liability (Shug McGaughey), Napoleonic War (Brown), Unanimous Consent (Brown)
NYRA Press Office
Photo of We the People winning the Peter Pan at Belmont by Susie Raisher.