Creative Minister Likely for Belmont

May 22, 2022

Future Plans for other Preakness Starters

BALTIMORE, Md. – Fern Circle Stables, Back Racing LLC and trainer Kenny McPeek’s Creative Minister, who finished third in Saturday’s Preakness (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, will be pointed toward the Belmont Stakes (G1) June 11 at Belmont Park.

McPeek said the colt will likely have a couple of half-mile breezes before the third jewel of the Triple Crown, noting that the son of Creative Cause’s breeding could make him a contender in the race.

“He’s out of a Tapit mare and Tapits love the Belmont,” McPeek said. “That’s the plan.”

Creative Minister earned $181,500 for his third-place finish after his owners put up a $150,000 supplemental fee to make their late-developing colt eligible for the Preakness.

The gray/roan son of Creative Cause will stay at Pimlico Race Course for a day or two, McPeek said Sunday, before shipping to New York. The Belmont, run at 1 ½ miles, is the longest of the Triple Crown tests.

“I just think he’ll like the added ground, as long as he handles the surface up there,” McPeek said.

Creative Minister made his first career start on March 5 at Gulfstream Park, finishing second by a neck. He broke his maiden on April 9 at Keeneland, came right back to impressively win an allowance race on the Kentucky Derby Day program and stepped up to the Preakness.

“In the classic 3-year-old races, if you’ve got a good 3-year-old that’s doing well, there’s nothing to be shy about,” McPeek said. “Although I wouldn’t have told you in January and February that this is the colt that I would be bringing, between (graded-stakes winners) Smile Happy, Rattle N Roll and Tiz the Bomb, and even Dash Attack. This horse kind of reminds me of Sarava [his 2002 Sir Barton winner who won the Belmont Stakes at 70-1 odds]. He was a horse so under the radar.”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was enroute back home to Kentucky Sunday with Briland Farms’ Secret Oath, the Preakness fourth-place finisher. Lukas said the plan was for the filly to get eight weeks off and then target a series of races against her own sex. They include the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) July 23 and Alabama (G1) Aug. 20, both at Saratoga, and the Cotillion (G1) Sept. 24 at Parx Racing. Her ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in November.

Daniel Alonso’s Skippylongstocking is under consideration for the Belmont Stakes, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said Sunday morning. The son of 2016 Preakness winner Exaggerator, who finished fifth in the Preakness, had previously finished third in the Wood Memorial behind Mo Donegal and Preakness hero Early Voting.

“He ran good enough (in the Preakness) and it might be worth taking a shot at it,” Joseph said. “We won’t decide for a week. We’ll see how he comes out and see how his energy is and then decide. I think he would get a mile and a half.”

Trainer Antonio Sano reported that Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric’s Simplification will be turned out in Ocala, Fla. for rest and relaxation after it was determined that the Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and fourth-place Kentucky Derby finisher had experience exercise-induced pulmonary bleeding during his sixth-place finish in the Preakness. 

Trainer Tim Yakteen said Preakness pacesetter Armagnac, owned by SF Racing and Partners, exited his seventh-place finish in good shape and was on his way back home to California.

“We will pick out some races that will be building blocks for him and allow him to develop a little bit,” Yakteen said. “We took a shot. Our next race for him will be to build up his confidence a little bit more.”

Calumet Farms’ Happy Jack, who faded in the final furlong of the Preakness and finished eighth, was still on the Pimlico grounds Sunday morning. He is expected to head back to Southern California in the next few days. Trainer Doug O’Neill said the colt will get some time off before a plan is made for his next race. He was one of three Preakness horses – Epicenter and Simplification being the others – that came to Baltimore after running in the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Kevin McKathan said Villa Rosa Farm and Harlo Stables’ Fenwick exited his ninth-place finish in good order.

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo by Maryland Jockey Club

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