National Treasure Breezes for Belmont Stakes

May 31, 2023

Susie Raisher Photo

Early look at probables for the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets

NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y. – SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital and Catherine Donovan’s Grade 1 Preakness-winner National Treasure worked a half-mile solo Tuesday over Big Sandy in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez up for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, the Quality Road colt was caught by NYRA clockers in a swift opening split of 23 and 2/5 seconds before hitting the wire through a half-mile in 50.62. 

Velazquez had National Treasure under a hold down the lane before letting the talented bay gallop out strong.

“I wanted to jog him to the mile pole and start him galloping nice and easy. He got pretty strong on the bridle, so I kept him on the outside and Bob told me when I get to the four and a half, just drop him in and try to go 49,” Velazquez said. “He picked it up pretty quick. I slowed him down as best I could and down the lane, I just held him together. Going past the sixteenth pole, I gave him his head and let him gallop out.”

Click for workout video.

National Treasure added blinkers for his score in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on May 20 at Pimlico which he won in dramatic fashion after a prolonged stretch duel with Grade 1-winner Blazing Sevens to his outside. 

Velazquez, who won the Belmont with Rags to Riches [2007] and Union Rags [2012], said that he expects National Treasure should be able to handle the stretch out to 12 furlongs in the “Test of the Champion” on June 10 at Belmont Park.

“After the races, he always gallops out really strong. I just hope that he can put it together,” Velazquez said. “The whole thing with him is he gets a little spotty. We put blinkers on him, and he’s been pretty good with them. Hopefully, he stays like that.”

Tom Ryan, managing partner of SF Racing, was on hand to watch the breeze and said Velazquez was pleased with the work.

“He said he was getting over the track very well which is most important,” Ryan said. “He said that it’s good to get a horse acclimated to the track.”

National Treasure boasts a record of 6-2-1-2 for purse earnings in excess of $1.3 million. He has raced at four different tracks, graduating on debut in September at Del Mar before hitting the board in the Grade 1 American Pharoah [2nd] in October at Santa Anita, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile [3rd] in November at Keeneland, and the Grade 3 Sham [3rd] in January at Santa Anita. He entered the Preakness from a troubled fourth-place finish in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April.

Ryan said the well-traveled horse has gained valuable experience.

“He went from Del Mar to Santa Anita to Keeneland and back,” Ryan said. “He got that early education we wanted him to get of getting on the plane and going to Kentucky with a big crowd. He’s experienced that now on a number of days on Breeders’ Cup to Preakness to this.”

Ryan said a win in the Belmont Stakes would be significant as he looks to build National Treasure’s resume as a potential stallion.

“I think it’s very important,” Ryan said. “A race like the Belmont is very important when pairing it with a race like the Preakness. I think a standalone Belmont definitely has value on a resume, but when you put two Classics on your resume, it’s pretty hard to top isn’t it?”

National Treasure is the first stakes winner produced from the Medaglia d’Oro mare Treasure and was purchased for $500,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.  

Early look at probables for the G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets


Angel of Empire / Flavien Prat / Brad Cox / Albaugh Family Stables

Arcangelo / Javier Castellano / Jena Antonucci / Blue Rose Farm

Forte / Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Todd Pletcher / Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable

Hit Show / Manny Franco / Brad Cox / Gary and Mary West

Il Miracolo / Marcos Meneses / Antonio Sano / Alexandres

National Treasure / John Velazquez / Bob Baffert / SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan

Raise Cain / Junior Alvarado / Ben Colebrook / Andrew Warren & Rania Warren

Red Route One / Joel Rosario / Steve Asmussen / Winchell Thoroughbreds

Tapit Trice / Luis Saez / Todd Pletcher / Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable

Possible: Prove Worthy (Pletcher), Tapit Shoes (Cox)

The Belmont Stakes headlines the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that features a total of 16 stakes events from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. For additional information on the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing, visit

@horsegirlamy16 @jonathanstettin it was the most amazing article I’ve ever read

Arlene Matlack (@MatlackArlene) View testimonials