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Early Voting To Pass On Belmont Stakes

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • Preakness winner Early Voting will not compete in the Belmont Stakes on June 11 in New York.
  • Instead, trainer Chad Brown is targeting the Travers Stakes on August 27 at Saratoga.
  • The plan is for Early Voting to run a prep race in the interim, most like the Jim Dandy at Saratoga (July 30) or the Haskell at Monmouth (July 23).

Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting had one clear advantage over most of the field on Saturday–he was well rested, by virtue of not having competing in the Kentucky Derby. As it turns out, he won’t be competing in the final leg of the Triple Crown either. On the day after his Preakness victory, trainer Chad Brown confirmed that Early Voting would not run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. Instead, the working plan is for his horse to compete in the August 27 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Brown also indicated that a prep race would be in the offing for Early Voting–most likely the Jim Dandy at Saratoga (July 30) or the Haskell at Monmouth (July 23).

Brown told the sporting media that Early Voting had come out of the Preakness in good shape:

“The horse really showed up. I’m so proud of him. He looks fine. He’s loaded up on the van and on his way. I’m so proud of him. Only the fourth start of his career. This is a really good horse. He makes his own trips, he’s smart, cooperative to work with. He deserves all the praise. We’ll evaluate later on and pick a race. We want to set him up for what lies ahead.”

Early Voting turned in a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 in his Preakness Victory. Brown and owner Seth Klarman claimed their second Preakness victory in remarkably similar fashion to their first. In 2017, Cloud Computing entered the Preakness lightly raced with only three previous career starts and having skipped the Kentucky Derby.

The rest of the Preakness field is in the process of planning out their competitive schedule. Unless something changes, there will not be any horses to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year. Steve Asmussen said that runner up Epicenter also came out of the Preakness in good form and will be heading to Saratoga, most likely pointing toward the Jim Dandy or the Travers:

“He’s his usual self. He’s a fabulous horse. He is truly remarkable. He recovers remarkably well.”

For now, Epicenter will be returning to Churchill Downs and hopefully cooler weather:

“It’s going to be 20 degrees cooler than today (at Churchill). We’ll give him a little break. We’re constantly evaluating the situation, but the plan is for him to go to Saratoga, and from here I’d suggest the Jim Dandy and the Travers.”

Trainer Kenny McPeek confirmed that Creative Minister–third place finisher at the Preakness, also in his fourth career start–will be heading to the Belmont Stakes. In fact, he’ll be heading to Belmont Park on Monday. Fourth place finisher Secret Oath is getting a break according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas and will next compete at the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 23 at Saratoga:

“She’ll have an eight-week break, which she deserves. I’d like to run there, then the Alabama, then that race at Parx, the Cotillion.”

Fifth place finisher Skippylongstocking is being called a ‘possibility’ for the Belmont by trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and will travel to Belmont Park on Monday.

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