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Belmont Stakes Capsules

June 05, 2004|Bob Mieszerski

Order of horses: By saddlecloth numbers. Odds: Morning line (in parenthesis). Post: 3:30 PDT. TV: Ch. 4 (coverage begins 2:30)

1. MASTER DAVID (20-1)

Owner: Georgica Stable. Trainer: Bobby Frankel. Jockey: Jose Santos.

Post: 1. Sire: Grand Slam. Dam: Nadra. Record: 9-2-4-2. Earnings: $288,756.

Comment: The decision to run the Wood Memorial runner-up was made at the last minute.... One of the reasons Frankel gave at the post-position draw was that hall-of-fame trainer Allen Jerkens thought Master David was the horse most capable of upsetting Smarty Jones.... Third as the favorite in his last race, the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan at Belmont on May 22..... This will be the first time he will be ridden by Santos, who spoiled Charismatic's Triple Crown bid in 1999 with his shocking victory aboard Lemon Drop Kid.

2. PURGE (5-1)

Owner: Starlight Stables. Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: John Velazquez.

Post: 2. Sire: Pulpit. Dam: Copelan's Bid Gal. Record: 5-3-1-0. Earnings: $237,400.

Comment: Rated off the pace and won the Peter Pan by nearly seven lengths .... Was no match for Smarty Jones in Arkansas, losing by 3 1/4 lengths in the Rebel Stakes and 7 1/4 in the Arkansas Derby.... Might be a better horse now, but seems suspect at the Belmont's 1 1/2-mile distance.... Has not finished worse than second in four collaborations with Velazquez, who is arguably the best rider in the country on a daily basis.

3. CAIMAN (50-1)

Owner: Victor Achar. Trainer: Angel Medina. Jockey: Ramon Dominguez.

Post: 3. Sire: Malibu Moon. Dam: Storming Up. Record: 8-4-1-1. Earnings: $50,412.

Comment: His name means alligator in Spanish.... There's a better chance one of the Belmont participants will be attacked by an alligator during the running of the race than there is of this overmatched colt finishing in the top four, let alone winning.... Started his career in Mexico, winning two of three races.... Finished eighth and fifth in graded-stakes races, both Grade IIIs.... Dominguez ranks second in the nation behind Rafael Bejarano in victories this year.

4. BIRDSTONE (15-1)

Owner: Marylou Whitney Stables. Trainer: Nick Zito. Jockey: Edgar Prado.

Post: 4. Sire: Grindstone. Dam: Dear Birdie. Record: 6-3-0-0. Earnings: $375,600.

Comment: Making first start since he finished eighth, beaten by 15 1/4 lengths, in the Kentucky Derby.... Won three of his first four races as a 2-year-old, but has won only one of three races at age 3.... In his only race at Belmont Park, Birdstone won the Champagne, a Grade I, on Oct. 4.... Zito is winless with 11 starters in the Belmont Stakes, but has finished second on five occasions.... If the trainer loses again, you can be sure he will be quick with the excuses, as he always is.

5. ROCK HARD TEN (8-1)

Owner: Mercedes Stables and Madeleine Paulson. Trainer: Jason Orman. Jockey: Alex Solis.

Post: 5. Sire: Kris S. Dam: Tersa. Record: 4-2-1-1. Earnings: $347,600.

Comment: With Patrick Valenzuela unable to get a stay of his monthlong suspension that began Tuesday, Solis will ride this colt for the first time.... Was reluctant to load into the starting gate at the Preakness Stakes, then finished second while encountering some trouble.... Expect him to be a lot closer to the pace today, and he is certainly bred to handle the 1 1/2 miles.... Was disqualified from second to third in the Santa Anita Derby, costing him earnings that would have allowed him to run in the Kentucky Derby.

6. ROYAL ASSAULT (20-1)

Owner: Tracy Farmer. Trainer: Nick Zito. Jockey: Pat Day.

Post: 6. Sire: Kris S. Dam: Fit For A Queen. Record: 5-2-1-1. Earnings: $111,900.

Comment: Earned his Belmont spot with a victory in the Sir Barton Stakes, a race on the Preakness undercard.... Sarava parlayed a win in the Sir Barton into an upset in the 2002 Belmont, in which War Emblem was going for the Triple Crown.... The Sir Barton victory was his first since he broke his maiden at 16-1 in his debut on Jan. 10 at Gulfstream Park.... Zito called him an "up-and-comer'' on Wednesday, but the chestnut was fifth at 42-1 in the Wood Memorial, his only in a graded-stakes race.

7. TAP DANCER (50-1)

Owner: Gilbert Campbell. Trainer: Ed Allard. Jockey: Javier Castellano.

Post: 7. Sire: Sword Dance. Dam: Heaven's Gate. Record: 10-2-2-1. Earnings: $162,235.

Comment: A fourth-place finish in the Sir Barton was enough to convince Campbell and Allard to take a shot in the Belmont.... Enters on a six-race losing streak, his last victory coming in the fabled Seacliff Stakes on Aug. 30 at Calder .... Began his career finishing third in a $25,000 maiden claimer last summer in Florida. The winner of that race was Imperialism, who was third in the Kentucky Derby.... Castellano will ride him for the first time, replacing Stewart Elliott, who will be busy elsewhere in this race.

8. EDDINGTON (10-1)

Owner: Willmott Stables Inc. Trainer: Mark Hennig. Jockey: Jerry Bailey.

Post: 8. Sire: Unbridled. Dam: Fashion Star. Record: 7-2-2-3. Earnings: $249,560.

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