Ten­fold, Bravazo loom as top po­ten­tial spoil­ers

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - HORSE RACING - Ja­son Frakes

The top ques­tion the past few weeks has been, “Can Jus­tify win the Triple Crown?”

The more im­por­tant ques­tion could be, “Is there a horse ca­pa­ble of beat­ing Jus­tify?”

Jus­tify has been dom­i­nant this year, win­ning all five of his races and mov­ing within a step of be­com­ing Thor­ough­bred rac­ing’s 13th Triple Crown win­ner. He’ll try to com­plete the feat Satur­day in the Belmont Stakes in El­mont, N.Y.

Ten horses were en­tered Tues­day for the Belmont. Two of the top horses from the ear­lier Triple Crown races will not com­pete as the con­nec­tions of Good Magic (sec­ond in the Ken­tucky Derby and fourth in the Preak­ness Stakes) and Au­di­ble (third in the Ken­tucky Derby) have de­cided to skip the race.

Who can beat Jus­tify? A look at the five horses with the best chances, ranked from least likely to most likely.

5. Blended Citizen

You might have for­got­ten about the horse that was on the also-el­i­gi­ble list for the Ken­tucky Derby but ul­ti­mately failed to make the field. Blended Citizen raced May 12 and won the Grade 3 Peter Pan by 1½ lengths, giv­ing him a valu­able vic­tory over the Belmont Park sur­face. Trainer Doug O’Neill was de­nied a shot at the Triple Crown in 2012 when I’ll Have An­other, win­ner of the Ken­tucky Derby and Preak­ness, was found to have a ten­don in­jury the day be­fore the Belmont and missed the race. Per­haps O’Neill gets his atone­ment.

4. Vino Rosso

He was ninth in the Ken­tucky Derby and will en­ter the Belmont well-rested. Even be­fore the Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher was hint­ing that Vino Rosso was best suited for longer races. As far as Bris­net Speed Fig­ures go, Vino Rosso has been on a good-start-bad-start streak since the be­gin­ning of the year. It’s time for an­other good start.

3. Hof­burg

Many ex­pect Hof­burg, who has been off since fin­ish­ing sev­enth in the Ken­tucky Derby, will be the No. 2 betting choice be­hind Jus­tify. He was the wiseguy horse in the Ken­tucky Derby, and with just four ca­reer starts Hof­burg seem­ingly has more room to im­prove than most of his com­pe­ti­tion in the Belmont. But how will his late-run­ning style trans­late in the Belmont?

2. Bravazo

For­got­ten af­ter a dis­mal eighth-place fin­ish in the Louisiana Derby, Bravazo is the only horse in the Belmont field other than Jus­tify to com­pete in both the Ken­tucky Derby (sixth) and Preak­ness (sec­ond). His Preak­ness run was im­pres­sive, and trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he ex­pects to have an even bet­ter horse in the Belmont. Lukas has four Belmont vic­to­ries, the last com­ing with Com­mend­able in 2000. Maybe he can re­cap­ture the Belmont magic again.

1. Ten­fold

It’s way too early to men­tion Ten­fold in the same breath as Curlin (his sire) or Gun Run­ner, but trainer Steve As­mussen has been high on this un­sea­soned colt for a long time. Af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing fifth-place fin­ish in the Ar­kan­sas Derby, Ten­fold showed his prom­ise with an im­pres­sive third-place run in the Preak­ness Stakes. It could be just the kind of race Ten­fold needed to take an­other step for­ward and ruin Jus­tify’s chances at the Triple Crown.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.