Governor Malibu breezes at Belmont; Exaggerator, Cherry Wine & Brody’s Cause gallop
Edited Press Release
With jockey Joel Rosario aboard, Peter Pan (G2) runner-up Governor Malibu hit the main track at Belmont Park early Friday morning to ready for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 11.
Breezing in company, the son of Malibu Moon completed five furlongs in just over a minute, according to trainer Christophe Clement.
Encouraged by the work, Clement will weigh his options on whether he would keep things light or give the chestnut colt another maintenance work before next Saturday's race.
"It was a strong work," Clement said. "Five-eighths in a minute and change and three-quarters went in thirteen and change. He looked very fit. Joel was very happy with the work.
“We've done everything we've had to do on our side, now it's up to him. The only question remaining is if I train him to the race or give him a blowout on Thursday or Friday of next week. I'm not sure, I just have to think about it."
Likely Belmont favorite Exaggerator galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track Friday morning at Belmont Park. The Preakness Stakes (G1) winner is expected to gallop a two-minute lick on Saturday and be hand-walked on Sunday, said Julie Clark, an assistant to trainer Keith Desormeux.
Exaggerator is also expected to work on Tuesday, his final major move before the Belmont.
"I was thrilled, I thought he was perfect," Clark said. "I couldn't have asked for any better. He started at a nice, easy pace and picked it up real relaxed. He was well within himself and cooled off by the time he came off the track."
Exaggerator, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1), has been at Belmont since Sunday. He is only one of two horses in the 1 1/2-mile contest to have competed in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, joining Lani on that short list.
Dale Romans' newly arrived Belmont prospects, Cherry Wine and Brody's Cause, got a handle for Big Sandy on Friday morning, galloping a respective lap around the main track shortly after the renovation break.
"They look good and they're training great," said Romans, on hand from Kentucky for the colts' training. "They both galloped by here as good as a horse can gallop."
Cherry Wine, a 3 1/2-length runner-up to Exaggerator in the Preakness S. (G1) last out, and Brody's Cause, seventh when last seen in the Kentucky Derby (G1), arrived in New York from Romans' training base at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning and have settled into their new environment in good order, Romans reported.
"If they're good enough they'll win," he said. "They're both doing great. They both act like they want to go a mile and a half and they look ready to. They just have to be talented enough."
Both Cherry Wine and Brody's Cause, who worked a mile in 1:42 and four furlongs in :49.60, respectively, at Churchill last weekend, are scheduled for their final breezes Saturday morning.
"Then we'll take it easy," Romans stated.
Trojan Nation – whose owners Aaron Sones and wife, Julie Gilbert, said will start in the Belmont Stakes – will arrive at Belmont either Monday evening or Tuesday, trainer Paddy Gallagher said by phone.
Trojan Nation will breeze one final time at Santa Anita on Saturday morning before shipping to Belmont. The Street Cry colt last breezed on Sunday at Santa Anita, clocking five furlongs in 1:00.20.
"He's scheduled to work tomorrow and will probably go either five-eighths or three-quarters, somewhere around there," Gallagher said. "Once he's at Belmont, he'll gallop on the track and see the place."
Trojan Nation's only previous start in New York resulted in a career-best effort when he finished second in the April 9 Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct despite going off at 81-1.
Exaggerator, Cherry Wine and Brody’s Cause photos courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography