Haskin's Belmont Report: Bred Brilliantly for the Belmont

OK, are you ready for an absolutely gluttonous Belmont Stakes (gr. I) pedigree?

Whether one looks at Brilliant Speed’s as having a legitimate shot to win the Test of the Champion after studying his pedigree or just as a potential live longshot for the exotics, the fact is you will not find a pedigree more geared toward the Belmont Stakes.

Let’s forget about the colt’s sire, Dynaformer. We’re well aware of the abundance of stamina there. And let’s forget about Dynaformer’s sire, English Derby (Eng-I) winner Roberto. No need to question that stamina as well.

Now, get ready, because this is going to come fast and furious.

Brilliant Speed’s broodmare sire, Gone West, sired Belmont winner Commendable. Gone West’s sire, Mr. Prospector, sired Belmont winner Conquistador Cielo. Gone West’s broodmare sire, Secretariat, won the Belmont, sired Belmont winner Risen Star, and is the broodmare sire of Belmont winner A.P. Indy, who in turn sired Belmont winner Rags to Riches. Mr. Prospector’s broodmare sire, Nashua, won the Belmont.
Brilliant Speed’s second dam, Daijin, is a full-sister to Belmont winner Touch Gold. Daijin’s sire, Deputy Minister, not only sired Touch Gold, he is the broodmare sire of Belmont winners, Rags to Riches, Sarava, and Jazil. Daijin’s broodmare sire, Buckpasser, is the broodmare sire of Belmont winners Easy Goer and Coastal.
Getting back to the sire’s side, Roberto’s sire, Hail to Reason, sired Belmont winner Hail to All. Dynaformer’s broodmare sire, His Majesty, is the broodmare sire of Belmont winner Risen Star, and His Majesty’s sire, Ribot, sired Belmont winner Arts and Letters, as well as His Majesty’s full-brother, Graustark, who sired Belmont winner Avatar.
Now, if Brilliant Speed can only put a little bit of his name into his running style, he could be an interesting longshot to watch in the Belmont Stakes. After all, he’s got quite a family tree to live up to.

He also has the long, lean look of a European stayer, right up to the chiseled features. We still don’t know for sure how he compares on the dirt to the grass, but as you can see there is more than enough in his pedigree to suggest that dirt should be right in his wheel house.

In the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), he didn’t have the best of trips, and although he had the length of the stretch to get by the tenacious Santiva, he did have to go nine-wide turning for home and then try to close into that extremely strong final quarter. Down the backstretch, he was sitting right off Animal Kingdom’s flank, but the winner found an opening and quickly got the jump on him. Just like that, he was five in front of Brilliant Speed and on his way to a brilliant victory, while Brilliant Speed had no choice but to take the overland route and lose a ton of ground.

You can bet that Joel Rosario, with two races on him now, will place him in a better position in which to launch his big late run. In the Belmont, that means having him striking position at the quarter pole.

The big question is whether he’s good enough to handle these horses. If he is and the race comes down to a true test of stamina, be prepared for an army of Belmont Stakes ghosts to appear and push him that final quarter mile.

Monday’s works

Whether you like fast works or moderately slow works, it was easy to come away feeling good after watching Nehro breeze an easy half-mile in :50 4/5 and Animal Kingdom zip his half in a bullet :47 3/5.

Nehro looked as if he was doing nothing more than open-galloping, as he loped past the quarter pole, well off the rail. He was still on nothing more than cruise control down the stretch, barely in work-mode. Once he hit the wire, he actually began to pick it up and galloped out very strongly.

He looks terrific physically. His coat is radiant and he is packing good flesh. He obviously has flourished since the Derby, and owner Ahmed Zayat is feeling even better now about his decision to pass the Preakness (gr. I). (More on Nehro in tomorrow’s column)

As for Animal Kingdom, what can you say? He has maintained his physical condition and shows absolutely no signs of the tough races he had in the Derby and especially the Preakness. This colt has had to play catch-up and lightly raced horses in that position could very easily begin to tail off after the Derby and Preakness. But this horse has done anything but tail off. In fact, he looks as good, if not better, physically, than he did before the Derby.

Some horses need a work over the Belmont surface before they get used to it, but Animal Kingdom was right at home over it, and you won’t see a horse work in a bullet :47 3/5 any easier. As good as the work was, his gallop-out was spectacular, going out another eighth in a shade under :13, while opening 10-12 lengths on his workmate, and then another eighth in about :13 3/5 pulling up. It’s not every day you see a horse pull up six furlongs in 1:14 2/5.

Graham Motion will school the colt in the gate on Wednesday or Thursday and pretty much gallop him up to the race.

Kathy Ritvo said Monday morning that Mucho Macho Man came out of yesterday’s :59 2/5 work “Magnificent.”

One horse we are particularly looking forward to seeing is Master of Hounds, who leaves Ballydoyle tonight. The son of Kingmambo is on target to accumulate record frequent flier miles for a young 3-year-old, having already flown from Ireland to Dubai to Ireland to America to Ireland and now back to America.


Leave a Comment:



Brilliant Speed certainly has a fantastic pedigree for The Belmont and i hope he runs well.  But i would love Nehro to win it for Mineshaft.  It is past time a son of A P Indy sired a Belmont winner and I adore Mineshaft!  Nehro sounds to be training well and God wiling will turn in a power packed display to win!  Will be watching on At The Races (SKY  415) and cheering Nehro on!

06 Jun 2011 1:35 PM
El Kabong

Can't wait to hear more Steve. Thanks again for the outstanding rail bird tidbits. As much as I love the racing at Belmont, this race often does not set up to be as competitive as the other two legs of the crown, but not so this year. I can't remember a Belmont in recent time that had me salivating like this one. All greatness arguments aside,  you have to appreciate what a competitive field this race offers. This is setting up to be a great race and don't ask me who I like right now. I couldn't begin to tell you, but I will keep a close eye on all your reports. I'll need them to make a decision that's for sure.

06 Jun 2011 2:04 PM
Criminal Type

Great article, I really liked Brilliant Speed at a mile and a half before I read this, now I like him even more. I also like Master of Hounds at this distance as well, if he handles the surface. MMM and Ak shouldn't have any problems with the distance either. Those are my 4 horses. Having said that, I do not see Nehro or Shackleford being very effective at this distance given their Derby performances, they were both falling further behind Animal Kingdom at the wire. Good luck to all and safe racing.

06 Jun 2011 2:09 PM
steve from st louis


The Belmont is so different in both style and substance from the other two Jewels in racing's Triple Crown and yet nearly every year, we're treated to an out of the clouds winner who surprises us by getting the mile and a half Test of the Champion. For evidence, see Birdstone, Jazil, Da'Tara, Summer Bird, Drosselmeyer, and that's just in the last seven years.

If you follow Dr. Roman's dosage theories, Master of Hounds has an incredible distribution of

12--2--30--12--0, a dosage Index of 1.07 and a Center of Distribution of 0.25, not to mention being inbred to Native Dancer, Northern Dancer, Special, Nearctic, Natalma, Forli and Thong. That can't be bad for any horse going a distance. Beware.

06 Jun 2011 2:20 PM

I think pedigree will play an important part depending on how the race is run.You would think that at 1 1/2 miles pedigree should be more imortant than in the derby where it is 1 1/4 miles.That would be conventional wisdom,but a mile and a quarter is a unique distance for horses with stamina to run and win at,thats why the classic is run at 1 1/4 instead of a mile and a half.If the race spreads out from the front to the back to more than 15 lengths then the horses in the back will not be able to close with much authority,unless there are two or more pace and press horses running fast in the 1st 2nd and 3rd quarter miles.A front runner if left alone has a better chance to wire the Belmont than he does the Derby.Remember Zitos horse did this to Big Brown in 2008.That horse never really won anything else.If on the last turn the field is close on the front then horses who are within 5 or less lengths will only be helped by their pedigree,as in Brilliant Speed if he finds himself that close on the last turn.

06 Jun 2011 2:25 PM
Scott C

The only thing more blatant than Brilliant Speed's Belmont bloodline is the irony in his name. I agree Steve he will probably have to lay a little bit closer than he has previously to get to the wire ahead of these other colts. No way Shackleford holds on, Monzon and Prime Cut are outclassed, and MOH has spent way too much time in the air. I know he's a word class trainer but I question O'Brien's decision to continue shipping this colt. I would rather have kept him here, shipped him over to Belmont and let him dig in to big sandy a little bit in preparation. My straight super is MMM, AK, Brilliant Speed, and Nehro.

06 Jun 2011 3:33 PM
bill daly

It's a shame that a Triple Crown isn't on the line here because the public at large will be missing one very good horse race at Belmont this Saturday.  What a great betting race!  Lots of angles and lots of horses with a real shot of winning.  Racing fans will have fun with this one.

06 Jun 2011 4:18 PM

Sorry Steve but I'm not convinced that Brilliant Speed relishes the dirt surface enough to win a race like the Belmont.  Santiva is the horse you're looking for to beat the Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.  He has tactical speed, stamina and the heart of a street fighter to hold Animal kingdom and Nehro at bay once he's wrestled the lead away from Shackleford (I do not see a son of Forestry staying a truly run mile and half race).

06 Jun 2011 4:41 PM

BS actually ran OK in the Derby--he is my piece horse for exotics.

Question if our horses are burnt out  after shipping for Dubai--well at least some---if they were planning in running back in the Belmont wouldn't it have been wise to leave him here? There are many competent trainers they could have put to maintain his well being.

Might be dead wrong but my position would be it will take it toll when the race comes. He MOH also didn't run poorly in the KY Derby but after watching a few the replay a few times it is my opinion that Brilliant Speed ran a better race.

I doubt though if any will improve enough to beat the winner of the Derby and Preakness--maybe they could beat the hard trying Nethro who has yet to beat NW2 lifetime and yet will be the wise guy bet and shorter than he should be betting wise---of course that would be if he doesn't prove me wrong and win which is entirely possible.

06 Jun 2011 4:53 PM
Bill in Atlanta


As always, please keep these field reports coming. For those of us that are following the horses from our computers, or in some cases where we might attend the race but not be able to observe the horses work-outs or see them until race day.....you are our eyes.

Everyone (blogs and handicappers) keeps saying this a weak crop and they have quickly forgotten that AK only lost the Preakness by a half length, and that was because Johnny waited a second too long to fire AK, plus Shack had enough at the end to rally and hold on. After he wins the Belmont, we will look back on the Triple Crown races and see that AK was just that half length from our coveted TC winner. I believe AK will win this race handily with Nehro, Brilliant Speed, MH, and MMM battling for the next three spots to fill out the .....that is if MMM can keep his shoes on!

Looking forward to your article tomorrow on Nehro.

06 Jun 2011 5:34 PM
Zenyatta John

Great article about the bloodlines of Brilliant Speed.

I think the Belmont will come down to Nehro and Animal Kingdom.

06 Jun 2011 7:24 PM

Master of Hounds had to return to Ireland because of visa/immigration restrictions.  He will have to be very much the best to overcome all of the impact of travel as a young three year old.  

AK is my pick -- Graham Motion is proving that Barry Irwin made a shrewd move to consolidate his barn with him.  Santiva and Nehro should fill out the other major places.

06 Jun 2011 8:02 PM
John A

Great Article however i don't think that dirt is best. I am going to go with Mucho Macho Man again i always believe that he is a stayer. in my opinion he will keep going and win the Belmont.   John A From FLS  

06 Jun 2011 8:05 PM

Steve, Brilliant speed was my key in the exotics derby day, and ran just an ok race with no excuse except the long way home. I am  afraid i was caught up in bluegrass performance much like Stately Victor's monster win in 2010 when he put Paddy O'Prado away with ease. Treading lightly with B.speed sat. although he and M. of Hounds are bred to run marathons. If the weather stays nice the track should be glib sat. ensuring what i hope will be a realistic pace Don't give up on MMM, nice work and solid hoof nails on sat. wonder what kind of shoes he was wearing during workout?

06 Jun 2011 8:06 PM
Dave R.

In my opinion it will be Animal Kingdom, Santiva, Shackleford, and Nehro 1-2-3-4 in the Belmont.  Shackleford will lead and be tracked by Santiva who will collar him on the turn and will pass a stubborn Shackleford in mid stretch.  Animal Kingdom will come from mid-pack and run them down to win by 1 1/2 lengths.  Nehro will make a belated run from near the back to miss 3rd by a head.  That's my take on the Belmont.

06 Jun 2011 8:41 PM

Brillant speed is my pick for the Belmont..

Closeing from 16 to 7th going that wide coming for home..

I am hoping to get 15-1 on him..

06 Jun 2011 9:05 PM

Brilliant analysis of Brilliant Speed's pedigree.  Thank you Steve.  I can hardly contain myself at work and it's only Monday, I cannot wait to drive out to Belmont Park on Saturday!  To see the contenders all in person is quite a thrill!  I always pet one of the workhorses that rests by the tunnel between races, they are so cute and they work hard all day escorting thoroughbreds.  He's white and I don't know his name but I hope he is there.  This is Johnny V's race, he's got the homecourt advantage so to speak.  Timing is critical on the wide sweeping oval of Big Sandy.  You can't expend too much energy early and be left with too much to do.  I'm sure Johnny V will time it just perfectly with AK.  As much as I love all of them I am behind AK and Shack, as I keep saying we need consistent stars.  I will love to see MOH, MMM, Santiva, Nehro, and Brilliant Speed.  

The fillies, I believe in the Acorn, come out of the tunnel to "Sidewalks of New York" playing softly as they walk out.  With no triple on the line, this is a fine field and shaping up to be quite a competitive race, should be exciting.  I don't get it either, as several have alluded to above, why MOH was not left here after the Derby if they had intentions of entering him in the Belmont?  He's probably en route to the airport now in Ireland and saying to himself, "here I go again."  He should get a special award for trying so hard and for the thoroughbred with most time this year spent in the air.

Good luck to all with safe trips and go Animal Kingdom and Shackleford!!!

06 Jun 2011 9:36 PM

Thanks for the great indepth analysis of Brilliant Speed! That's quite the distance pedigree!! Now I am second guessing my choices of Animal Kindgom first and Nehro second....

06 Jun 2011 9:36 PM
Linda in Texas

Would love nothing more than for Brilliant Speed to live up to his name if for no other reason but for Gone West to be mentioned and his sire Mr. Prospector. Gone West  has been gone for almost 2 years and was a favorite of mine. And so often i find his name in pedigrees and it makes me think of him fondly.

Thanks Steve and yes you certainly are all our eyes on the ground and definitely appreciated.  

06 Jun 2011 9:38 PM


In Big Brown's Belmont, Big Brown wasn't even "Big Brown."  He was spent before the race, his momentum was broken between the Preakness and Belmont which Steve pointed out back then due to missed training due to the quarter crack, he freaked out in the detention barn for hours, it was 95 degrees, he threw a shoe or something, the starter was in his lane on the track at the start, the whole race had to be a toss for him.  He came undone before the starting gate, then was pulled up at the finish, right in front of me, in a horror show because he was fighting Desormeaux.  Zito himself, let alone his horse, could have raced and won against Big Brown that day!!!  I loved Big Brown, he is a spectacular looking animal and yet another near miss on a would-be TC winner.

06 Jun 2011 9:56 PM
Karen in Indiana

Thank you very much for the reports. Love the photo of Animal Kingdom with your article on his work - was that taken today during his work? While his personality seems very different, his form reminds me of Seattle Slew - balanced and powerful. Am I hallucinating or wishful thinking? Also, thanks for the details on Brilliant Speed's pedigree.

06 Jun 2011 10:45 PM
Abigail Anderson

Steve: Love the pedigree of Brilliant Speed -- if he got the heart gene from Secretariat's influence, he may relish Big Sandy. And poor Master of Hounds! Why would they have shipped him home instead of letting him get acclimatized to this side of The Pond and the Belmont track? I'm also excited to see what Animal Kingdom & Shackleford will do, although, like a previous post, I have to admit that I've been conditioned to the Belmont winner coming from out of the clouds....

06 Jun 2011 10:47 PM

Why can't turf writers stop writing "kentucky derby presented by YUM! Brands" Enough already. Why don't they just present the winnging horse with a taco bell grilled stuffed steak burrito instead of roses?

I was reading the story about AK's workout and is said "the kentucky derby presented by YUM! brands winner...." I wanted to throw up my happy meal.

It is so far over the top its not even funny. Its the kentucky derby!

I love animal kingdom but I almost wish he didn't run so I don't have to read things like "AK, winner of the kentucky derby presented by YUM! brands just couldn't get it done".

With all that said.....AK and Nehro 1-2 or the other way.

06 Jun 2011 10:49 PM
Mister Frisky

I agree Steve i think Brilliant Speed is very live.Great ped,top rate trainer and owner.Also love MOH they aren't coming back here for second money.Even Stay Thirsty is interesting Pletcher is always more playable at a price then the chalk.

07 Jun 2011 2:08 AM
The Deacon

Wow Steve, now that was impressive......a who's who among racing greats. I am very impressed.

I Still like Animal Kingdom and Nehro, head and head down the stretch...........

07 Jun 2011 2:41 AM

I have a friend who is a big Buckpasser fan & Brilliant Speed gave him a reason to root for a horse this year. He was impressed by his pedigree also & we have been hoping he would do better but maybe the best is yet to come!

07 Jun 2011 3:32 AM

I'm liking a BS, AK, Santiva box.

07 Jun 2011 5:28 AM

My pick by far is AK it is said that it is a even field I think AK is heads above this field and will be odds on and should be.  He was brillant in the Derby jock waited alittle to long in the Preakness he looks fabulous now and he will show them all how a mile and a half is run in the Belmont.

07 Jun 2011 5:41 AM

Steve excellent report. Problem I am having sizing up the field is most of these contenders are deep closers and really bred for grass. while they certainly will get the distance not sure about the kick back of dirt from big sandy. If Shack is left to lope along he could be very tough to catch.

07 Jun 2011 7:03 AM

OMG...I'm prepared for an "army of Belmont Stakes ghosts" to appear.  Gives me chills. What a sight that would be, huh Steve...

P.S. Animal Kingdom is the winnah and I too hate that he missed the triple crown!!!

07 Jun 2011 7:19 AM
Animal Lover

I can't see Shack hanging for this race, but I can see Animal Kingdom and Brilliant  Speed  being there, and I like Harlan's Hello....

07 Jun 2011 7:43 AM


07 Jun 2011 8:05 AM
Zenyatta John

Great article about the bloodlines of Brilliant Speed.

I think the Belmont will come down to Nehro and Animal Kingdom.

07 Jun 2011 8:13 AM

ANIMAL KINGGDOM  will win belmont by largest margin since BIG RED. I said it and I believe it.

07 Jun 2011 9:52 AM

I believe in pedigree; especially in certain races. The BELMONT is one of those races.

Aside from Secretariat, only 5 horses have run sub 2:27. Three of those have a Secretariat pedigree, the other two Native Dancer. Add a sprinkling of Northern Dancer, not to mention great broodmare sires and it becomes obvious to me that those 5 winners were bred for the course.

While this does not assure anything for Brilliant Speed, he deserves a look.  Some have entered the gate at Big Sandy with all the upside you could want, yet failed. Perhaps he gets outrun, but he won't be short.


07 Jun 2011 1:18 PM

Just reading the article on Uncle Mo's progress and the official diagnosis it probably hasn't escaped most but particularly Todd Pletcher that Devil May Care who recently passed was also diagnosed with hepatitis.  I would imagine that Todd Pletcher will be reviewing all supplements, feed, policies and procedures very carefully now that a second top horse of his has a similar diagnosis.

07 Jun 2011 3:31 PM

Excellent pedigree research regarding all the Belmont winners!  How ironic that a horse you'd envision as a sprinter based on the name may in fact be our next Belmont winner.

07 Jun 2011 4:43 PM

I also have to take a pass on BS- regardless of pedigree, he hasn't done much to impress me.  I do think MOH will be a threat if he's not jet lagged, and I can't wait to see how Nehro, AK and Shack run.  Safe race all.

07 Jun 2011 5:51 PM

Am I committing some sort of felony if I talk about the Kentucky Derby withou mentioning Yum Brands?

08 Jun 2011 8:09 AM

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