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.

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