Haskin's Belmont Report: Is It Finally Nehro's Time?

When Nehro’s connections decided to skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the first thought was that the son of Mineshaft–The Administrator, by Afleet was going to be the buzz horse in the Test of the Champion.

Despite having run second in his last three starts–the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), Arkansas Derby (gr. I), and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), there surprisingly hasn’t been much buzz surrounding Nehro, at least to the extent originally expected.

If you can overlook the fact that Nehro has won only one race in his career in six starts, he has as much going for him in regard to being an ideal Belmont Stakes horse as anyone. His female family doesn’t exactly shout mile and a half, but there is certainly enough to suggest he will have little problem with the distance.

What he does having going for him is temperament, versatility, and consistency. Actually, when you think of it, what he has accomplished in his last four starts has been pretty remarkable.

First off, however, his temperament is as close to perfect as you can hope. This horse is extremely laid back, will eat grass all day if you let him, does everything you ask of him, and you can’t school any better in the paddock than he did on Wednesday when he never so much as turned a hair in sweltering temperatures.

It is that temperament, along with his natural ability, that enabled him to turn in the four efforts we alluded to.

In his maiden race going a mile at Oaklawn, he came from far back, and with one devastating move on the far turn, inhaled his opposition before drawing off to win by 4 ½ lengths.

That race was good enough to prompt his connections, especially owner Ahmed Zayat, to try him in the Louisiana Derby, despite the big jump in class.

This time Nehro sat right behind the leaders in third, while caught in traffic, and then rallied along the inside to finished second, beaten only a neck by Pants on Fire.

In the Arkansas Derby, he again came from far back, but this time didn’t get in gear until he was in the stretch. Although Archarcharch made a big move nearing the eighth pole to blow by the leaders, Nehro was getting to him with every stride, again losing by a rapidly diminishing neck.

Finally, in the Kentucky Derby, he had to break from post 18, raced closer up in fifth, while wide every step of the way, and was the first horse to make his move and go after the pace-setting Shackleford, who was setting extremely slow fractions.

Nehro collared Shackleford turning for home, but as we saw in the Preakness, Shackleford is not an easy horse to put away. Nehro kept coming at him, finally wearing him down and taking over the lead inside the eighth pole. But a fresh Animal Kingdom came sweeping by him, and although he began to draw clear, Nehro continued to run on well to finish second.

There are few who would argue that Nehro ran close to a mile and half in the Derby, going five-wide into and around the first turn, five-wide the length of the backstretch, and six-wide turning for home. For him to finish second was an extraordinary effort.

So, in his last four starts, Nehro has rallied from far back with a sweeping outside move on the turn, rallied from close up on the inside, rallied from far back on the outside, and rallied from fairly close up again while racing extremely wide every step of the way.

You have to admire this colt’s versatility and his ability to launch a powerful move from anywhere on the racetrack.

We have no idea where he’ll be in the Belmont Stakes, but does it really matter? You can be sure regardless of where he’s running he’s going to put in his usual big move. And for that he must be respected, and most of all admired.

In other Belmont news, there were some anxious moments this morning concerning Master of Hounds, who arrived at Belmont from Aqueduct at 6:45 and proceeded to cause quite a ruckus, especially whenever a filly walked by his stall. He was quite studdish walking the shed, and it was only until he went to the track for a jog and a mile trot that he settled down.

Despite the blistering heat he did not get hot at all on the track and was calm and relaxed walking back to the barn, and was much better once back in his stall.

At Ballydoyle, the colts and fillies are separated, and coming from two days of solitude in quarantine at Aqueduct, it took the colt a while before he got used to the new surroundings, with horses walking past his stall and grazing in the paddock.

Assistant trainer T.J. Comerford, said they’ll get the colt’s training out of the way early on Friday, sending him out at 6:30.

Animal Kingdom looked great on the track this morning and simply has done nothing wrong since he arrived at Belmont last weekend. Shackleford also is his holding his flesh extremely well, and while some people feel Mucho Macho Man looks on the thin side, he actually seems to be thriving at Belmont and looks like as happy horse. He is a naturally thin horse, especially with his 17-hands-plus frame, but he has shown no indication he will not be in top shape for the Belmont, where his humongous stride should help him.

Another laid-back horse who takes everything in stride and looks to be doing very well is Santiva. This tenacious little horse should be fairly close to the lead, and if he can again show the same tenacity of his sire, Giant’s Causeway, he could be an intriguing longshot for the exotics.


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Excellent field, should be one of the best Belmonts in a long time.

1. Nehro

2. Master of Hounds

3. Brilliant Speed

09 Jun 2011 7:07 PM
Zenyatta John

I see it -

Nehro ~

Animal Kingdom ~

Shackleford ~

No real surprises.

09 Jun 2011 9:54 PM

I believe that Nehro has a very good chance in this race in that he is out of a New York champion, Mineshaft, who was awesome at the Classic distances. In addition he hit the lead near the head of the stretch in the Derby, so he won't be too far back in the Belmont. He will have to gut it out and hold off Master of Hounds, Mucho Macho Man, and Brilliant Speed. I don't believe that Animal Kingdom , or Shackleford, have a chance to hit the board here as they are not New York horses. Animal Kingdom got alot of help last time by coming in from FairHill Farm just hours before the race, which is suspicious as to the reason behind doing this and not staying overnight; they won't be able to pull those shenanigans this time in NY. Shackleford got his stuff in the Preakness (as he did in the Florida Derby) and found another 1/8th of a mile as he thought he was Pegasus flying to heaven for that extra $550,000 bonus; he won't get that at Belmont. Shackleford's brother, The Green Monkey (both out of sprinter, Forestry), would probably have just as good a chance winning this race as he does. It's going to be very difficult carrying that heavily muscled, Schwartzenegger, body around Belmont's 1 1/2 miles when you have a short-distance pedigree. Box 1, 5, 6, 10. I think Nehro, Master of Hounds, Mucho Macho Man, and Brilliant Speed will take up the first three spots. Box those horses in the exacta plus trifecta, and you can't go wrong. I studied all of the races at the Triple Crown Primer page, where you can study and watch all of the races on one page, plus they have all of the Belmont Info.on that page. I did it for the Preakness and Ky Derby and benefited. The Page is called The Belmont Primer Page and is here: http://winby5.com/belmont.html

10 Jun 2011 2:41 AM
Fran Loszynski

I think Zenyatta John is right, no surprises, these are high caliber horses, like watching a fine-tuned car, you know it's going to pick up speed when you push the pedal.

10 Jun 2011 7:59 AM

I think Nehro will be sent fairly early to soften up Shackleford.  Thus, if Animal Kingdom runs another 103 Beyer, I think he wins against this group.  In reality I think he may improve and move into the role of clear cut division leader.  

1. Animal Kingdom (by 5)

2. Mucho Macho Man

3. Brilliant Speed

10 Jun 2011 8:03 AM
Fran Loszynski

Steve just been talking to some old Edgar Prado fans like me and they are all picking Prime Cut for a longshot if things don't go up to par on the track and even if they do Edgar is due again. Love him to pieces, he's soooo good.

I want Shackleford, probably will be Nehro, but oh that Edgar!

10 Jun 2011 8:16 AM

I'm surprised to see such little faith in ANIMAL KINGDOM.  He has too much ability if he's in a duel with NEHRO.  SHACKLEFORD can fight for the wire well if he'll gallop to the 1/4 pole.




10 Jun 2011 8:37 AM

Wow, HorsesForCourses, way to cast aspersions on a trainer who's not had any drug violations. There were no shenanigans from Graham Motion; he trains a good horse.

10 Jun 2011 9:06 AM

Looking at this field I'm having thoughts of Bet Twice and Bold Forbes.

Shackleford - WPS

Exotics:  Shackleford, Santiva, Master of Hounds, Animal Kingdom, Nehro.

Have been disappointed with Prime Cut's last two races.

10 Jun 2011 9:53 AM
Pedigree Ann

Horses are BY their sires and OUT OF their dams. When did this absurd way of speaking develop?  I have a hard time seeing how a foal could come 'out of' a stallion the way it does from a mare.

Other absurd notions will not be given weight by being mentioned.

10 Jun 2011 10:01 AM

@ Horses for Courses:  Where do I start... First off, how will 4 horses- Nehro, MOH,MMM & Brilliant Speed- take up the top THREE spots in the Belmont?  I'd like to  see that- is one of them carrying another?

Specifically what kind of "shenanigans" are you accusing Animal Kingdom's connections- particularly Graham Motion, one of the most ethical trainers in the business- of?  It's "suspicious" that he chose to ship the morning of the Preakness?  If you're attempting to infer that this talented, unimpeachable and honest man was doing anything remotely suspect, you are barking up the wrong tree.  Stop maligning him as to the reason that you obviously lost your Preakness bet.

Next- exactly what is a "New York horse"? Are you referring to breeding/foaling?  If so, you should perhaps note that the first (and only) NY bred to win the Kentucky Berby was Funny Cide in 2003. There has been no NY bred winner of the Belmont, at least in the past 60 years. None of the 12 colts was bred in NY. 8 of the 12 runners have raced before in NYS- does that make them all New York horses? 7 of the 12 jocks call the NYRA circuit "home".  Does that make their mounts NY horses? Does Ruler on Ice count as a NY horse sine he breezed nearby a couple times at Monmouth. WHAT is a New York horse?

One simply cannot call Forestry a "sprinter". Having won 3 and shown in another race (2 of them graded stakes) at a mile or better in his career hardly confine him to the sprinter category.  

Finally, Shack & the Green Monkey are not brothers, 1/2 brothers or kissing cousins.  They are not considered related in the thoroughbred world, as the determining factor is the dam, not the sire.  Your slamming of Shack by comparing him to his not "brother" the Green Monkey is inaccurate and ignorant.

I'm glad you posted your bets for the Belmont.  I now know what to avoid.

10 Jun 2011 11:16 AM
Linda in Texas

The weather will be much cooler on Saturday than it has been all week as the worthy competitors have been training. i feel the cooler weather will be a positive for all and this could be a real factor in them feeling a bit frisky on race day. 30 degrees cooler in any part of the country will give one a higher step and perhaps a longer stride with a bit left in the tank at the wire hopefully.

This will be a fine race. For many spectators it has been a lesson in taking all of the entrants into consideration, not automatically picking the winner 2 weeks ahead of the race. Each thoroughbred brings a whole new set of things to consider.

I think it will be a handicappers delight as there no doubt will be several ways for them to place their bets.

HorsesForCourses, i had no idea that Shackleford is a brother of The Green Monkey. I believe he raced in California if memory serves or that was the last time i read about him. I always wondered why they would name a horse The Green Monkey, just read he is named after an island.  I did find that he was the most expensive Two Year Old Thoroughbred ever to be sold at Fasig-Tipton in Florida in 2006. A mere 16 million. He was retired in February of 2008 due to an injury. He has the same wide blaze that Shackleford has but their coloring is totally different.

Good luck everyone and please keep those of us not close enough to be at Belmont Park in mind and post your experiences so we can all have

a taste of what it is like.



Thanks Steve, hope you have a wonderful time.  

10 Jun 2011 11:42 AM

It seems everyone forgets Animal Kingdom could not catch a tired Shackleford 3 weeks ago.  Master and Nehro are fresh and Nehro was the best horse on Derby Day but the early 4 wide move did nothing to help his chances.  He will finish in front of Animal Kingdom on Saturday.  Master is built and trained for this race.  Take Master for the win.



Animal Kingdom

10 Jun 2011 12:28 PM

First of all, I would like to say this crop of 3 year olds is definitely stronger than last year's crop which is probably why there was no clear cut favorite in the Kentucky Derby. I am proud to say that I am two for two thus far in the triple crown races picking the winners and boxing superfectas on .50cent cheap bets too. So for what it is worth this is how I see it...Animal Kingdom has the most explosive turn of foot of all the horses in the field and passes horses in mid race like they are standing still...caught too much kick back in Preakness like Zenyatta in Classic ...However GREAT horses don't quit and find a way to be there at the end on any surface...slight jockey errors cost both horses probable victories.

   Shackleford...different style of running but oh so smart(very rateable on front) and a lay down and die heart at the end..love that horse...Overcomes stumbling start in Preakness 22 and change first quarter while pressured and still slows down without fighting rider the next quarter...nice...and throws down the gauntlet at the end...

  Steve's Nehro is a excellent (smaller) horse too but connections know that skipping the Preakness is his best chance at defeating Animal Kingdom and Shackleford since he competed in so many prep races prior to Kentucky...the correct move with the amount of time between races..and this horse can seem to run in any style...

 So, I will box superfectas again since the above three horses have the talent to win even when things don't go perfectly...

1. Animal Kingdom

2. Nehro

3. Shackleford

Brilliant Speed, Master of Hounds

next set

Mucho Macho Man is a good horse but overtrained and has run out of gas... forget the shoe thing which just means he has bad feet too...should have never worked before Preakness so I threw him out...

Oh.. and I have to laugh at the comments of Shackleford bucking and playing before Preakness as washing out??? Those commentators should know the difference between fretting and playing...most horses were sweating that day which at least means they are not nonsweaters which is way worse...he even kicked at the other horses while warming up behind the gate sending the message that he thinks he is the man...love a horse with an ego..

10 Jun 2011 12:44 PM

I'd like to know why no one has faith in Nehro.  Since day 1 he's been my pick.  Shackleford had help winning the Preakness because Pimlico is a speed bias track; I really don't know if he can go the mile and a half distance.  Amimal Kingdom has had a pretty rough schedule...running in all 3 Triple Crown races.  He's more then likely not going to be as fresh as he was in the first 2 legs.  Master of Hounds...man what a horse...but he's a better fit on the turf.  If this was a race on the grass...man watch out!  I think they better think about the Virginia Derby for that colt.  Nehro is coming off a short layoff.  I can't fault them for the time off...they did the right thing. I think he'll be the one to beat out there hands down.  He's sure bred to win this race...

10 Jun 2011 1:49 PM
steve from st louis

why did i go back and check the comments submitted? the kiss of death was unexpected when i thought i was safe since i previously read he fancied nehro. now he's touting master of hounds, my choice. i have no choice but to cancel my tickets on the magnier colt and putting it on Motion's runner.

10 Jun 2011 2:53 PM

This is one of the toughest Belmont's in sometime due to the very difficult pace scenario it presents. It doesn't appear that there is anyone who will challenge Shackelford early and so we may expect a moderate pace early, but that is not necessarily what may happen. It might be that Master of Hounds will put and keep the pressure on Shackelford early which could lead to some fast early fractions. If that happens I would expect MOH to stay longer than Shack. But they could burn each other out and anyone else who trys to stay close to them and therefore set this race up for a horse with a ton of stamina, who will only get better the further he runs. So I'll pick Ruler on Ice as a longshot to win the Belmont. He standsout to me as a horse that can run with this quality of horses and wants as much distance as possible, a mile and a half? no problem!

10 Jun 2011 3:12 PM

Shackleford and The Green Monkey are not brothers. They are both by the same sire...Forestry. Shackleford is out of Oatsee, and The Green Monkey is out of Magical Masquerade. Both mares are by Unbridled. Although technically 3/4 the same blood, they are not even considered 1/2 brothers when it pertains to breeding. You must be out of the same dam to be called 1/2 siblings, and to be 3/4 siblings both sires must be full brothers or both sires are out of the same mare (thus making them 1/2 brothers).

That said, I'm going with Santiva, Stay Thirsty, and Animal Kingdom as my top 3. I can see Shackleford running 4th or 5th with Brilliant Speed and Nehro with him.

10 Jun 2011 3:58 PM

I agree with u gte2wyr!! I think Nehro is the one to beat. Love this horse,every race i said man if it was just a few more furlongs he wld have won.If he stays out of trouble i believe this is his distance..I feel bad for MMM poor thing not even 3 yet and he gives it all every race, i just hope he stays safe and healthy,and wouldn't mind seeing him win,but he may be wore out. I hate goin against Shack he is a fighter with a big heart..he reminds me of Curlin a lil bit..given everything he has ALL the time,just don't know bout the distance for him here.Someone is going to try to put him to battle..but i am goin on a limb....



Brillant Speed

next ticket




one last thing how DARE anyone talk down about G Motion..come on be for real..I have to laugh at that one. Oh and i did say on another post that BS was half bro to Barbaro...in real life if u hve same mommy or daddy as someone else u were half Bro or Sis..didn't know it wasn't like that in the horse world LOL...safe trip for ALL >>>> OH LOVE EDGAR TO..

10 Jun 2011 4:15 PM
an ole railbird

the formula lies in the clock in jesus castons head & how well shackelford rates, either on the lead or if some one else wants the lead. i look for several riders to "go for it " ,the 1st 3/8 mile. if the 1st 1/4 goes 23& change without shackelford on the lead.if he rates down the back side. you will see shackelford run the eyes out of them all,in the strech. salute to jesus caston. you have my confidence. it was your ride that won the preakness. go for it ,jesus.

10 Jun 2011 6:14 PM

Horse 4 course...take a look at Dick Powells article on Mineshaft and "classic" runners"...it has been not the case, and he includes past running lines. I understand this is not an "absolute", but personally I think Nehro and Mucho will be underlays, and not for me!

11 Jun 2011 8:23 AM

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