â€¢ Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah breezes at Churchill Downs; War Story out of Belmont
â€¢ Untapable, Shook Up breeze Monday for Belmont Stakes Day assignments for Asmussen
ELMONT, N.Y. - Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah is likely to face nine contenders in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 6: Carpe Diem, Conquest Curlinate, Frammento, Frosted, Keen Ice, Madefromlucky, Materiality, Mubtaahij and Tale of Verve.
The probable field shrank by one when trainer Tom Amoss elected to point War Story to the Ohio Derby, but American Pharoah will still have to defeat the biggest field of any Triple Crown winner if he is to become the first since Affirmed in 1978. No horse has swept the series facing more than seven contenders in the Belmont.
American Pharoah's trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, was on hand for the work. Baffert, who has had three Triple Crown near misses with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002), said American Pharoah is scheduled to arrive at Belmont on Tuesday, June 2.
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Eclipse Award-winner Untapable hit the Belmont Park main track Monday morning, working five furlongs in 1:00.84, the third fastest of nine at the distance. The 2014 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, trained by Steve Assmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, is prepping for a start in the Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day.
Untapable, whose last Belmont appearance came when she won the Grade 1 Mother Goose at 1 1/16 miles en route to her championship season, has made two starts this season. She began her 2015 campaign finishing second in the Grade 2 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14, and most recently won the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn on April 10.
Expected to face Untapable in the Ogden Phipps are Dame Dorothy, Sheer Drama, Sweet Reason and Wedding Toast. Rosalind is also possible. On Monday, Asmussen also worked 3-year-old filly Shook Up, who is a probable starter for the Grade 1, $750,000 Acorn for owners Regis Racing. The daughter of Tapit last out finished second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 1.
Clocked moving five furlongs in 1:00.54, the work earned Shook Up the second-fastest time of the day, narrowly besting her stablemate Untapable.
Likely to face Shook Up in the Acorn include undefeated filly Promise Me Silver, Luminance, Birdatthewire, Condo Commando, Bar of Gold, Curalina and Danzatrice.
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Multiple Grade 1 winner Palace Malice has been declared out of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap on June 6 at Belmont Park, according to trainer Todd Pletcher's assistant, Byron Hughes.
The bay horse was originally scheduled to make his 2015 debut in the Grade 3 Westchester on May 2 at Belmont to prep for the Met Mile, but instead ran on May 10 in the six-furlong Diablo Stakes, in which he finished third as the 4-5 favorite.
"Todd felt he needed a little more time, and the race came up a little quick," said Hughes of Palace Malice.
Palace Malice won last year's Met Mile, as well as the 2013 edition of the Belmont Stakes. Additional graded stakes victories include the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap and Grade 3 Westchester.
No further plans have been made for the 5-year-old son of Curlin, according to Hughes.