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2016 Belmont Stakes Post Position Draw Transcript

By TwinSpires Staff

The following is a transcript from the post position draw for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) held Wednesday at Rock Center Café at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan

NYRA TRACK ANNOUNCER LARRY COLLMUS: So a lot of excitementas we get ready to find out where they’ll be coming out of the gate for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes. Gentlemen, let’s do it.

We start with Trojan Nation. He will be No. 9, owned by Julie Gilbert and Dr. Aaron Sones, trained by Paddy Gallagher. Aaron Gryder is the rider for Trojan Nation, breaking from post position No. 9.

And here is Exaggerator, the Preakness winner. He is No. 11. Exaggerator owned by Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners, and Rocker O Ranch, trained by Keith Desormeaux, ridden by Kent Desormeaux. The Preakness winner, Exaggerator, will be No. 11 in the Belmont Stakes.

Brody’s Cause is next. He is No. 12. Owned by Albaugh Family Stable, trained by Dale Romans. Luis Saez, the jockey on Brody’s Cause. Post position 12 in the Belmont.

Gettysburg is next. Gettysburg is No. 6, owned by WinStar Farm, trained by Steve Asmussen. Paco Lopez will ride Gettysburg from post position No. 6.

Stradivari is next, and he is No. 5. Owned by John Gunther, Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, trained by Todd Pletcher. And John Velazquez will ride Stradivari, No. 5.

Next is Forever d’Oro, and he is No. 8. Owned by Charles Fipke, trained by Dallas Stewart, with Jose Ortiz riding Forever d’Oro, post 8.

Seeking the Soul is next. He is No. 7, breaking right next to his stablemate Forever d’Oro. Seeking the Soul also owned by Charles Fipke, trained by Dallas Stewart, ridden by Florent Geroux, post position No. 7.

Suddenbreakingnews is No. 4, owned by Samuel Henderson, trained by Donnie Von Hemel, with Mike Smith. Suddenbreakingnews is No. 4.

Next is Lani. He is No. 10. Owned by Koji Maeda, trained by Matsunaga Mikio, and ridden by Yutaka Take. Lani from Japan will be No. 10 in the Belmont.

Governor Malibu drew the rail, No. 1 for Governor Malibu. Owned by Jump Sucker Stable and Oak Bluff Stable, trained by Christophe Clement. Joel Rosario rides Governor Malibu, who will break from post No. 1 in the Belmont Stakes.

Destin is No. 2. Destin is owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, trained by Todd Pletcher, with Javier Castellano. And Destin comes out of No. 2.

Creator is next. He is No. 13 from the far outside. Creator owned by WinStar Farm, trained by Steve Asmussen, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding. Creator has drawn the far outside, post 13 in the Belmont.

And that leaves us Cherry Wine, and he is No. 3. Owned by William Pacella, trained by Frank L. Jones, Jr. and Frank Shoop, and trained by Dale Romans. Corey Lanerie rides Cherry Wine from post position No. 3.

So now we will give you the morning line odds for the Belmont from the top down. Brody’s Cause is 20-1. Cherry Wine is 8-1. Creator, 10-1. Destin is 6-1. The Preakness winner Exaggerator is the morning line favorite at odds of 9-5, 9-5 on Exaggerator. Forever d’Oro is 30-1. Gettysburg is also 30-1. Governor Malibu is 12-1. Lani is 20-1. Seeking the Soul is 30-1. Stradivari is the second choice at 5-1. Suddenbreakingnews is 10-1. And Trojan Nation is 30-1.

So that’s the field of 13 for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes. Thank you to our racing officials. We’ll bring back Andy Serling to the stage, and he’s going to be talking to some of the connections involved in this year’s race. Andy?

ANDY SERLING: Thanks a lot. We are very pleased to announce that some of the connections of the favorite, Exaggerator, the 9-5 morning line favorite, rider Kent Desormeaux is here. I want to thank Kent a lot for coming and joining us, as well as Matt Bryan, head of Big Chief Racing, owner of Exaggerator. If you gentlemen could come up with me for a couple of moments, we would appreciate it.

Thanks a lot, guys. Kent, I want to talk to you first. Kent, you’ve obviously had a lot of experience riding at Belmont. The first question people will want to know is how do you feel about his outside post position?

KENT DESORMEAUX: I just told Matt it’s a wonderful post position. I can’t see any horses that will cross over on him, be able to establish their position preferably without ever getting a grain of sand in his face.

ANDY SERLING: You have a lot of experience in this race as well as riding at Belmont. Do you feel like that might give you a bit of an advantage in this situation, Kent?

KENT DESORMEAUX: I do actually. I think it holds true to Preakness, going back to that, and just understanding the course. Looking over the team of riders in this race, though, I think they’ve all ridden at Belmont Park, including the Japanese contingencies.

ANDY SERLING: Now, as far as the race at a mile and a half and Exaggerator’s style, where do you see yourself placed during the running of race? Because there are quite a few deep closers, perhaps slower earlier than your horse.

KENT DESORMEAUX: I’d hate to predict a position. My brother and I’s philosophy is absolutely never to leave the Jock’s Room with that idea. Going to let Exaggerator get comfortable. Wherever that is is where it’s going to be.

If I could have a dream run, I know with the human element involved, us jockeys know it’s a long way. So they’ll probably all be trying to slow down. I find him — I dream him forwardly placed and just being able, dreamingly, to decide when to pull the trigger.

ANDY SERLING: Well, you certainly pulled the trigger well at the Preakness. Matt, what has this run been for you leading up to the Triple Crown, the two Triple Crown races? How has it been for you?

MATT BRYAN: Well, it’s been a true blessing. I mean, this is unbelievable to be in the business for four years and be able to say that we ran all three legs of the Triple Crown. Only being in it four years, being on our budget that we’re doing it on is pretty amazing, and we’re just very blessed to have both Keith and Kent. You know, it starts with Keith and finishes with Kent.

But it’s just been a great run. Ronny and I were talking, walking over here, and we were amazed that — we kind of pinched ourself. It’s kind of like a movie, and you don’t want it to end, to be honest with you.

ANDY SERLING: I’d like to ask both of you separately, but Exaggerator is a horse who’s run on many different race tracks around the country. Do you gentlemen feel it’s somewhat to his advantage coming to Belmont even though he’s never raced here before?

MATT BRYAN: Yeah, I think it — I think it does take — it comes to an advantage because — you know, he won the Saratoga Special. We shipped him in three days before from Del Mar. So he travels well. He’s just a really special horse.

Not only does — we always talk about this recovery very quickly, but we talk about how good he travels. He just really adapts to any situation as long as he’s got his groom and hot walker and Julie Clark and the team around him. We’ve really, really been blessed in that. This horse, it’s kind of surprising that we’re the favorite. I mean, not surprising, but it’s kind of a little nerve-racking to be the favorite.

ANDY SERLING: Sometimes it’s easier to be a long shot. Gentlemen, wish you the best of luck. Thank you so much for joining us.

WinStar Farm is represented by two horses in this Belmont Stakes, the more speedy Gettysburg as well as a bigger closer in this race, who is the one who is attracting much, much more attention, Creator, who came from last to win the Arkansas Derby.

NYRA board member Bobby Flay is here as part of the group that owns these horses. Bobby is going to come up and talk to us a bit about Creator and for this year’s Belmont Stakes.

Bobby, are you excited to be part of this Belmont Stakes, being a New Yorker and all?

BOBBY FLAY: You know, I totally am. I’ve never run in the Belmont Stakes before. As you said, being a native New Yorker, this has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I said to Brad Weisbord, I said, you know what, I want to run in the Belmont this year. What’s possible? Just a few weeks ago actually.

And just so happy to be partners with WinStar Farm. Those guys are such an amazing racing and stallion farm and could not be happier.

I actually bet Creator in the Derby.

ANDY SERLING: I’m sorry.

BOBBY FLAY: That’s okay.

ANDY SERLING: I had a loser too.

BOBBY FLAY: He had a rough trip, but he’s had five weeks off. I went out and saw him on Monday. This is a total thrill for me.

ANDY SERLING: He’s a deep closer, as this field is so much filled with deep closers. And Gettysburg is also being run. He could help, obviously, Creator. He may help other horses in the race as well.

BOBBY FLAY: That’s the thing. One thing for sure is I know where Creator’s going to be when the race starts. He’s going to be easy to find because he’s going to be way back.

But, listen, he has that incredible turn of foot. If you watched him in the Arkansas Derby, I mean, having a horse that runs from behind that just all of a sudden sort of hits the gas around the far turn, when that moment happens, I mean, it’s an exhilarating moment. So I’m going to have about 15 or 16 people with me, and hopefully we’re going to fill up the Winner’s Circle.

ANDY SERLING: We certainly hope so. We hope his running style at a mile and a half works well for him. He seems to be a horse that’s improving at the right time, as they say. Obviously, his Derby wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible, and perhaps he can move forward.

BOBBY FLAY: He just broke his maiden in February. In horse racing, you’re always looking for horses that have potential. Potential is really important because you have hope for the future. He won the Arkansas Derby. He’s already a Grade 1 winner. He’s by Tapit. He’s a beautiful horse. He’s going to be a stallion for sure. Now we’re just trying to put the cherry on top. So the Belmont Stakes would be — that would be a fun moment.

ANDY SERLING: Bobby, we wish you the best of luck. Thanks a lot for coming up.

BOBBY FLAY: Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

ANDY SERLING: The connections of Lani have traveled worldwide with this horse, starting their quest in Dubai at Meydan, where they qualified for the Kentucky Derby. They’re the only horse besides Exaggerator that’s participating in all three of the races. Keita Tanaka, who is the racing manager for Lani, as well as the trainer, Mikio Matsunaga, very pleased to have these gentlemen join us for Lani.

I have to ask you about your post position. Lani drew post position No. 10. Is that okay?

MIKIO MATSUNAGA: I’m very happy with No. 10.

ANDY SERLING: The distance of a mile and a half, do you feel that suits Lani as much, if not maybe better, than the other Triple Crown races?

MIKIO MATSUNAGA: To be honest, Belmont Stakes has been the main target since we came here to the U.S. So I’m very much looking forward to this weekend.

ANDY SERLING: And am I correct that he has been training at Belmont since the Kentucky Derby?

MIKIO MATSUNAGA: We have been doing the same as what we are doing back home in Japan. So he is ideally fit enough.

ANDY SERLING: And he’s been a horse who at times has got some attention for the way he’s behaved. Do you feel he’s been acclimating much better to this country?

MIKIO MATSUNAGA: At this moment, he is okay.

ANDY SERLING: We hope that moment continues through the Belmont Stakes. Gentlemen, the best of luck. Thank you for joining us.

MIKIO MATSUNAGA: Thank you.

ANDY SERLING: Suddenbreakingnews is a deep closer as are quite a few horses in this race. Suddenbreakingnews was probably the horse who was running the best late in the Kentucky Derby. His connections chose to skip the Preakness, to point to the Belmont Stakes, and we’re very pleased that the owner, Sonny Henderson, is here, and he’s going to join us for a few moments. Suddenbreakingnews’ owner Sonny Henderson.

I have to ask you how do you feel about your post draw?

SONNY HENDERSON: I feel great. I like that 4 race post. It doesn’t make any difference. You either go left or right, about a mile down there.

ANDY SERLING: Now, the mile and a half, obviously, a big question. Do you feel that, with his style, that a mile and a half suits him very well?

SONNY HENDERSON: I think that a mile or a mile and a half or over fits him like a glove.

ANDY SERLING: How long has he been in New York training for the race? He just got here yesterday?

SONNY HENDERSON: He just got here. We flew him in yesterday.

ANDY SERLING: And his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel, is in New York as well?

SONNY HENDERSON: Yes.

ANDY SERLING: He thinks all things are going well?

SONNY HENDERSON: I think so. Sounds like it.

ANDY SERLING: A man of few words. We wish you the best of luck, Sonny. Thank you, sir.

Governor Malibu is trying to become the first New York-bred apparently since the late 1800s. And Governor Malibu comes into this Belmont Stakes with a prep over the Belmont track, where he finished a very good second to an up and coming 3-year-old named Unified. The connections of Governor Malibu at Jump Sucker Stable and Oak Bluff Stable. We’re very happy to have a couple of people from the connections, Richard Leahy as well as George Walker, here, and they’re going to come up, and we’ll talk about Governor Malibu.

Thank you for coming, guys. What about your post position? How do you feel?

RICHARD LEAHY: It’s up to Governor Malibu and Joel.

ANDY SERLING: You can disagree, George, if you want.

GEORGE WALKER: No, I concur.

ANDY SERLING: The decision to go from the Peter Pan where you finished a fast-closing second to Unified, are you thinking the mile and a half is maybe a good chance to try it?

GEORGE WALKER: He’s finished strong in each of his races. He’s getting stronger. We feel incredibly fortunate to be working with Christophe Clement and his extraordinary team. So we’re eager to give it a shot.

ANDY SERLING: Christophe, of course, upset California Chrome with Tonalist two years ago, and Tonalist was coming off a win in the Peter Pan. I assume — and you can speak for him. He’s not here, so say whatever you like.

GEORGE WALKER: His wife and his daughter are here.

ANDY SERLING: Valerie and Charlotte will take your side in this argument. You’re the owners. You’re paying the bills. He feels this could work out well for him, I assume?

GEORGE WALKER: Yes. We’re hopeful. Great trainer who’s done it before, great jockey who’s done it before, improving horse. It would be fun to have a New York-bred win again. It was 1882, the year that electricity came to Manhattan. It feels like it’s about time.

ANDY SERLING: Wow. Well, guys, thanks a lot. Enjoy the day Saturday and best of luck.

GEORGE WALKER: Thank you.

RICHARD LEAHY: Thank you.

ANDY SERLING: That concludes the drawing for the 148th Belmont Stakes, brought to you by NYRA Bets. I want to thank everybody for coming, everybody that helped participate in the event. We’re looking forward to a very big day Saturday, a tremendous day of racing. We hope everybody comes out and joins us, and we know you’ll have a great time. Thanks a lot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Lani’s connections & Belmont Stakes trophies photos courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography