The late addition of Gettysburg to the Belmont Stakes field appears anything but frivolous. Observers can take a different view, but I’ll give my take on his addition.
Trainer Steve Asmussen and owner WinStar Farm believe Creator can win the Belmont Stakes, but realized he needed some help. That’s where Gettysburg comes in.
The move came out of nowhere, with Gettysburg recording a weakening third in an entry-level allowance only 11 days prior to being added to the Belmont field on Monday. In order to do so, WinStar transferred the speedster from Todd Pletcher to Asmussen.
I think the move came about because of how Creator has come along in recent weeks, stamping himself as a serious contender in preparations.
A maiden winner in late February, Creator earned a Kentucky Derby berth when capturing the Arkansas Derby (G2) two starts later. He easily defeated Suddenbreakingnews at Oaklawn Park and registered a 100 BRIS Speed rating for the 1 ¼-length decision, making him one of the few horses in the Kentucky Derby field to register a triple-digit number at two turns.
Bred to relish longer distances on the dam side, the gray Tapit colt brought improving form but was still spotting plenty of seasoning to more experienced foes at Churchill Downs. He dropped too far back during the early stages and the Kentucky Derby was effectively over for him after experiencing severe trouble on the far turn.
Creator has recorded four works during the five-week interim and is eligible to keep moving forward after a hiccup last time. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. has been displaced for Irad Ortiz Jr., a leading rider at Belmont Park last year.
And WinStar has sold a share in Creator to Chef Bobby Flay, a member of the NYRA Board of Directors.
Connections are looking for a big race from Creator and I’m thinking along the same lines.
Picture courtesy of Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park