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Charitable Man, Summer Bird, Dunkirk work for Belmont

ELMONT, N.Y. – It was a busy morning at Belmont Park for contenders for the 141st running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 6, with Charitable Man, Summer Bird, and Dunkirk all breezing on Belmont Park’s main track.

Charitable Man, winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes, went a half-mile in 47.88 under exercise rider Renzo Morales; Summer Bird, sixth in the Kentucky Derby, worked seven furlongs in 1:26.47 with Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado aboard, while Dunkirk, 11th in the Derby, went five furlongs in 1:00.77 in company with stablemate Munnings under former jockey and Hall of Famer Angel Cordero Jr.

“He went very smoothly,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin of Charitable Man, who is 3-for-3 on dirt and 2-for-2 at Belmont Park. “He went off a little quick, but that’s a good sign.”

The work was the second-fastest of 39 at the distance for Charitable Man, a son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, who will work again next Saturday as he preps for the 1½-mile “Test of the Champion.”

“It’s great to think he’s by Lemon Drop Kid, who won a mile and a half race here,” said McLaughlin, who saddled Jazil to victory in the 2006 Belmont Stakes. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the next two weeks. We’ve always had a lot of confidence in this colt; it’s a shame we weren’t ready for the first Saturday in May, but he’ll be ready for the first Saturday in June.

“It was great to see the Derby winner, Mine That Bird, come back and run so well against Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness,” he added. “Hopefully, they come here and run well and finish second and third behind Charitable Man.”

Summer Bird, the only horse to work seven-eighths over the main track, was caught in splits of :24 3/5 and :48 3/5 in his first work over the Belmont Park main track.

“I was happy with it,” trainer Tim Ice said of the son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone. “It looked like he wasn’t handling it 100 percent, but that’s why we’re here early, to let him get a feel for it. It looked like he was spinning his wheels a little bit through the lane, but he came back in great shape.”

Ice said Summer Bird, owned by Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman, will walk Sunday and return to the track on Monday.

Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Dunkirk had been scheduled to breeze Monday morning, but with an eye on the weather trainer Todd Pletcher “called an audible” and moved up the work.

“The forecast calls for a chance of rain tomorrow or Sunday, and I didn’t want to get into a situation where I was backed up,” said Pletcher. “This was his most important breeze leading up the Belmont.

“He went very well,” added Pletcher of the move, the seventh-fastest of 23 at the distance. “He’s a solid work horse. He’s enthusiastic, but not overly aggressive. Angel said he went very well and handled the surface well.”

Pletcher said Dunkirk, a son of Unbridled’s Song, would work again next Saturday or Sunday.

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito sent one of his three potential Belmont Stakes starters out for an easy breeze this morning at Saratoga Race Course’s Oklahoma training track.

Nowhere to Hide was clocked going a half-mile in 49.84. Stablemates Miner’s Escape and Brave Victory breezed on Thursday, May 21 in 48.56 and 48.52, respectively.

Da’Tara, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, also breezed at Saratoga this morning, going three furlongs in 38.23, breezing.


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