March 25, 2008 |
Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches was retired yesterday. The first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont went through a series of ailments. But she made it back to the races last Sept. 15, when she finished second in the Gazelle Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. It turned out to be the last race of her brief but brilliant career. The day after the race, it was discovered Rags to Riches had a hairline fracture of her right front pastern. The 3-year-old champion filly recently re-injured the pastern - an area between the ankle and the hoof.
June 10, 2007 |
Less than a head in front at the end, Rags to Riches didn't need any more to make thoroughbred history. For the first time in more than a century, the fastest horse in the Belmont Stakes was a female. Yesterday, Rags to Riches became only the third filly to win the longest of the Triple Crown races. As she blazed down Belmont Park's long homestretch, holding off Preakness winner Curlin, Rags to Riches achieved another feat: She is the biggest star in the sport, eclipsing all the boys.
June 9, 2007 |
For the third straight year, no Triple Crown is on the line in the Belmont Stakes, but a couple of horses have the opportunity to leave today's 139th running with a huge reputation if either gets to the wire first. If Curlin, barely into his fifth month as an active racehorse, follows up his smashing Preakness Stakes victory, all eyes in the sport will be on him. A similar fate would await Rags to Riches, trying to be the first filly since 1988 to win a Triple Crown race - since Winning Colors won the Kentucky Derby that year - and the first in over a century to win the Belmont.
June 13, 2005 |
The next stop for Afleet Alex could be the Jersey Shore. Unless trainer Tim Ritchey decides that running on the sand should be his next training technique, the Belmont Stakes champion won't feel the ocean breeze. But nearby Monmouth Park in Oceanport is his "most likely" next destination. Going home to Delaware Park isn't in the cards right now. The morning after Afleet Alex ran the fastest closing quarter-mile of the Belmont Stakes (24 2/5 seconds) since 1969, after his seven-length victory gave him two of the three legs of the Triple Crown, Ritchey reiterated that the colt would ease up on his training for a while, but he isn't off the racing trail.
June 11, 2005 |
They can't know the future, only that today's 137th Belmont Stakes will do a lot to determine it. If Afleet Alex wins today's 1 1/2-mile endurance test, the colt enters another category. He'll be up there with the big boys of the sport. Not in the pantheon, with the sport's 11 Triple Crown winners. But barely below it, in rarefied air. For the humans, life can change, too. A man wearing a denim shirt didn't just happen by Barn 5 at Belmont Park yesterday morning. That was the chief executive officer of a big Kentucky breeding operation, there to say a friendly, low-key hello, but presumably ready to open his checkbook.
June 9, 2005 |
The first time he ever saw Afleet Alex, Nick Zito wanted to buy him, after the colt's first race last June at Delaware Park. "The last time I saw a 2-year-old like that was Spectacular Bid," Zito said yesterday. "I saw they only paid $75,000 for him, so I asked [Delaware Park racing secretary] Sam Abbey to set up a meeting. Obviously, they weren't interested in selling, and rightfully so. " Yesterday Afleet Alex, the Preakness Stakes champion, was installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 137th Belmont Stakes.
July 24, 2004 |
Birdstone, who denied Smarty Jones the Triple Crown with his shocking come-from-behind victory in the June 5 Belmont Stakes, will make his first start back on Aug. 28 in the $1 million Travers Stakes. "The only shot I have of getting him to the Travers is to train him up to the race," trainer Nick Zito told Bloodhorse.com. "So, we'll just have to wait it out and get him in that cycle and try to pull it off. He has run some of his best races off layoffs. He proved that in the Belmont.
June 4, 2004 |
After all the police escorts and the helicopters overhead, after thousands showed up in the early morning at a track by the Pennsylvania Turnpike to watch this horse gallop for one lap, after eight perfect rides by his jockey, the one they called Stew Who in Kentucky, after opposing trainers gave up talking about ways to beat him and just started calling him a freak . . . tomorrow, Smarty Jones races for immortality. Of course, he's not merely racing for the Philadelphia area in the Belmont Stakes.
May 30, 2003 |
The Los Angeles Clippers' Elton Brand, New Jersey's Richard Jefferson and Nick Collison of the University of Kansas yesterday were named to the U.S. basketball team that will compete in this summer's Olympic qualifying tournament. Collison will be the only college player on the 12-man roster. The now-completed roster already included the 76ers' Allen Iverson, as well as Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Mike Bibby and Karl Malone. The United States finished sixth in last year's world championships in Indianapolis, forcing it to qualify for 2004.
June 9, 2001 |
Craig Donnelly's look at the three-year-olds in today's 133d running of the Belmont Stakes at 1 1/2 miles. The purse is $1 million, of which $600,000 goes to the winner. All runners carry 126 pounds. The field is listed in post position order. The number to the left is the horse's listing (betting number) in the program. The jockey is in parentheses. Early-line odds are at right. Post time: 6:04 p.m. Television: Channel 10. SELECTIONS: Balto Star, A P Valentine, Point Given 1. Invisible Ink (Velazquez)