But Says It's Time to Put Up
David Fiske, who since 1980 has been Winchell Thoroughbreds' racing and bloodstock manager, came out to Churchill Downs to watch Preakness third-place finisher Tenfold train Monday morning. Tenfold had his usual gallop under exercise rider Angel Garcia.
"I think he looks as good or better than he did before the Preakness," Fiske said. "He's got a great attitude, just wandering around on a loose lead and seems happy to participate."
Fiske worked for Verne Winchell, the late founder of the international Winchell's Donuts chain, and now works for son Ron Winchell. He recalls making the walkover from the backside to the paddock with Verne Winchell's Classic Go Go for the 1981 Kentucky Derby. Classic Go Go finished fourth behind the triumphant Pleasant Colony as a member of the mutuel field that at the time was used to clump long shots together to get the race down to 12 betting interests.
Tenfold's defeat by a total of three-quarters of a length is the closest a Winchell-owned horse has been in a Triple Crown race, Fiske said.
"We were third with Gun Runner," he said of the 2016 Derby contender and 2017 Horse of the Year Winchell campaigned with Three Chimneys. "But he wasn't a homebred, and this horse is. And three-quarters of a length, that's pretty close."
Tenfold, who did not race as a 2-year-old, was making only his fourth lifetime start in the Preakness. Fiske said the close finish brought the mixed emotions of pride but also "wish we'd gotten one more race into him.
"But he's kind of a big, goofy guy. And now he's got the race in him. I guess it's put up or shut up time. I've been telling people there's no better-bred Belmont horse in the crop, so we'll see if breeding means anything."
Tenfold is a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin out of a broodmare sired by Tapit, the dad of three of the past four Belmont Stakes winners.
"He's a very good horse right now," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "He put everybody on notice of that in the Preakness, and I don't think the circumstances necessarily favored him, the way the racetrack was playing and everything. I think he showed his quality. I think we're just touching the surface of his talent, who he's going to be. He is developing more personality with the added pressure, and in a very good way, just a confident sense of direction, getting stronger, eats a little more aggressively. I think he's going to be a very exciting horse down the road, as well as 12 days from now.
"This is a horse who has raced four times. Every time you lay your eyes on him, he's a little stronger. I love the direction it's going."
Ricardo Santana Jr. will be aboard in the Belmont.
Vino Rosso, Noble Indy
Trainer Todd Pletcher reported Monday that all is well with Vino Rosso and Noble Indy after both of them worked Friday. Now, there's one more move before the Belmont.
"Ideally, Friday is the day we want to get it in," said Pletcher. "If the main track is fast, we will go on there."
Pletcher said Audible will be returning to Kentucky for a complete physical and some rest at WinStar Farm.
"Assuming nothing significant shows up, he'll be in training for either the Jim Dandy or the Haskell," he said.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, whose 14 victories in Triple Crown races is matched only by Baffert, said Preakness runner-up Bravazo could work as early as Wednesday.
"I'm going to check the weather for the next few days," Lukas said. "It could be Wednesday or Thursday. I'll play it by ear."
Bravazo had a routine 1 3/8-mile gallop under exercise rider Danielle Rosier, but because of the rising heat Lukas did not have them jog to the front side first before starting the gallop.
"I didn't want to go quite as far, although he did," Lukas said. "He was full of himself. He bucked and squealed when he was going by the grandstand. He jumped straight in the air and squealed, felt pretty good. I was going to go a mile but he didn't want to pull up. He's not easy to pull up. His energy is good, everything's good.
"The secret to training racehorses is to be able to read the horse, figure out what he needs or doesn't need. I'm just going day to day, reading him, looking at his energy level, the way he's traveling. He just did it with a lot of gusto. He was into it this morning. He's absolutely flourished this spring. Some 2-year-olds kind of hit a plateau and they stay the same, whereas some of them just get better every week."
Bolt d'Oro Blitzes Five for Met Mile
Ruis Racing's Bolt d'Oro put in his first workout since the Kentucky Derby, going five furlongs in 57 seconds flat in company with Orbit Rain Monday morning at Keeneland as he readies for a start in the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 9.
"I thought it was a really nice work," Ruis said. "It was faster than I thought he was going to go, but he did it so easy. He's doing really well. The time off between the Derby and the Preakness is really helping him out. Today, it was the first time I worked him with Orbit. I really didn't have many horses here from my main stable. He was only supposed to work a half, but they gave him five-eighths. I was really happy the way he did it and happy with the way he cooled out, like it was no big deal. He recovered nice right away after the work."
Ruis said Bolt d'Oro will put in one final half-mile breeze on Sunday before shipping to Belmont.
Edited NYRA release