By Dick Downey
With entries closing tomorrow and all the major work done for the Belmont Stakes, minutiae starts creeping into the daily reports about the Belmont Stakes. Some things could be meaningful, some not, but here we go.
NYRA tweeted this morning that Ravelo's Boy has arrived from Florida and is the first horse to be housed in the newly-opened stakes, i.e., detention barn. The Manny Azpura trainee rolled in at about 7:00 a.m. ET. He'll be ridden by Alex Solis in the Belmont.
Trainer Doug O'Neill has been saying for days that he wanted to get I'll Have Another moved to the stakes barn as soon as possible. Monday was his target. But, as Jerry Bossert of the New York Daily News has reported, the barn wasn't ready by then. Good old NYRA strikes again.
Now that the barn IS open, David Grening tweets that O'Neill has a media obligation in Manhattan today, and so I'll Have Another won't be moved until Wednesday. O'Neill said he wants to be at the track during the transfer, according to Grening, so there will be another delay. Noon on Wednesday is the deadline.
Further, Grening reported that Lava Man will not be housed in the stakes barn with I'll Have Another, O'Neill saying he's concerned Lava Man will not adapt well to the new environment. The gelding has been I'll Have Another's constant companion for months.
Grening, who's had his eyes on I'll Have Another since he arrived at Belmont Park a couple of weeks ago, said the Derby-Preakness winner was a little later than usual switching leads in his Tuesday morning gallop. I'll Have Another went in :54.52 from the quarter pole to the 10-furlong pole, which would be slower than most other days.
Meanwhile, various tweets reported that Mario Gutierrez arrived at Belmont Park and hooked up with O'Neill and other members of the team. Gutierrez will ride at the track for the first time in his career on Friday, including a mount in the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Handicap.
JayPrivman tweeted, "Dullahan looked super this morning. Strong gallop." Others echoed this thought.
Jude Feld of HRRN reported via Twitter that Street Life "seemed to struggle a bit" through his gallop" and that "Atigun trained well. Nice looking beast."
Ed DeRosa lamented, "Some will attribute lack of Belmont buzz to 'no one cares about racing' but maybe it's because so few are actually writing about the race." We plead not guilty to that one.