Belmont Breeze for Creator
By Dick Downey
Updated 12:42 p.m. ET
Belmont Stakes-bound Creator put in his second workout since the Kentucky Derby on Memorial Day at Churchill Downs.
Seven days after breezing five furlongs in 1:02.00, the Steve Asmussen trainee worked the same time today in company with Gold Hawk. Fractions were 13.00 and 37.80, and Creator galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.00 and seven in 128.80. The move was ranked 19th of 27 at the distance.
Although Florent Geroux handled the workout, Irad Ortiz, Jr. has been named as his new rider, replacing Ricardo Santana, Jr.
The son of Tapit is expected to ship to New York on Tuesday.
Creator, closing winner of the Arkansas Derby, finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby after encountering trouble in the far turn and entering the stretch. He was 18th after the first half-mile. The chart call for the Derby says, "Creator was in close soon after the start, saved ground well off the early pace, commenced a run into the far turn, angled out near the five-sixteenths pole, checked sharply nearing quarter pole, bumped soundly with Oscar Nominated entering the stretch, recovered to some extent and kept on."
“He felt really good,” Geroux said. “That was my first time on his back. It was a steady work; nothing crazy, but it was nice and steady and he felt very good.”
“We wanted to keep him in a nice long rhythm,” Asmussen said. “The Belmont on his agenda obviously, so staying is going to come into play. I thought that he put in a nice, smooth work today and galloped out really well. I think that his weight has rebounded nicely since the Derby and we plan on sending him up to Belmont tomorrow. That will give us a shot to get a little look of the Belmont racetrack and hope for the best.
“You get a lot of comfort from his pedigree and how much stay is in his pedigree,” Asmussen said. “He is a very efficient horse. I’m just a little concerned right now with the possible pace scenario with this year’s Belmont. He’s a really nice horse. I think we’ve seen his attitude has improved and his energy level is very high right now. We’re excited about this prospect for the Belmont.
“I think for us the race is from Point A to Point B and you have to do what’s right for the individual. The lack of pace is a concern or the possibility of it. Sometimes a lack of pace on paper sets it up.”
Asmussen said he felt good about Creator before the Kentucky Derby.
“I liked his chances in the Derby, it’s just that the trip didn’t work out,” Asmussen said. “I think when horses are this well matched, being good enough is one of the scenarios, but how the racetrack sets up and how the pace sets up have to be favorable to us as well.”
As for the jockey switch, Asmussen said, “Belmont Park is a unique place so we couldn’t do any better for somebody who knows the racetrack better than Irad."