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Derby winner Rich Strike faces another stiff test in Belmont | Sports

After such a lot of issues went proper for Rich Strike to win the Kentucky Derby, he’ll most probably want much more excellent fortune on the Belmont Stakes with such a lot stacked towards him.

Rich Strike received’t move off at odds of greater than 80-1 this time, however even after bypassing the Preakness to run within the ultimate leg of the Triple Crown, he’s no longer anticipated to be the pony to overcome within the box of 8. That difference belongs to 2-1 morning line favourite We the People, a newcomer to the Triple Crown path who may just set the tempo within the 1 1/2-mile race and thrive if it rains in New York on Saturday.

If it’s a rainy observe very similar to We the People’s romp to victory within the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park remaining month, teacher Mark Casse doesn’t like any individual else’s possibilities.

“We’re all going to be running for second, even the Derby winner,” stated Casse, who’s set to saddle Golden Glider within the Belmont. Golden Glider completed a far off 2nd to We the People within the Peter Pan on May 14.

Rich Strike ran previous 19 different horses in stunning type on May 7 to grow to be the second one greatest lengthy shot to win the Derby. Even that took myriad elements to occur: sharp coaching at Churchill Downs the week ahead of, the withdrawal of Ethereal Road to get into the sector, a sizzling tempo, the easiest go back and forth and the type of acceleration he had by no means proven ahead of in a race.

“Is that his lifetime best? I don’t know,” retired jockey Jerry Bailey stated. “History will only tell us that. But I think he’s going to have to run better than that, actually, to win.”

That’s partially as a result of horses don’t generally run as rapid early within the longer Belmont, which is referred to as the “test of a champion.” The 154th version of the race is especially shaping up for a plodding tempo with We the People having a look like the one pace horse going up towards Rich Strike and 6 different closers on a large, sandy observe that doesn’t generally tend to choose overdue fees.

“The mile and a half is just an entirely different race,” stated Casse, who received the Belmont 3 years in the past with Sir Winston. “You don’t want to be too far away.”

The onus for that’s on jockeys, and maximum notable Rich Strike’s Sonny Leon, whose navigation via site visitors on the Derby will move down as one of the crucial best possible rides within the historical past of the game.

“We never expected to get the trip we got because to pass 19 horses is asking an awful lot,” teacher Eric Reed stated this week. “Hats off to him. That’s one of the best rides ever.”

But Leon hasn’t ever ridden at Belmont Park ahead of and isn’t scheduled for a mount at the primary, filth observe ahead of getting aboard Rich Strike within the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

Having observed Calvin Borel on the most sensible of his recreation in 2009 misjudge when to make his transfer with Derby winner Mine That Bird and different jockeys make expensive errors on this race, Bailey believes it’s a large job for Leon to adopt.

“He’s got a lot to think about,” stated Bailey, who’s now an NBC Sports analyst. “The Belmont’s different because you can actually affect the trip you get. In the Derby, they just outran him, so he just played the hand that was dealt to him. He can pretty much be in control of his own hand if he chooses to be because he’s not going to be nearly as far back, so he’s going to have to decide where he wants his horse early in the race and then when it comes time to move, when he actually moves, based upon how fast — or in this case maybe how slow they’ve been going.”

It appears to be a gradual move. Among the others within the race, together with Derby horses Mo Donegal and Barber Road, two again from the Preakness in Creative Minister and Skippylongstocking and filly Nest, there’s a loss of early pace.

That seems to arrange completely for We the People to move twine to twine if jockey Flavien Prat can keep an eye on the race.

“Flavien Prat, does he slow the pace down as much as he can and then try and have so much left at the end they’ll never catch him?” Bailey stated. “Does he try and spread the race out somewhere in the middle and get a cushion? A lot of it is going to depend on how Flavien decides to run the race.”

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