First Four Belmont Stakes Finishers Raced During Champions Meet
Last Five Belmont Winners Raced at Gulfstream or Trained at Palm Meadows
Five Undercard Stakes Winners Wintered at Gulfstream, Palm Meadows
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s longstanding tradition of producing Triple Crown success was very much on display in Saturday’s 146th running of the Belmont Stakes (G1).
The top four finishers in Belmont Park’s “Test of the Champion,” in which California Chrome came up empty in his quest to sweep the Triple Crown, all campaigned during Gulfstream’s 2013-2014 Champions Meet, led by victorious Tonalist.
The Christophe Clement-trained Tonalist raced twice at Gulfstream, breaking his maiden in his second lifetime start on Jan. 18 before finishing second in an allowance behind Constitution, who went on to capture the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1).
Tonalist, who prepped for his Triple Crown campaign debut with a four-length triumph in the Peter Pan at Belmont, closely stalked the pace set by Commissioner before prevailing by a head over the Todd Pletcher-trained colt. Commissioner made his 3-year-old debut a winning one at Gulfstream on Jan. 3, holding off the highly regarded Top Billing by a neck before finishing sixth in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2).
Commissioner, who set the pace in the Belmont under reigning three-time Gulfstream champion Javier Castellano, finished a length clear of third-place finisher Medal Count, who was three-quarters of a length ahead of dead-heated fourth-place finishers Wicked Strong and California Chrome. The Dale Romans-trained Medal Count won an allowance over Gulfstream’s turf course on Jan. 12 before finishing fifth in the Fountain of Youth. The Jimmy Jerkens-trained Wicked Strong finished ninth in the Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25 and fourth in an allowance on Feb. 22 before going on to win the Wood Memorial (G1) and finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby.
Tonalist is the third straight Belmont Stakes champion that had raced at Gulfstream Park and the fifth straight winner of the third leg of the Triple Crown that had raced at Gulfstream or trained at Palm Meadows, its satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
The success of horses that wintered at Gulfstream and Palm Meadows was hardly restricted to the Belmont Stakes. Five undercard stakes at Belmont Park Saturday were won by horses that raced and/or trained at the Hallandale Beach track or its state-of-the-art training facility.
Palace Malice, who made a victorious 2014 debut in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on March 8, captured the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at the venue where he captured the 2013 Belmont Stakes.
Brian Lynch-trained Coffee Clique, who won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream in his 2014 debut on March 26, captured the Just a Game Stakes (G1). Shug McGaughey-trained Norumbega, who finished second in the Skip Away (G3) on March 29, closed late to win the Brooklyn Handicap (G2). Wesley Ward-trained Undrafted, who debuted this season with a third-place finish on the main track on Feb. 20, closed with a rush to win the Jaipur (G3) on turf. Real Solution, the winner of the Manhattan (G1), trained for leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey at Palm Meadows.