Belmont looks better for Silverbulletday

Six-furlong workout in 1: 10 4/5 has Baffert leaning toward race

May 26, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

After Silverbulletday scorched Churchill Downs in a morning workout, her trainer, Bob Baffert, said yesterday that he has begun leaning toward running the filly in the Belmont Stakes.

"We're out of it until we say we're in," Baffert said. "But it's looking better."

Silverbulletday worked six furlongs (three-quarters of a mile) in a sizzling 1 minute, 10 4/5 seconds. By contrast, Charismatic, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, worked the same distance over the same track in 1: 16 2/5.

Baffert acknowledged that Silverbulletday ran faster than he would have liked. And D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Charismatic, said his colt worked typically slow.

"He kind of went around there the same speed the whole way," Lukas said. "He's not going to shake the trees in the morning. I'm not concerned. He's on top of his game."

Charismatic will attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 when he competes June 5 in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Silverbulletday could be a formidable challenger -- if Baffert and the filly's owner, Mike Pegram, decide to run her.

"It's put up or shut up time," Pegram told a reporter from the Louisville Courier-Journal. "You have Charismatic, and we know we've got the best filly. So I do have a desire to run the best against the best and see who it is."

Silverbulletday has won 11 of 12 races, including eight in a row. But she has never raced against males. She was entered in the Preakness but withdrawn due to an outside post position.

Jockey Willie Martinez rode her during yesterday's workout. Baffert usually communicates with his morning riders by walkie-talkie, but he sent Martinez to the track without one.

"I knew she was going a little too fast for me," Baffert said. "But there was nothing I could do about it. I just sat back and watched it. She needed something like that if she's going to run [in the Belmont]."

Baffert said he would decide after the filly's next workout, Monday or Tuesday at Churchill Downs.

In other Belmont news, Menifee, the Derby and Preakness runner-up, worked a half-mile in 48 seconds at Churchill Downs. He will ship today to Belmont Park. Menifee's trainer, Elliott Walden, wants him to work once over the Belmont track, which he calls "the big sandy."

Pineaff worked five furlongs in 1: 03 3/5 at Churchill Downs, and Patience Game worked a half-mile in 46 2/5 at Belmont.

The connections of 11 horses are preparing them for the Belmont: Adonis, Best of Luck, Charismatic, Lemon Drop Kid, Menifee, Patience Game, Pineaff, Port Bayou, Prime Directive, Stephen Got Even and Vision and Verse. Possible entrants include Doneraile Court, Silverbulletday and Walk That Walk.

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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