Charismatic works up a head of steam

Pre-race pace picks up

Menifee worries Lukas

Belmont notebook

June 04, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Seeking to become the 12th horse to win a Triple Crown, Charismatic jogged a mile and then galloped a mile yesterday on his first full day at Belmont Park.

He stepped onto the track at 5: 30 a.m., as soon as it opened. He walked off uncharacteristically soaked with sweat.

"He got a little bit more on the muscle than he has been," said D. Wayne Lukas, his trainer. "But there's a lot of activity around here."

Lukas also led Charismatic through the paddock so the colt could begin getting accustomed to the pre-race saddling area. Lukas said he will do that again today.

Although Charismatic must defeat 11 horses to earn his cherished place in history, the trainer acknowledged that Menifee may be the toughest competitor. Menifee finished second to Charismatic in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

"It's easy to sit here and be optimistic because you beat him twice," Lukas said. "But there is something about that last bump in the road that's a little bit harder than the other two.

"You get a new surface, a new configuration of racetrack. There are a lot of things to overcome."

Faith in `Lemon Drop'

If you believe in Lemon Drop Kid, his price in the Belmont will be right. He is 20-1 in the morning line, and he might go higher by post time.

His owners have not given up on him. They are Jinny Vance and Laddie Dance, who own Taylor's Purchase Farm near Sparks.

And his trainer has not given up on him. He is Scotty Schulhofer, the Hall of Famer who won the Belmont in 1993 with Colonial Affair.

"You can't keep making that many excuses," Schulhofer said. "Sooner or later, you have to put up or shut up. But if he can beat Charismatic, he can win."

He has won only three of 10 races, but he's had excuses. Also, although all horses turn one year older Jan. 1, Lemon Drop Kid actually turned 3 just one week ago.

`Luck' loosens up

Best of Luck worked four furlongs in 49 3/5 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1 minute, 2 seconds yesterday at Belmont Park.

"I'd have liked him to go a little faster, but he seems to be doing OK," said Allen Jerkens, his trainer. "He's had three or four races around two turns. He should be at the top of his game right now."

2 of 3 for `Gigalo'

Popular Gigalo captured the third leg of the steeplechase Triple Crown yesterday at Belmont Park, winning the 2 1/4-mile Meadow Brook Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths with a furious late rally.

Ridden by Chip Miller and trained by F. Bruce Miller, the 5-year-old Florida-bred paid $11.20 to win. Spring Salute, a Maryland-bred, finished second, and Approaching Squall, trained by Tom Voss and ridden by Jonathan Kiser, finished third.

Popular Gigalo won the first leg of the series five weeks ago at Churchill Downs, then skipped the second leg at Pimlico.

Pub Date: 6/04/99

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