Antley's thinking, Charismatic's will ease fear, sadness

Relieved injury not worse, owners again realize difficulty of winning Crown

June 06, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Back at D. Wayne Lukas' barn after the Belmont, the trainer, jockey and owners of Charismatic congregated as the colt stood in his stall, a compression cast on his broken right front ankle.

Jockey Chris Antley cried and hugged Bob Lewis, who owns Charismatic with his wife, Beverly.

"I'm a crying son of a gun," Antley said.

"I'm kind of a weeping willow myself," Lewis said.

Lewis thanked Antley for jumping off the horse as soon as possible after the injury.

"Thank God we had Chris Antley on that horse," Lewis said. "That way he bailed off, he probably saved the horse from some very, very serious further damage."

Continued Lewis: "We're devastated by what has happened. This is the very thing that we all deplore. It's something we all do not want to have happen in this great sport, those of us who love it like we do.

"Many people would call me foolish for saying so, but I tell you he is just an iron horse. We've had an absolutely unbelievable trip over the last few months."

The Lewises lost the Triple Crown two years ago with Silver Charm when Touch Gold caught him in the final strides of the Belmont.

"It just doesn't seem right, or it just doesn't seem possible to have the elation of winning the Kentucky Derby and come back and win the Preakness so commandingly," Lewis said.

"Somewhere along the line doesn't it tell us all that the Triple Crown is as tough as any championship or any great award that can be given in any sport?"

Tough going for fillies

Silverbulletday's seventh-place finish in the Belmont was the final insult to fillies in this year's Triple Crown series.

In the Kentucky Derby, Three Ring finished 19th (last) and Excellent Meeting fifth after a rough trip. In the Preakness, Excellent Meeting didn't even complete the race. She was eased well before the finish line.

Bob Baffert trains Excellent Meeting and Silverbulletday. He also trained Silver Charm and Real Quiet, who lost a Triple Crown the past two years by narrowing losing the Belmont.

"The filly [Silverbulletday), she can't be bounced around," Baffert said. "Our only chance was go out there and dictate the pace.

"If she could have slowed them down, gotten [a half-mile] in 49 and change, she'd have had something left to kick home with. But when they turned for home after a mile in 1: 36, they were just tired, especially after hooking up like that.

"I thought [Antley on Charismatic] would be the last one up there pressing the pace. He would not let her take a breather. I just thank God my filly came back good."

After she turned for home, her jockey, Jerry Bailey, eased up on her, realizing the contested pace and 1 1/2 miles was too much.

"Thank God she can't talk, or she'd be yelling and screaming at me," Baffert said. "But I'm going to give her a lot of love and kisses, and she is not going to run for a while."

Long shot comes close

Bill Mott, trainer of runner-up Vision and Verse, was pleased with the near-winning effort of his 54-1 long shot. The Storm Cat colt earned his way into the Belmont with a strong victory in the Illinois Derby.

"He was doing super coming into the race, and the race unfolded nicely for him," Mott said. "He was dead game in the stretch. I thought we were going to get there."

The undercard

On the Belmont undercard, Yagli swept to the lead in deep stretch to win the Grade I $300,000 Manhattan Handicap. He prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths over Federal Trial, who rallied for second. Another neck back was Middlesex, who settled for third.

Yagli covered the 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1 minute, 58 2/5 seconds. For his jockey, Bailey, the win was his fourth of the day. Yagli paid $4.30 to win. He had not raced since early February.

In the Grade II $150,000 True North Handicap, the 26-1 Kashatreya overtook favored Artax in the stretch. The winner paid $55 to win. His time for six furlongs was 1 minute, 9 3/5 seconds. Artax finished second, and The Trader's Echo third. Punch Line finished seventh.

After winning the Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico (and avoiding the intruder on the track), Yes It's True captured the Grade II $150,000 Riva Ridge Stakes by one length. He covered the seven furlongs in 1 minute, 22 1/5 seconds and paid $3.50 to win. The 24-1 Lion Hearted finished second, the 28-1 Silver Season third and the 16-1 Millions fourth.

In the Grade III $157,700 Just A Game Breeders' Cup, Cozy Blues rallied from far back to win by a nose over U R Unforgetable. The winner returned $21.40 to win and completed the one mile on turf in 1 minute, 33 1/5 seconds.

The favorite Pleasant Temper finished fourth.

Long shots

Highest payoffs for winners of the Belmont Stakes since 1940 for $2 mutuel bets:

Winner ------------------ Year ---------- Payoff

Sherluck ---------------- 1961 ----------- $132.10

Temperance Hill ---- 1980 ----------- $108.80

Pass Catcher --------- 1971 ----------- $71.00

Lemon Drop Kid ----- 1999 ----------- $61.50

Bounding Home ----- 1944 ----------- $34.70

Pub Date: 6/06/99

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