Belmont holds line on draw, rejecting two-stage procedure

Tradition upheld in stakes

`Seattle' pullout leaves 10

Horse Racing

June 07, 2000|By NEWSDAY

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association has decided to employ the traditional method today to determine post positions for Saturday's 132nd Belmont Stakes.

Unlike the two-stage, made-for-television method used at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness, a simple draw will suffice for the third leg of the Triple Crown.

A field of 10 is expected after yesterday's withdrawal of Chief Seattle, who has not started since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November. He was sold after that race to Godolphin Racing and sent to Dubai.

He was shipped to Kentucky with stablemates China Visit and Curule for the Derby, but arrived ill and was not entered.

Although Eric Coatrieux, who oversees the Godolphin horses in New York, said Chief Seattle has trained well at Belmont, he has the distinction of having been withdrawn from two legs of the Triple Crown.

Tom Albertrani, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, was unhappy yesterday with Chief Seattle's seven-furlong workout in a dawdling 1:27.2.

"Chief Seattle didn't finish as well as we would have liked," Albertrani said. "The Belmont probably would have been a little hard on him."

NOTES: A plane that delivered Belmont contender Unshaded from Louisville to New York Tuesday also carried a strong contingent of Churchill Downs-based horses who will run in stakes this weekend.

If the Belmont has lost its luster, the supporting races are quite good.

On the flight: Rich Coins, an undefeated 2-year-old here for the Flash Stakes; Ecton Park, who will meet Running Stag in Sunday's Brooklyn Handicap; Roxelena, an undefeated 3-year-old filly who will run in Friday's Acorn Stakes, and Storm's Path, winner of his last three and here for Saturday's Riva Ridge.

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