Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert isn’t yet ready to say Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure will run in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.
Baffert said there were no signs of fatigue when National Treasure was examined Sunday morning, one day after the impressive Preakness performance.
“He didn’t run hard,” Baffert told reporters outside the barn at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. “He ran the last quarter (mile). They were just galloping around there. It wasn’t a really taxing race.”
Baffert said National Treasure is one of three horses he is considering for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, the longest of the three Triple Crown races. The others are Sir Barton champ Arabian Lion and Reincarnate.
“If I ran, definitely National Treasure would run in the Belmont,” Baffert said. “… Arabian Lion, I’m not sure if he’s up for the mile-and-a-half, but he did run a big race yesterday. I have until tomorrow to make these calls.”
Reincarnate is currently in California. Baffert said National Treasure and Arabian Lion will stay at Pimlico until the decision is made.
The Preakness victory was a record eighth for Baffert but it was not a day full of celebration and joy.
Baffert said he was mourning the loss of Havnameltdown, a horse who broke down in a Preakness undercard race and was euthanized on the track.
“It was nice to win the race, but to me it was a pretty sad day,” Baffert said. “We try our best, and these things happen. … It happens and you’re just in shock. It’s like, ‘How could that happen?’ It hurts. I’ll always remember this race as, ‘I lost a good horse.’
“My memory of this race is going to be about him. It just took all the fun out of it.”
–Field Level Media
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