BELMONT: Sizing up the field for final leg of Triple Crown

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NEW YORK (AP) Preakness winner Exaggerator is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 13 3-year-olds for the 148th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. A look at how the field shapes up for Saturday’s final leg of the Triple Crown (horses listed by post position, with trainer, jockey, analysis, morning-line odds):

1. GOVERNOR MALIBU (Christophe Clement, Joel Rosario): Peter Pan runner-up should not be forgotten … In 2014, Clement and Rosario teamed up to win Peter Pan and the Belmont, spoiling California Chrome’s Triple try with Tonalist … Colt has finished in top 3 in all seven career starts … Odds: 12-1.

2. DESTIN (Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano): A respectable sixth in Derby, skipped Preakness … One of few who could be near lead early on if top rider Castellano chooses … Pletcher seeking third Belmont win. … Odds: 6-1.

3. CHERRY WINE (Dale Romans, Corey Lanerie): Made impressive stretch run to nip Derby winner Nyquist for second in Preakness … One of two Romans horses that likes to make huge late run, but plans are to be not so far back this time … Odds: 8-1.

4. SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (Donnie Von Hemel, Mike Smith): Could be on verge of breakthrough win … Trainer believes longer distance is asset for closer who ran fifth in the 1 1/4-mile Derby, and second in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby … Jockey change to Hall of Famer with two Belmont wins … Odds: 10-1.

5. STRADIVARI: (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Rugged start in Preakness in stakes debut, but otherwise ran well in finishing fourth … Could be an early pacesetter, and dictate strategy if Gettysburg doesn’t make grade … Odds: 5-1.

6. GETTYSBURG (Steve Asmussen, Paco Lopez): Speedy colt was late entry by WinStar Farm to help pick up early slow pace that could work against closers such as Creator and Exaggerator, both WinStar connections. Farm even shifted trainers from Pletcher to Asmussen … Entry should ensure quicker pace in 1 1/2-mile race, but little chance to win … Odds: 30-1.

7. SEEKING THE SOUL (Dallas Stewart, Florent Geroux): With this maiden winner and his other one, Forever d’Oro, owner Charles Fipke searching for diamond in rough … Hard to get worked up over either of these colts … Odds: 30-1.

8. FOREVER D’ORO (Dallas Stewart, Jose Ortiz): Broke maiden in third career start at Belmont on May 29 … If nothing else, there’s distance pedigree that could be on his side … Odds: 30-1.

9. TROJAN NATION (Paddy Gallagher, Aaron Gryder): Why not? Despite finishing nearly 27 lengths behind Nyquist in Derby, he did finish second in Wood at odds of 81-1 … Next win would be his first … Odds: 30-1.

10. LANI (Mikio Matsunaga, Yutaka Take): 11th in Derby, sixth in Preakness, is there a top 3 finish for gray colt before heading back to Japan? … Trainer says colt is as relaxed and training as well as possible at Belmont … Still hard to see him challenging, but crazier things have happened … Odds: 20-1.

11. EXAGGERTAOR (Keith Desormeaux, Kent Desormeaux): Deserving favorite seemingly getting better with each race … Won Preakness with strong stretch run in the slop after running second to Nyquist in Derby … Wet track would be an advantage … Odds: 9-5.

12. BRODY’S CAUSE (Dale Romans, Luis Saez): Despite seventh-place Derby finish, Romans not disappointed with effort … Skipped Preakness … If slow pace develops, look for come-from-behind colt to be closer to lead than usual … beat Exaggerator in Breeders’ Futurity last year … Odds: 20-1.

13. CREATOR (Steve Asmussen, Irad Ortiz, Jr.): Jockey change to one of nation’s top riders also familiar with Belmont could help. … Won Arkansas Derby but ran troubled 13th in Derby under Ricardo Santana … Yet another closer who could make this finish an interesting one … Celebrity chef Bobby Flay became part owner on Wednesday … Odds: 10-1.

PICKS: Creator, Exaggerator, Stradivari.

Follow Richard Rosenblatt on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/rosenblattap

Baffert hoping Arrogate gives him third Dubai World Cup win

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Having taken over the mantle as the world’s best racehorse from California Chrome, Arrogate will attempt on Saturday to wear another crown that last fitted his illustrious American compatriot, the Dubai World Cup.

All eyes are on the 4-year-old Arrogate, who lost on debut 11 months ago but hasn’t lost since.

He’s won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup this year to stretch his unbeaten streak to six. In both races, Arrogate defeated Chrome, who won the Dubai World Cup last year at Meydan Racecourse by five lengths despite jockey Victor Espinoza hanging on to a loose saddle for most of it.

Under jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate has forged a winning combination in his last three Group 1 races: Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.

In Dubai, they have drawn stall nine among 14 contenders, a position which fails to douse the confidence of his trainer Bob Baffert.

“Nine is fine,” said Baffert, who also trained 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“He’s settled in pretty well. As long as he shows up, that’s the key. If he runs his race, we know what he can do.”

Smith was all praise for his mount, ranked the No. 1 racehorse in the world.

“I have been blessed with some really, really good horses, but I am not sure I have ever sit on one like this,” Smith said.

“Everything about him, his disposition, his mechanics, the way he gets over the ground … at times you feel as if you are running downhill instead of a level ground. What amazes me most is when the race is over, it looks as if he did not put much effort into it. His recovery time is so quick.”

Arrogate’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup wins came over 2,000 meters on dirt, the same distance and conditions as the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Baffert hopes Arrogate can give him a third Dubai World Cup victory after Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001).

He suffered a heart attack during his last visit to Dubai in 2012, and watched the World Cup five nights later with stents in two of his blocked arteries. He also watched from even farther afield last year as his other horse, Hoppertunity, finished third behind Chrome and Mike de Kock’s Mubtaahij.

He’s giving Hoppertunity another chance.

“Both my horses are happy and healthy,” Baffert said. “He (Hoppertunity) should be collecting a check again. That is what he does, picks up the pieces in these big races. He reminds me of Pac-Man, he just keeps going. A Dubai World Cup 1-2, that would be something.”

Mubtaahij is also back, although he will start under Christophe Soumillon from the widest of stalls.

“Like everyone, we wanted low,” the Belgian jockey said. “I will have to … hope for some luck.”

The Dubai World Cup features a nine-race card offering $30 million across six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on turf and dirt.

Six three-year-olds nominated late to Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.

The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.

Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.

Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.