TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS
REMARKS: Alysheba, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and a victory away from becoming the 12th Triple Crown champion, won’t be the only starter in the Belmont Stakes on June 6 who scored his maiden victory at obscure Turfway Park near Cincinnati.
November Tender, who won the first race of his life at Turfway in mid-February and has done no winning since, will be vanned from Churchill Downs to Belmont Park later this week, becoming the least likely of Alysheba’s challengers.
It doesn’t matter to November Tender’s trainer, Oscar Dishman Jr., that his colt (1) is 1 for 12 lifetime with purses of less than $20,000; (2) has never finished higher than fourth in a stake and (3) could do no better than fourth Monday against allowance horses at Churchill Downs.
“I think this horse has a chance to hit the board in the Belmont,” said the 63-year-old Dishman, who is semi-retired and has only seven horses in his care. "(Monday’s) race was only a mile and a sixteenth, and he likes more distance. He’s by Youth, which gives him the right to run all day long.”
Dishman has never started a horse in a Triple Crown race. In 1977, however, he had Silver Series, who won three derbys in a month--the American and Hawthorne in Chicago and the Ohio at Thistledown.
“I’ve gone farther than New York trying to beat a big horse,” Dishman said. In 1973, he sent Golden Don, the winner of the Hawthorne Derby, to Woodbine near Toronto, where Triple Crown champion Secretariat was making the last start of his career. Secretariat won the Canadian International Championship, with Golden Don third.
“Although we nominated November Tender for the Triple Crown, the only race we had been thinking about was the Belmont,” Dishman said. “And we started thinking about the Belmont last winter.”
Dishman hopes to get Jacinto Vasquez to ride November Tender in the Belmont.
November Tender’s best performance may have been in the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland in April. Sent off at 124-1, November Tender finished fourth, just behind Conquistarose, who with Gone West is expected to form a two-horse entry as trainer Woody Stephens seeks his sixth straight Belmont victory.
Gone West, giving Leo Castelli 12 pounds, rated nicely for jockey Eddie Maple Sunday and finished only a half-length behind the LeRoy Jolley trainee in the Peter Pan at Belmont. Jolley will also have two starters in the Belmont, committing Gulch to the race after he won Monday’s Metropolitan Mile.
Like Leo Castelli, Gulch also benefited from a light impost, carrying 110 pounds against older horses as Broad Brush, the favorite with 128 pounds, ran third.
Another horse who earned his way into the Belmont over the weekend was Avies Copy, third in the Kentucky Derby, fifth in the Preakness and a tiring, half-length winner over Proudest Duke in Monday’s Jersey Derby at Garden State Park.
The Belmont will be Avies Copy’s ninth race in a little more than three months.
The Belmont could have at least 11 starters--Alysheba, Bet Twice, Cryptoclearance, Gulch, Leo Castelli, Gone West, Conquistarose, Avies Copy, Templar Hill, Shawklit Won and November Tender.
In the only lengthy workout he’ll have before the Belmont, Alysheba was timed in 1:41 3/5 for a mile Monday morning.
Trainer Jack Van Berg thought the work was slightly on the fast side, but coming off the track he said to exercise rider Steve Bass: “It’s unbelievable how easy this horse did this. I can’t believe how good he is now.”
Career Horse S 1 2 3 Earnings 1. Alysheba 12 3 5 2 $1,585,226 2. Bet Twice 12 6 3 1 984,047 3. Cryptoclearance 12 5 2 2 580,750 4. Gone West 12 5 4 2 526,701 5. Gulch 14 8 1 1 335,450 6. Leo Castelli 8 3 2 1 257,593 7. Demons Begone 10 6 2 0 573,394 8. Shawklit Won 10 2 2 4 230,268 9. Avies Copy 13 3 2 1 404,200 10. Temperate Sil 8 4 0 1 853,625
Advisory panel for The Times’ Triple Crown Ratings: Lenny Hale, vice president for racing at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga; Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe, vice president for racing at Santa Anita; and Tommy Trotter, racing secretary at Belmont Park.