The road to this year's Triple Crown has taken plenty of detours for the WinStar Farm of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt. It culminated with a victory in the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, but there have been plenty of twists and turns along the way, enough to test their fortitude.
WinStar began the year with what appeared to be the deepest pool of Kentucky Derby prospects, and had as many as four contenders as race day neared. But then Rule was taken out of consideration because he was training poorly, and on the day entries were to be taken, Endorsement came off the track following a workout with a fracture to his right front ankle.
That left just Super Saver and American Lion in the 20-horse Derby field, and Super Saver came through, giving WinStar its first Derby victory. Super Saver then tired badly in the Preakness Stakes, finishing eighth, thus removing himself from the Triple Crown chase.
But WinStar will still have a runner in final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, to be run June 5 at Belmont Park. It is the colt who was ranked by many atop WinStar's depth chart just three months ago. Now, Drosselmeyer, who did not even earn enough money to make the Derby field, will try to prove that the hype was not unfounded when he represents WinStar in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.
"We've had very high hopes for Drosselmeyer the whole year," Elliott Walden, WinStar's general manager, said Monday from Lexington, Ky. "We weren't the only ones. There have been a lot of people in his corner."
Drosselmeyer is one of 10 3-year-olds who, 12 days out from the race, are expected to run in a Belmont that will be missing both Super Saver and the Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky. Drosselmeyer worked six furlongs at Belmont Park on Sunday in 1:14.10 for trainer Bill Mott, who said Drosselmeyer would have one more work before the race. Drosselmeyer was second most recently in the Dwyer Stakes, his first start since finishing third in the Louisiana Derby.
"The key decision with Drosselmeyer was to not try and push him to make the Derby," Walden said. "There was some discussion about running back in the Blue Grass or the Lexington to try and get enough graded earnings, but we took the conservative approach. First, we had so many contenders for the Derby, we felt we had that luxury. Second, it was in the long-term benefit of the horse. I put them in that order because I'd like to think that's what we would have done if we didn't have other horses, but the Derby can make you do things you shouldn't do."
Walden said Super Saver is being freshened for the summer. And he said both Rule and Endorsement could be back before the end of the year. Endorsement "looks fabulous," Walden said. "He could be back in training in two months."
Rule is getting 60 days off at WinStar after not training satisfactorily prior to the hublot replica watches
"He was obviously speaking to us by not working quite as well leading up to the Derby, and we listened," Walden said.
In other Belmont developments, Make Music for Me, the fourth-place finisher in the Derby, worked a mile in 1:43.03 on Sunday at Belmont Park, according to Daily Racing Form.
"The more I thought about it, I'm pleased," Alexis Barba, the trainer of Make Music for Me, said Monday morning. "He got a lot out of it, but he came back good. That's why we're here, to get used to this track."
- additional reporting by David Grening