2024 Belmont Stakes Contenders: THE WINE STEWARD

The 156th Belmont Stakes (G1) is Saturday, June 8, at Saratoga Race Course. The 1 ¼-mile race, shortened from 1 ½ miles due to the change of venue as the Belmont Park rebuild continues, is the final leg of the Triple Crown. usracing.com is publishing profiles of the contenders.


We’re sure there’s no whining after the decision by trainer Mike Maker to enter The Wine Steward in the $2 million Belmont Stakes rather than the $500,000 Woody Stephens on the undercard.

The New York-bred could pose a challenge to the favorites after three consecutive runner-up finishes, in the Breeders’ Futurity as a 2-year-old, the Lexington Stakes, and the Peter Pan Stakes — by a total of two lengths.

The Wine Steward. Coady Photo

After winning his first three starts, The Wine Steward was unable yo break through in a graded stakes race but has been working well enough for Maker to take on the 1 ¼-mile Belmont.

The Wine Steward had his first work since the Peter Pan on May 25 at Churchill Downs, covering 4 furlongs in 48.00. He followed up with a 5-furlong work in 1:02.60 at Churchill on June 1.

“I was there and he worked pretty easy and looked good,” co-owner David Staudacher after the first work. “He had a couple tough races, so we’ve got to make sure he bounces back right.”

After a narrow loss to Locked in the Breeders’ Futurity, the bay son of Vino Rosso was given a six-month break. His 3-year-old debut came in the Lexington on April 13 at Keeneland, where he was sent off at 7-5 but finished second, three-quarters of a length behind Encino.

He ran second to Antiquarian (also entered in the Belmont) in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan after being overtaken in the final sixteenth of a mile.

As for the Belmont: “It depends on the trip, but I think he can get it (the distance) — he’s bred to get it and should be able to,” Staudacher said. “I think he likes the track up there.”

2024 Preakness Stakes Contenders, Odds, and Post Positions: The Wine Steward

Belmont Stakes Betting advice: Never worse than third in six career starts, it’s still a leap to think he can win – or hit the board – in a Classic against a tough field.

Post position: 4


Jockey: Manny Franco

Trainer: Mike Maker

Owners: Paradise Farms, David Staudacher

Career record: 6-3-3-0

Career earnings: $467,260

Most recent race: Peter Pan, May 11 (2nd)

Top Equibase speed figure: 107

Pedigree: Vino Rosso-Call To Service, by Honor And Serve

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notes: Purchased for $340,000 at the Ocala Breeders 2-year-old sale … Sire Vino Rosso won the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic … This will be Mike Maker’s third Belmont starter – his first two both finished seventh, Stately Victor in 2010 and General a Rod in 2014.

2024 Belmont Stakes Contenders & Odds
PP Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Odds
1 SEIZE THE GREY Jaime Torres D. Wayne Lukas MyRacehorse 8-1
2 RESILIENCE Junior Alvarado Bill Mott Emily Bushnell & Ric Waldman 10-1
3 MYSTIK DAN Brian Hernandez, Jr. Kenneth McPeek Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing LLC & Daniel Hamby III 5-1
4 THE WINE STEWARD Manny Franco Mike Maker Paradise Farms Corp. and Staudacher, David 15-1
5 ANTIQUARIAN John Velazquez Todd Pletcher Centennial Farms 12-1
6 DORNOCH Luis Saez Danny Gargan West Paces Racing LLC, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding LLC, Two Eight Racing LLC & Pine Racing Stable 15-1
7 PROTECTIVE Tyler Gaffalione Todd Pletcher Repole Stable 20-1
8 HONOR MARIE Florent Geroux Whit Beckman Ribble Farms LLC 12-1
9 SIERRA LEONE Flavien Prat Chad Brown Magnier, Mrs. John, Tabor, Michael B., Smith, Derrick, Westerberg, Rocket Ship Racing, LLC and Brant, Peter M. 9-5
10 MINDFRAME Irad Ortiz, Jr. Todd Pletcher Repole Stable and St. Elias Stables LLC 7-2



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