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Top Five Horses to Watch Out for in the 2023 Belmont Stakes

National Treasure, the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner, is preparing for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. However, Reincarnate, a fellow stablemate, will not participate in the “Test of the Champion” event. Instead, Reincarnate’s primary goal is to compete in the G1, $1.25 million Travers on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course.

Reincarnate, trained by the renowned Bob Baffert, recently finished 13th in the G1 Kentucky Derby under the guidance of trainer Tim Yakteen, who handled the horse in his last three races. Reincarnate previously achieved third place in the G2 Rebel and G1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Both Reincarnate and National Treasure are owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Waves Edge Capital, Jay A. Schoenfarber, and Catherine Donovan.

Tom Ryan, the racing manager for the ownership group, stated that Reincarnate will redirect his focus to the Travers, allowing him to recover from the Derby and develop further. Ryan mentioned that Reincarnate seems to be growing stronger and larger with time. He emphasized the importance of patience in nurturing these horses, as they have the potential to reward their caretakers.

The timing and potential races leading up to the Travers for Reincarnate are uncertain, according to Ryan.

Reincarnate, bred in Kentucky by Woods Edge Farm, was purchased for $775,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is the offspring of the stakes-winning Scat Daddy mare Allanah.

On Belmont Stakes Day, National Treasure won’t be the sole contender from the ownership group. Tom Ryan reported that Doppelganger, the Grade 1 Carter-winner, will participate in the G1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap under the guidance of trainer Brittany Russell. The Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap offers a qualifying spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Santa Anita.

Doppelganger, a 4-year-old colt sired by Into Mischief, has been unbeaten since joining Brittany Russell’s stable in Maryland. He won two allowance races at Laurel Park before triumphing in the Carter after relocating to Aqueduct.

Initially trained by Bob Baffert, Doppelganger debuted as a maiden winner at two. In the past year, he finished second in the 1 1/16-mile G2 San Felipe and third in the 1 1/16-mile G3 Affirmed, both at Santa Anita.

Tom Ryan described Doppelganger as a remarkable physical specimen, with a strong pedigree and previous success as a 2-year-old. Ryan also mentioned that the horse experienced bone bruising at one point in his career, requiring time off. However, he has since improved with each race, and the ownership group is excited about his prospects.

Additionally, Ryan revealed that the ownership conglomerate campaigning National Treasure will have three contenders in the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun. This race is for seven-furlong sprints and features sophomores. The three colts participating are Fort Bragg, Gilmore, and Fort Warren.

Fort Bragg finished second in his previous race, the G2 Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs, following fifth-place finishes in the G2 San Felipe and G1 Florida Derby.

Gilmore, who closed strongly to secure third place in the Pat Day Mile, achieved second place in the G3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct two races ago under the tutelage of trainer Brendan Walsh. His sole victory came in a one-mile race at Los Alamitos in December, while still trained by Bob Baffert.

Fort Warren, trained by Brittany Russell, placed third in the G2 San Vicente in January at Santa Anita and emerged victorious in a six-furlong race on May 19 at Pimlico.

Tom Ryan expressed his confidence in the three colts, suggesting that Fort Bragg might be the strongest contender among them. He also praised Gilmore’s progress as a horse that excels at coming from behind, and he acknowledged Fort Warren’s success as a sprinter or one-mile runner, despite being sired by Curlin.


PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Forte +275 Irad Ortiz, Jr. Todd A. Pletcher
2 Tapit Trice +350 Luis Saez Todd A. Pletcher
3 Sun Thunder +2500 Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.  Kenneth G McPeek
4 Red Route One +1600 Joel Rosario Steve M. Asmussen
5 Angel of Empire +400 Flavien Prat Todd A. Pletcher
6 Hit Show +1600 Manuel Franco Brad H. Cox
7 Arcangelo +1400 Javier Castellano Jena M. Antonucci
8 Raise Cain +1400 Gerardo Corrales Ben Colebrook
9 Reincarnate +1600 TBD Bob Baffert
10 Il Miracolo +5000 Marcos Meneses Antonio Sano
11 National Treasure +700 John R. Velazquez Bob Baffert
12 Prove Worthy +3300 TBD Todd A. Pletcher


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