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ELMONT, NY – John and Diane Fradkin homebred colt Rombauer, a decisive winner of last Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, arrived at Belmont Park on Monday to prepare for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) slated for June 5.
The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes is the centerpiece of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that runs from June 3 through Saturday, June 5. The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the “Test of the Champion” for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
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Trained by Michael McCarthy, Rombauer garnered a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his rallying 3 1/2-length score in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The Twirling Candy bay, who is based at Santa Anita Park, arrived at Belmont at around 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning and will be stabled with trainer Jonathan Thomas.
Accompanying the Preakness champ on the van ride from Maryland was groom Leonel Orantes Aguilar, who reported that the horse shipped to New York “very well.”
McCarthy returned to southern California, where he is primarily based at Santa Anita, but gave positive reports on how the horse emerged from his breakthrough performance.
“It seems like he’s in good physical shape,” McCarthy said. “He was pretty bright and alert on Sunday morning. He’s a horse that takes very good care of himself, so we sort of read the signs from him and see what he’s telling us. From what I can tell, he’s no worse for wear.”
The versatile Rombauer graduated at first asking on the Del Mar turf in July 2020 and completed his 2-year-old season on dirt with a second in the American Pharoah (G1) in September at Santa Anita and a closing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in November at Keeneland, which was won by 2-year-old champion Essential Quality.
Rombauer captured the El Camino Real Derby on the Golden Gate Fields synthetic in February to launch his sophomore season and followed with an even third in the Blue Grass (G2) in April on the Keeneland main track ahead of his Preakness effort.
It was a first American classic triumph for McCarthy, who was previously a longtime assistant to newly-minted Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.
“I got a lot of nice messages from people and there were a lot of people that reached out who I hadn’t heard from in quite some time, so it was very nice,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy went on to say that Bo Hirsch’s Ce Ce is a possibility for the $500,000 Ogden Phipps (G1), a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event on Belmont Stakes Day at 1 1/16 miles on the main track for older fillies and mares.
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