'All Systems Go' As Creative Minister Turns In Easy Half-Mile Breeze Ahead Of Belmont - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘All Systems Go’ As Creative Minister Turns In Easy Half-Mile Breeze Ahead Of Belmont

Creative Minister at Pimlico ahead of the 2022 Preakness Stakes

Fern Circle Stables, Back Racing and Magdalena Racing's Creative Minister had his final work on Monday in preparation for Saturday's Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. The son of Creative Cause breezed an easy half-mile in 50.33 seconds over the fast main track at Belmont Park.

“It was something simple,” said trainer Kenny McPeek. “We let him stretch his legs; he had a long gallop and he did everything right. He looked happy doing it.”

Creative Minister was guided through the exercise by Heman Harkie, who was also aboard for his half-mile breeze last week. The grey colt stood near the finish line for a few minutes before the breeze, surveying Big Sandy with his head up and ears forward as Harkie gave his neck a few strokes.

The pair then took off the wrong way around towards the top of the stretch so that Creative Minister could get a sense of Belmont's looming grandstand and long home stretch. Creative Minister was taken to the backstretch to begin his work and NYRA clockers caught his first quarter-mile in 24 and 4/5 seconds. He travelled well to finish the work in 50.33 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:04 flat.

“He's a very smart horse,” McPeek said. “He hasn't missed a beat and has been eating well. He just needed a maintenance half-mile. All systems go.”

Creative Minister established himself in the 3-year-old division with a rallying third-place effort in the Grade 1 Preakness on May 21, finishing 3 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Early Voting. He was awarded a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort, which was his stakes debut.

McPeek is in search of his second Belmont Stakes triumph and first since Sarava stunned the 2002 running at odds of 70-1, the longest shot in history to win the “Test of the Champion.”

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