Belmont Contenders We The People, Rich Strike School In Starting Gate Thursday - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Belmont Contenders We The People, Rich Strike School In Starting Gate Thursday

Rich Strike at Belmont Park

We the People, the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday's Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, schooled at the gate on Thursday along with a one-mile gallop around the sloppy main track at Belmont Park for trainer Rodolphe Brisset.

“He's pretty chill for the gate. He's never had an issue with that,” Brisset said. “I was just hoping he didn't go too fast in his gallop. He's been [training] a mile for the past two days and today was very good. That's the usual for him.”

Owned by WinStar Farm, Bobby Flay, CMNWLTH and Siena Farm, We the People earned his favoritism in the Belmont Stakes after winning the Grade 3 Peter Pan, the local prep for the “Test of the Champion,” by an impressive 10 1/4 lengths in his most recent outing. The son of Constitution has won 3-of-4 lifetime starts, with his only loss coming in a troubled seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

Brisset said We the People will gallop on Friday as well as Saturday before the Belmont.

“He'll gallop on Saturday morning,” said Brisset. “He's the kind of horse who needs to do something. The race is so late anyways. So, he'll gallop a little bit; likely on the main track.”

Thursday was a quieter day for Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, who had a very laid-back gallop one clockwise lap around Belmont Park's sloppy main track on his way to the starting gate to school for Saturday's Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

“He didn't care at all,” trainer Eric Reed said of Rich Strike's first look at the starting gate since arriving at Belmont last Wednesday. “He's still a little fresh and will train a little more tomorrow. He's so different from before the Derby. He never did any of this rearing up and playing. Since the Derby, that's all he wants to do is show off.”

The son of Keen Ice, affectionately nicknamed “Richie,” has continued to impress his team with each gallop and trip around Belmont's paddock. The charismatic chestnut is often seen posing for cameras on the track and in his daily post-gallop bath, keeping his eyes and ears on the excitement around him.

“I saw him today coming out of the tunnel, and they've got all the cameras on the right side. He took about two steps and he stopped and stared at them,” Reed said, with a laugh.

Rich Strike garnered a dedicated following when he upset the “Run for the Roses” at odds of 80-1 with a masterful ride by returning rider Sonny Leon, who rallied the colt from 17 1/4 lengths off the pace and weaved around foes in the stretch to stun as the second-biggest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby.

On most mornings since arriving at Belmont, Rich Strike's team plays Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York” for him to get him familiar with the classic tune that will play as he steps onto Big Sandy on Saturday.

Reed notes that Rich Strike is a horse who relies on a consistent routine, including his daily nap around 11 a.m. once the barn quiets down. He often enjoys making a “pillow” out of his shavings in his stall to rest his head.

“He laid down the other day and had his head on a pillow against the wall,” Reed said. “You can't make this stuff up.”

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