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2012 Belmont Stakes News And Notes: Belmont Contenders Get Own Training Time

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In the wake of Thursday's incident where another horse nearly ran into Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another during training on the Belmont Park main track NYRA has designated a specific time where Belmont Stakes entrants will have the track to themselves. Here is more on that, and other notes on the June 9 Belmont.

NYRA sets aside training time for Belmont contenders after near mishap - Thoroughbred Times
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will designate a specific time each day for Belmont Stakes contenders to train following a near-accident on Thursday at the track.

Just hours after the incident, NYRA announced that starting Friday, the only horses that will be allowed to train over the Belmont Park main track from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m., following the maintenance break, will be Belmont Stakes contenders. Belmont contenders will not be required to train during this timeframe, but any contenders who choose the time will have the track reserved for them.

Also Thursday, NYRA announced that Barn 2 will serve as the secured Belmont Stakes Barn. The barn will be ready for Belmont contenders to move into on Tuesday, June 5. Horses are required to be housed in the barn by June 6, per Wednesday's announcement of special security protocols by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

Union Rags Impacted By Stakes Barn Decision | BloodHorse.com
The one horse affected the most by this ruling is Union Rags, who is based at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Trainer Michael Matz had originally planned to ship the son of Dixie Union to Belmont either June 7 or early June 8.

"It’s not really a big deal, but what I’m disappointed in most is the lack of uniformity," Matz said. "What’s good for New York should be good for Maryland, and what’s good for Maryland should be good for Kentucky. A decision like this should have been made after the Preakness in order to allow trainers to be aware of it and adjust to it."

Matz is trying to set a schedule to assure that Union Rags doesn’t miss any training on June 6. But nowhere in the SRWB press release does it say what time the horses have to be in the barn or where the barn is located.

Triple Crown near-misses: Spectacular Bid, 1979 | Daily Racing Form
It took a lot to beat Spectacular Bid. In a run of 26 races, from the end of his 2-year-old season to the fall at age 4, he lost just twice – by three-quarters of a length to the older Affirmed in the 1979 Jockey Club Cold Cup and in the 1979 Belmont Stakes, with the Triple Crown on the line.