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Belmont Stakes 2012: Dullahan, Union Rags Impress

Dullahan and Union Rags are considered the biggest threats to I'll Have Another on Saturday in his bid for the Triple Crown during the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Both horses were impressive during training runs on Sunday.

2012 Belmont Stakes: Dullahan makes fast workout look easy | Daily Racing Form
ELMONT, N.Y. - Jockey Javier Castellano was walking Dullahan back to trainer Dale Romans's barn after having just worked the third-place finisher in this year’s Kentucky Derby a half-mile Sunday morning at Belmont Park when he stopped briefly to ask the gap attendant how fast he’d gone.

“The man said ‘45’ and I said no way, that can’t be right, it’s too fast,” said Castellano, who had never been on Dullahan prior to Sunday’s work and who’ll ride the Blue Grass winner for the first time in the Belmont Stakes.

In actuality, Dullahan completed a half-mile in an eye-catching 45.82 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form, following an opening quarter mile in 22.20.

“I’m very happy,” said Romans. “I don’t care what the time was, he did it the right way. It looked like he was galloping. He did the same thing before the Blue Grass and that was the best race he’s ever run. I think he’s sharp right now and on top of his game. Everybody keeps talking about the dirt, but that proves it today. He’s going to run well over this racetrack. I wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the Belmont.”

2012 Belmont Stakes: Union Rags impresses Velazquez on Sunday with powerful work at Fair Hill | Daily Racing Form
ELKTON, Md. - As John Velazquez galloped a strong Union Rags through the stretch of the near-empty Fair Hill training center dirt track Sunday morning, he thought to himself ‘Oh my God, what is this thing?’ ”

About a minute later he found out. Sitting on Union Rags for the first time, Velazquez guided the powerhouse 3-year-old through a five-furlong workout that Daily Racing Form timed in 58.50 seconds.

“Very nice, very impressive,” Velazquez said. “Thankfully, I didn’t let him out too soon. He would’ve gone by the horse very easy. I waited with him till the quarter pole, eased out a little bit from behind him, and at the eighth pole I just gave him his head and he was gone. I didn’t have to ask him for anything. He did it by himself.”