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Nehro Well-Back for Belmont Stakes


Both of the top two contenders for the 2011 Belmont Stakes were on track on Monday morning and the emergence of Nehro (Mineshaft) as a distinct contender at the 1m4f distance has seen his price drop below that of Preakness winner Shackleford (Forestry). The Zayat Stables-owned three-year-old has put together a lengthy string of runner-up victories with just a maiden score to his credit in the win column. Despite the lack of actual victories, Nehro is now a strong second favourite for the Belmont with a number of UK-based bookmakers pricing him around 7/2 or 10/3 in their ante post markets.

Animal Kingdom continues to take a substantial amount of money in the build-up to this one and it really would solidify him as the best of his generation if he was to pull off a Belmont score. A Derby, Belmont and 2nd by less than a length finish in the Preakness is pretty much as close to a Triple Crown winner as we've seen in a while.

Owned by Team Valor racing partnership, Animal Kingdom breezed a bullet half-mile over the surface at Big Sandy today, clocking a quick 47.76 to outperform 32 others posting works at the distance.

Conditioner Graham Motion spoke to the Paulick Report website after the work and declared he was especially impressed with the manner of Animal Kingdom's work. “He did it all on his own. That’s why I only wanted to go a half with him because I figured he’d gallop out pretty strong. He just hasn’t changed. He’s remarkable.”

Nehro was also on track but he wasn't pushed like Animal Kingdom and he notched a 29/32 but indicated that it was exactly the type of work that Steve Asmussen was looking for.

Irish invader Master of Hounds (Kingmambo) is emerging as a wiseguy play once again and he should flourish at this distance if his breeding is anything to go by. He will likely enjoy the longer distance on offer here but it will be interesting to see how he navigates the lengthy stretch. Should he be able to find a seam at just the right moment, Animal Kingdom will definitely have his work cut out for him. Master of Hounds trades at 6/1 with most major bookmakers.

Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno) gets a top NY jockey in Ramon Dominguez but the big switch is likely to be his new shoes he'll be wearing for this one. Both of his Triple Crown bids were undone by him throwing a shoe at key points in the race. He is very much in the mix at 8/1.  

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