Owner: WinStar Farm
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano
- * Fetched $235,000 at the OBS as a 2-year-olds in training in March
- * After earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden win over Aqueduct’s inner track in 2012, the War Pass colt fashioned back-to-back stakes victories in the Grade 3 Withers and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby
- * Sent off a well-regarded 6-1 in the Kentucky Derby, his last run to finish third was the best performance from a Pletcher-trained horse
- * Has been no worse than third in seven lifetime starts
WinStar Farm owner Kenny Troutt seeks his second Belmont victory, having won in 2010 with Drosselmeyer, who in 2011 took the Breeders’ Cup Classic. WinStar’s first Classic victory also came in 2010 when Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby. Troutt, founder of Excel Comunications, and former partner William Casner purchased Prestonwood Farm in Versailles, Ky., which they subsequently renamed WinStar Farm. The operation bred the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, who would later be named that year’s Champion 3-Year-Old Male. Alone or in partnership, WinStar has campaigned Grade 1 winners Any Given Saturday, Bluegrass Cat, Colonel John, Court Vision, Spring at Last, and Well Armed. WinStar stands seven stallions, including leading sires Distorted Humor and Tiznow. WinStar finished second in the 2006 Belmont with Bluegrass Cat and eighth in 2009 with Mr. Hot Stuff.
Pletcher will try for his second Belmont Stakes victory this year, having captured the 2007 edition when Rags to Riches became the first filly in 102 years to win the race, defeating eventual Horse of the Year Curlin by head. Pletcher’s previous 11 Belmont starters include Impeachment, who was fifth in 2000, and runners-up Bluegrass Cat (2006), Dunkirk (2009) and Stay Thirsty (2011). A five-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s top trainer, Pletcher won his first Kentucky Derby in 2010 with Super Saver. Pletcher trained champions Ashado, English Channel, Fleet Indian, Lawyer Ron, Left Bank, Rags to Riches, Shanghai Bobby, Speightstown, Wait a While, and Uncle Mo. Pletcher has won 27 NYRA meet titles including three straight at Saratoga from 2010-2012, and was the leading trainer on the circuit in 2003, 2004, and 2010.
Castellano, who moved to the United States from Venezuela in 1997, will team up with Pletcher in the Belmont Stakes for the third time, having finished second in 2011 aboard Stay Thirsty and sixth on Interactif in 2010. This will be his seventh appearance in the race. Castellano was the regular rider of Ghostzapper, the brilliant colt who won the 2004 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic en route to being named that season’s Horse of the Year. In 2006, he guided Bernardini to victory in the Grade 1 Preakness, and later teamed up with the eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Male to add Grade 1 victories in the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He and his wife, Abby, are the parents of , Kayla Marie, Sienna Grace, and Brady.
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