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Last workouts Sunday for Belmont Stakes contenders

Elmont, NY ( – Sunday marked the last opportunity for some of this year’s Belmont Stakes contenders to post workouts leading to Saturday’s 146th Belmont Stakes.

At Belmont Park, Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin worked seven furlongs in 1:28.03 with regular exercise rider Bryan Beccia in the saddle.

“I thought he went super,” trainer Billy Gowan said. “He went just like I told him. I told him to go slow the first quarter, and he went in 27 (seconds). He went the last quarter in 24. It was just what we wanted, mainly to just get some air into him. If I work him a half-mile, he may get too speed crazy. As long as he was going slow, that’s all we needed.

“We’ll just gallop him easy. He doesn’t need much. We’ll probably take him slow every day, and just keep him happy. I’m just happy with the way my horse is going. We come in every morning, and he’s hollering for his feed. He’s just a tough horse.”

Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve had his only breeze over the Belmont main track Sunday before the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion.” Trained by Dallas Stewart, the colt covered four furlongs in 47.38 seconds.

“I thought he worked great,” said Stewart. “I’ve never seen him work any better. It was easy, and he was calm and perfect. He came back not blowing. That’s the thing about him: he never gets tired. It was just a great day for him. We’ll take it.”

Wicked Strong, fourth in the Run for the Roses, worked five furlongs in 59.10 seconds with exercise rider Kelvin Pahal in the saddle.

“I thought he went real good,” said trainer Jimmy Jerkens. “It was a little fast, but (Pahal) saw me put my hand up to slow down, and he did. He didn’t pull him back, but he didn’t urge him any. I’m happy with it.

“He’ll probably just gallop into the race. He gallops pretty steadily. I blew him out at Churchill because he wasn’t really getting into the bridle when he galloped. He was really distracted, which is why we gave him a little something.”

Matuszak, trained by Hall of Fame member Bill Mott, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.94 over Belmont’s main track.

“It was great. He came home very well. I might be wrong, but I got him coming home in under 23 seconds. He went very well.

“He’s been working quite well. The last three works have been pretty good. I realize we’re kind of a long shot and we’re reaching, but the horse is actually coming around at the right time, whatever that may mean.”

Mott captured the 2010 Belmont Stakes with 13-1 longshot Drosselmeyer.

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