Work in Sports
Lukas, Day win another Belmont Stakes
Posted: Sunday June 11, 2000 03:56 AM
ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) -- Commendable, whose only previous victory was a maiden race last August, snapped a six-race losing streak and won the Belmont Stakes on a sweltering Saturday.
The victory was the fourth Belmont win for D. Wayne Lukas and the 13th victory in a Triple Crown race for the Hall of Fame trainer.
Commendable, ridden by Pat Day, who won the Belmont for the third time, took charge on the final turn and turned back all challengers.
Missing from the 11-horse field were Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and Preakness winner Red Bullet.
It was the first time since 1970 that the Derby and Preakness winner both missed the Belmont.
"He'll need a career best to win," Lukas had said about Commendable, who had finished fourth in each of three stakes and was 17th in the Derby.
Commendable, owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, who missed Triple Crowns with Silver Charm in 1997 and Charismatic last year, finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of 9-5 favorite Aptitude, who also finished second in the Derby.
Another length back was Unshaded, who had been nominated for the Triple Crown races and was supplemented for $100,000 by James B. Pafel.
Commendable raced the 1 1/2 miles (2.4 kms) in 2:31 and paid $39.60, $12 and $6.30. Aptitude, ridden by Alex Solis, paid $3.80 and $2.80, while Unshaded, ridden by Shane Sellers, was $4.40 to show.
Completing the order of finish were Wheelaway, Impeachment, Appearing Now, Postponed, Hugh Hefner, Tahkohda Hills and Globalize. Curule was pulled up.
"It was a wonderful trip," Day said. "I talked to Mr. Lukas before the race and he said 'have an energy-saving ride.' He told me to get alongside Hugh Hefner and wait as long as I could. And that's what I did."
"I've won two Derbies and two Preaknesses and now the elusive Belmont is finally ours," Lewis said. "He had a five-week rest (after the Derby) and I was convinced the Kentucky Derby was not his race. He just didn't click."