ELMONT, N.Y.– Trainer Kenny McPeek, who upset War Emblem’s bid for a Triple Crown with Sarava in 2002, said Thursday morning that he will more than likely point The Truth or Else towards the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 6.
The Truth or Else, who had picked up 11 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby earlier this year, is coming out of a 1 ½-length allowance victory over the local track on May 22, which, according to McPeek, was a major deciding factor heading into the Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah will be bidding to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
“My horse loves the Belmont track,” said McPeek. “He has two starts and two wins on a dry track at Belmont. And he’s out of a Colonial Affair mare [Lakenheath] so he should get the distance. His last race was a confidence builder. He got a good time and an excellent speed figure. His last two races have set him up for this. He really needed to win his last race, which he did.”
The chestnut son of Yes It’s True is owned in partnership with McPeek and New Jersey natives Harold and Helen Lerner. “The owners are from the area, which makes the race even more special,” he added.
McPeek also trained Atigun, who finished third in the 2012 edition; Unstoppable U, sixth in 2012; Frac Daddy, 14th in 2013, and Pineaff, ninth in 1999.
“He’s just a really solid horse,” McPeek said. “The Truth or Else is bigger and stronger than both Sarava and Atigun. Weird things happen in the Belmont. You shouldn’t duck one horse in a race. American Pharoah could possibly not handle the surface. You don’t know. So long as it’s a dry track, we’ll pull the trigger.”
McPeek said that two-time Belmont Stakes winner and Hall of Famer Edgar Prado will have the mount.
Press release courtesy of NYRA Communications/(Photo by NYRA/Coglinese Photos)