Temperence Hill "has never used Bute," trainer Joe Cantey said after his horse won the Belmont Stakes today. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] and that may go a long way toward explaining the colt's victory.
Codex, winner of the Preakness, had been treated with Butazolidin before the Maryland race.In New York, however, Bute and Lasix are both banned. tToday, Codex finished seventh, nine lengths off the pace.
Codex's jockey, Angel Cordero, said his horse "just didn't handle the track well at all."
Track observers thought Codex looked sore in the warmups and LeRoy Jolley, the trainer of second-place finisher Genuine Risk, implied that the lack of Bute was the reason why.
"If Codex keeps running in New York, he won't be on the board anytime," Jolley said. "It was a slow pace like we expected, and Codex ran just the way he is supposed to run."
Jacinto Vasquex, Genuine Risk's jockey, said his horse "felt good in the warmup and she kept trying in the race. I asked her for everything at the top of the stretch and she ran very hard, then slowed up a little at the end."
Jolley said Vasquez gave Risk a perfect ride "and we were in good shape all the way. A big 'ol strong horse just got by her.
"We would have liked to have won," Jolley said, "but if you run as hard as you can and come out of it sound, that's about all you can ask. She not only ran, she ran good in all the Triple Crown races. What more can you ask?"
Cantey said he was "absolutely thrilled to death because he (Temperence Hill) ran in the mud one other time and didn't do well, although he finished second."
Cantey was quoted before the race as sayig he was considering scratching the horse because of the off track, but afterward he said, "We put up our $20,000 and there was no way we were going to pull him out today."
Cantey insisted he knew nothing about scratching the horse. "The first time I heard about it was on the radio," he said. "I didn't know anything about a scratch."
Cantey also praised jockey Eddie Maple. "I have to give Eddie a lot of credit," he said. "He knew it was a slow pace and he kept him seven or eight lengths back and that's close for him. If it hadn't been for Eddie's quick thinking, I don't know if we would have won.
"I knew Temperence Hill had an untapped talent that he hadn't used, and today he proved it."
Temperence Hill, who has run four races in the past 27 days, last ran May 31 in an allowance race at Belmont following a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby five days earlier.
"It's tough to look back," he said. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] said Cantey, 36, whose biggest winner was Cox's Ridge. "I have nothing against the track, it's a fine track, but he didn't like it. I like the 1 1/2-mile distance at Belmont and apparently so did the horse.
Maple, riding in the Belmont Stakes for the first time, said his colt handled the off track well.
"The track didn't hurt him that much," Maple said. "At the time we ran it way drying out. It was a little deep in spots, especially around the clubhouse turn, but he handled it well. I told Joe (Cantey) earlier in the day that the rail was deep, but as the day went on it got better. I wouldn't have been afraid to come through there if I had to."
Temperence Hill was not entered in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness and Maple hesitated to speculate about what might have been.
"It's tough to look back," he said. "The Derby is a mile and a quarter and that might be right up his alley. The Preakness, at a mile and three-sixteenths, I don't think it would be his race. I'm just happy he won the Belmont."