Jun 2, 2014 4:55 PM by Brisnet News
A decision is expected on Wednesday morning whether Social Inclusion, third in both the Wood Memorial and Preakness, will compete in either the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes or $500,000 Woody Stephens at seven furlongs on Saturday.
Owner Ron Sanchez said the Pioneerof the Nile colt was "70-30" to run in the Woody Stephens after having trouble schooling at the gate this morning. He is scheduled to school again during training hours on Wednesday.
"This morning we schooled him and he was acting up a little bit," Sanchez said Monday. "He started getting a little bit nervous and sweating, and we have to work on that. He was kind of nervous before he went to the gate the first time, but he was calm. When he went back again, he was acting up. We have to do it again on Wednesday and then we'll see. If the entries were taken today, we would not run (in the Belmont). It wouldn't make any sense."
Wherever he runs next, Social Inclusion will have a new rider. Irad Ortiz Jr., leading the current Belmont Park meet in wins (24) and mounts (138), replaces Luis Contreras, who had been aboard for each of the horse's first four starts.
"He's a local rider, and he's in a good frame of mind," Sanchez said. "I like the way he rides, and he fits with the horse. Definitely, no matter which race we are going, he has to take the lead. We are focused on the future, and to keep this horse healthy. He's healthy, so we'll see what happens."
Looking down the road, Sanchez mentioned the Haskell Invitational, the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga, and the Breeders' Cup as targets for Social Inclusion.
"We have time. We are going to do what's best for the horse," he said. "There's a lot of good races coming up."