ELMONT, N.Y. - D. Wayne Lukas is a Hall of Fame trainer who's won four Belmonts. He'll try to win his fifth tomorrow with a horse who's raced only three times and won only one race.
"My gray area is," Lukas said, "I don't know if he's good enough."
Lukas referred to A.P. Arrow's breeding; he's a son of A.P. Indy, winner of the Belmont in 1992. He referred to A.P. Arrow's efficient stride.
"He just glides," Lukas said. "For a big horse, he doesn't hardly hit the ground."
A.P. Arrow, then, is an attractive chestnut with a smooth stride and regal breeding. He broke his maiden on his third try - a 1 1/4 -mile race in the slop four weeks ago at Churchill Downs. That qualified him, apparently, to compete in the third leg of the Triple Crown.
"He may get beat a block," Lukas said. "But he'll look good doing it."
At least A.P. Arrow has won one race. Nolan's Cat, a veteran of five races, has yet to win any. His claim to fame, presumably, was finishing second to A.P. Arrow in that race at Churchill Downs.
Nolan's Cat is 50-1 in the Belmont morning line.
"He's an impressive maiden," said Dale Romans, his trainer. "We know it's a big step, but we think he'll love the distance, and he's been competitive with that caliber of horse already in maiden races."
Prado to ride 'Fog'
Greg Gilchrist, trainer of Lost in the Fog, recruited Edgar Prado to replace the injured Russell Baze for the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup tomorrow at Belmont. Baze suffered a broken collarbone in a horrifying incident Wednesday when his mount snapped a leg at Golden Gate Fields.
Baze has ridden Lost in the Fog in each of his six dazzling victories. The colt is 6-for-6 and has never been challenged. The Riva Ridge is seven furlongs.
"I don't know Edgar personally," Gilchrist said, "but his work speaks for itself."
Prado, the former Maryland star, leads the Belmont meet with 36 victories. John Velazquez is next with 23.
At a glance
What: 137th Belmont Stakes
Where: Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y.
When: Tomorrow, post time 6:38 p.m.
Purse: $1 million
Distance: 1 1/2 miles
TV: Chs. 11, 4, 5:30-7 p.m.