I Want Revenge aims to live up to his name and rebound in Saturday’s $300,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. The son of Stephen Got Even was favored to win last year’s Kentucky Derby when he suffered a left-front ankle injury and was scratched the morning of the race.
Filling in his ankle proved more serious than first thought – significant ligament damage. No one was sure he would even race again.
When I Want Revenge came to the Aqueduct barn of Rick Dutrow in April, the trainer wasn’t overly optimistic the horse would resemble what he was after winning the Gotham and Wood Memorial en route to Louisville.
“It’s amazing,” Dutrow recently told Brisnet.com. “He’s ahead of schedule. I just don’t get it. Since he’s come to me, he’s asking for more every day. Every step of the way, he’s ahead of schedule. You just don’t normally see horses return like he has off injuries like that.”
I Want Revenge worked nine times at Aqueduct since May from three furlongs to seven-eighths of a mile. On Tuesday at Belmont, he breezed four furlongs in 48 2/5.
“I could tell two or three weeks ago he was ready,” he told BloodHorse.com on June 16. “I don’t see what the problem is (with the Suburban). It’s an easy one-turn race where he can break right from the gate and I’d much rather do that with him. It’s so natural. If he makes it there, I expect him to run huge.”
Only one other contender in the seven-horse field is coming off a victory. In fact, Haynesfield goes for his fourth consecutive win dating back to last fall at Belmont when he captured the Empire Classic in the slop by three-quarters of a length at 1 1/8 miles – the same distance as the Suburban.
The Steve Asmussen trainee is 3-1-0 in four outings at the Elmont, N.Y. track. His regular rider Ramon Dominguez will be aboard, The 4-year-old son of Spieghtstown breezed four furlongs in 49 2/5 on Tuesday at Belmont.
A couple of other expected starters weren’t entered even though they were coming off triumphs.
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Land of the Giants won his last in allowance company at a mile on June 4 at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway had won three of five races at routes. Redding Colliery, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, last captured the Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31.
Another horse coming off a long layoff is Regal Ransom, eighth behind Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7. The son of Distorted Humor, who last won the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in October, has trained exceptionally well at Belmont. Since May 1, he has breezed nine times over the main track.
In his fourth workout this month, which included a six-furlong move in 1:11 on June 19, he went five furlongs in 58 4/5 last Saturday.
He will be reunited with jockey Aaron Garcia, who guided him to victory more than 15 months ago in the nine-furlong UAE Derby at Dubai.
I Want Revenge will be joined by stablemate Pictorial, out of the money twice at Belmont, who hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since Feb. 28, 2009 at Gulfstream Park.
Others in the race are Convocation, who last won a Gulfstream allowance contest in March; Eldarfar, 3-0-3 in six starts at Belmont; and Unbridled Danger, a 7-year-old that ran fourth in four previous races this year at the track.