ELMONT, N.Y. -- Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has always admired Uptowncharlybrown from afar. After having gotten up close and personal with the 3-year-old colt in the last 72 hours, McLaughlin's admiration has blossomed even more.
McLaughlin was especially impressed with the way Uptowncharlybrown looked Saturday morning breezing four furlongs in 48.57 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form, over Belmont Park's main track. Uptowncharlybrown, who worked in company with the 3-year-old filly Hatheer, is preparing for a start in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 5.
Uptowncharlybrown, under exercise rider Renzo Morales, began his work about three-quarters of a length behind Hatheer, and went an eighth in 12.53 seconds. He came to the outside of the filly after a half-mile in 24.80 seconds and with Morales barely moving his hands on the colt, Uptowncharlybrown came home in 23.77 seconds. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.18.
"He was impressive to watch go by,' McLaughlin said. "Moves great, did it easy, galloped out well, and we're excited."
McLaughlin received Uptowncharlybrown on Wednesday. He said he had tried to buy the horse after the horse won the Pasco Stakes by six lengths in January, but the Fantasy Lane Stables, managed by Bob Hutt, would not sell at the time. Alan Seewald, who died unexpectedly on April 12 at the age of 62 was the previous trainer of Uptowncharlybrown.
In his last three starts, Uptowncharlybrown finished third in the Sam Davis, fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby, and third in the Lexington.
"When you just see a horse run, you don't really know about him, but he's a really neat horse, got a great walk on him. He does everything right," McLaughlin said. "He's a really neat horse to be around, and that says a lot about Alan Seewald and his work at the 2-year-old-in-training sale. He gets the credit for buying him for $57,000."
Uptowncharlybrown will likely work each of the next three Saturdays leading to the Belmont, where he will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh.
Godolphin stakes runners on work tab
Vineyard Haven, who won the Grade 1 Frank J. De Francis Dash at Laurel last fall, worked three furlongs in 37.15 seconds Saturday morning, his first breeze since finishing third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last November. Vineyard Haven wintered at Keeneland.
Assistant trainer Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's North American string, said the breeze was actually a quarter-mile with a three-furlong-gallop out under exercise rider Simon Harris.
"He looked good -- he always trains good on this racetrack," Mettee said. "Simon said he felt as good as ever."
Mettee said he isn't sure when or where Vineyard Haven would make his return. The Tom Fool Stakes, usually run in July, would have been a logical spot, but that race has been scrapped this year by the New York Racing Association.
On Friday, Godolphin-owned stakes winners Regal Ransom and Desert Party both had their second breezes since shipping over from Dubai. Regal Ransom went a half-mile in 48.54 seconds, while Desert Party covered the same distance in 54.01 seconds.
"Regal Ransom worked really well, Desert Party not as well," Mettee said.
Desert Party won the Mahab Al Shimmal at Nad al Sheba on March 4 but finished 11th in the Godolpin mile three weeks later. Regal Ransom, the Super Derby winner, has not run since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Migliore recuperating from surgery
Jockey Richard Migliore was released from a Manhattan hospital on Friday, three days after undergoing surgery to repair fractures in the vertebrae in his neck.
"I'm feeling a little beat up, tired, sore," Migliore said Friday afternoon. "It went as good as could be expected. There were things they didn't expect, and things they did."
Migliore, 46, said he would have to wear a neck brace for a while.
It will be a lengthy recuperative process for Migliore, who has stated that he would like to ride again though he is unsure whether he will.