Belmont Stakes Profile: Mr. Hot Stuff
by Trevor Whenham - 05/26/2009
Mr. Hot Stuff
Last race: Mr. Hot Stuff ran in the Kentucky Derby, but it was far from notable. He was squeezed and bumped repeatedly at the start, and that seemed to take the life out of him. He settled near the back of the pack, moved wide on the final turn, and didn't show any interest in responding when he was asked to move in the stretch. Some horses just don't take to the spectacle that is the Derby, and this was clearly one. He finished 15th and was never better than that.
Career highlights: Mr. Hot Stuff was a late developer. He first tried to break his maiden in October, but it took him four months and five tries to earn his first win. He followed that up with third place showings in two California stakes - the Sham and the Santa Anita Derby. He finished behind three other Derby runners in those races - Take The Points, Pioneerof The Nile, and Chocolate Candy. Overall, he has faced some classy fields, but he has just the maiden win to show for it. He'd also raced exclusively on synthetic tracks up to the Derby, so we don't yet have a sense of whether he has an aptitude for dirt.
Jockey: Edgar Prado. Prado, who has won the Belmont on Sarava in 2002 and on Birdstone, the sire of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird, in 2004, will be in Mr. Hot Stuff's saddle for the first time in this race. Corey Nakatani was the regular rider for much of the horse's career, but John Velazquez replaced him in the Derby. Velazquez has jumped to Dunkirk - the horse Prado rode in the Derby - so Prado is here instead. He isn't riding as well this year as he can, but he's still more than capable in this situation.
Trainer: Eoin Harty. Harty was a long-time assistant for Bob Baffert before striking out on his own in 2000. That means that he has experience with this race, and he has felt more than a little heartbreak. Mr. Hot Stuff is his second Triple Crown entrant and first Belmont starter.
Pedigree: Mr. Hot Stuff's sire, Tiznow, was still a three-year-old maiden when the Derby was run, but by the end of that year he was named Horse of the Year. Stamina has never bee a problem for his offspring. Mr. Hot Stuff is a full brother to Colonel John. That horse won the Santa Anita Derby last year, disappointed in the Kentucky Derby, and then showed dirt form by winning the Travers at Saratoga. Mr. Hot Stuff's dam was sired by Turkoman. He wasn't a Triple Crown contender, but he was the champion older horse in 1986. He could run forever, and has passed that attribute on to his offspring.
Running style: Mr. Hot Stuff is typically at or near the back of the pack early on in the race. In his one win he was very patient, not moving until the top of the stretch. It's likely that Mr. Hot Stuff will be part of the cavalry charge that will be coming as the horses enter the top of the long Belmont stretch along with Mine That Bird, Summer Bird, and others.
Belmont prognosis: You can't call me a believer in this horse. I respect his connections, but I just don't see this horse as a serious contender here. He might get a piece of the lower spots, but I am more likely to toss him out and let him beat me. I don't think he will.