Tale of Verve Looks to Go the Distance in Belmont Stakes
Tale of Verve Looks to Go the Distance in Belmont Stakes: Upon his entry into this year’s Preakness field, most people wrote off Tale of Verve as a hopeless longshot. The Dallas Stewart-trained colt proved to be much more, however, finishing second to American Pharoah, albeit seven lengths behind that mud-loving superstar.
With the approaching Belmont Stakes (GI), that behemoth race that tests the mettle of champions, racing analysts and handicappers may refrain from ignoring him again. Of course, the biggest challenge posed by the Belmont is the mile-and-a-half distance, a relative marathon to these blooming three-year-olds who have mostly maxed out at 1-1/4 miles. While pedigree is certainly not a factor that solely determines a horse’s ability to handle certain distances, stamina-laden bloodlines are certainly favored when choosing the top contenders for a race such as the Belmont. Tale of Verve’s pedigree suggests that he should handle the distance of the final Triple Crown event quite well.
Tale of Verve’s dam Verve, a member of the classic-winning Unbridled’s 2001 foal crop, failed to win in 11 starts over a mile, but she did manage to hit the board six times. Of seven foals thus far, five of Verve’s offspring have gone on to the races, and all five have been winners. Three runners by Perfect Soul were most successful at sprint or mile distances on the dirt, but Perfect Verve was stakes placed at 1-1/2 miles on the turf and often ran in races over a mile on the dirt. Pie Town, a 2006 gelding by Sky Mesa, was a bit different from his half-siblings in that he was distance-oriented and successfully ran hurdles and flat races on both dirt and turf.
Mrs. Marcos, Tale of Verve’s second dam by Private Account, provides quite a bit of stamina influence to the colt’s pedigree. A winner at 1-1/4 miles on both dirt and turf, Mrs. Marcos also frequently ran and finished well at distances up to 1-1/2 miles. As a producer, she has been rather successful; out of thirteen foals, nine have started, and six have emerged as winners. Most of her foals were milers, and two were turf specialists. One of those turf runners was Manerbe by Unbridled’s Song, a son of Unbridled. Zoftig, a 1997 filly by Cozzene, was certainly Mrs. Marcos’s most impressive runner. A graded stakes winner with her victory in the 1-1/16-mile Selene Stakes (GI) at three, Zoftig also managed to finish second by a nose in the Ashland Stakes (GI) and in the Pucker Up Stakes (GIII) over the turf. Zoftig was successful on the farm as well, producing multiple graded stakes winner Zaftig by Gone West and Mother Goose Stakes (GI) winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Zo Impressive by Hard Spun. Thanks to her respectable produce record, Mrs. Marcos sold for $1 million at the 2000 Keeneland November sale while in foal with Verve.
Solid distance influence continues with third dam Dancing Slippers, a graded stakes-placed daughter by Nijinsky II. While her best performances came at a distance of 1-1/8 miles, she often ran up to 1-1/4 miles on both the turf and dirt. However, her produce record lacks any standout stars, although she had six winners from nine runners. Most of her winners claimed their victories at distances over a mile on the dirt, but she did have a turf runner who excelled at classic distances and a sprinter.
Tale of Verve’s sire Tale of Ekati (Tale of the Cat – Silence Beauty [JPN], by Sunday Silence) perhaps provides some limitations to his stamina. Winner of the Futurity Stakes (GI), Wood Memorial (GI), Cigar Mile Handicap (GI), and Jerome Handicap (GII) during his time on the track, Tale of Ekati excelled as a miler and seems to be excelling at throwing similarly speedy foals. Of his two crops of racing age, the average winning distance has been 6.43 furlongs, and the average maximum winning distance is currently 6.70 furlongs. Of course, the limited crop of runners must be taken into account when considering their wins have come at relatively short distances; as more crops mature to racing age, the average should become a true indication of his siring affinities. His most popular daughter Ekati’s Phaeton looks to be limited to shorter distances with wins in the Davona Dale Stakes (GII) and the Old Hat Stakes (GIII). However, Tale of Verve has won at 1-3/16 miles and placed in the Preakness Stakes (GI), so perhaps his dam’s side will be able to give him the needed staying power.
With the speed of his sire and the stamina provided by his dam, Tale of Verve should be quite prepared for his next challenge. Of the many worthy Belmont contenders, be sure to keep Tale of Verve in mind as he seems to be one with a more distance-oriented pedigree, certainly appropriate for the last race of the Triple Crown series.
The 147th running of the belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The third and final jewel of the Triple Crown will be the eleventh race scheduled for 6:50 p.m. ET and will air on NBC. See full stakes schedule.
Belmont Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 11 6:50 pm ET
1 Mubtaahij 10-1 Jockey I. Ortiz/Trainer de Kock
2 Tale of Verve 15-1 Jockey Stevens/Trainer Stewart
3 Madefromlucky 12-1 Jockey Castellano/Trainer Pletcher
4 Frammento 30-1 Jockey Smith/Trainer Zito
5 American Pharoah 3-5 Jockey Espinoza/Trainer Baffert
6 Frosted 5-1 Jockey Rosario/Trainer McLaughlin
7 Keen Ice 20-1 Jockey Desormeaux/Trainer Romans
8 Materiality 6-1 Jockey Velazquez/Trainer Pletcher
2015 Belmont Stakes Information and General Tips
The Belmont Stakes is Rich in Racing History
Top 10 Upsets Prove Belmont Stakes to Be No Easy Task
Expert Clocker Gary Young on American Pharoah Bandwagon
Trainer Bob Baffert Quite Familiar with Triple Crown Trials
Belmont Day Features Two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races
Questioning American Pharoah’s Dosage
Twitter Updates on 2015 Belmont Stakes Contenders