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The Chill Factor

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 6/2/2010 1:52:46 PM

It is appropriate as we approach the Belmont Stakes that the Los Angeles Lakers are in the NBA finals as legendary announcer Chick Hearn would have had a vehicle in this year’s renewal.

Hearn could be heard loud and clear when the Lakers would put games away saying things like: “This game's in the refrigerator! The door's closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the Jell-O is jiggling....”

Enter Ice Box, the likely chalk Saturday in the Belmont trained by Nick Zito. More on this guy and Zito’s fortunes in the Belmont but let’s get a quick glimpse at those that are trying to defrost the refrigerator.

Dave in Dixie got to lugging in Del Mar debut, won, but has not scored since. Drosselmeyer is a talented colt but he’s had some feet issues and you want to come to these big races with everything primed and not a pimple on your coat.

First Dude ran his heart out in defeat in the Preakness and if allowed a lone lead, will be a handful.

Fly Down is the other Zito and don’t be shocked if this son of Mineshaft, who is coming off a win in the Dwyer, shows more speed this time.

Game on Dude looms the other speed and you got to figure the Bob Baffert student would be sent hard from the sound of the bell.

Late entrant Interactif will change the complexion of the race. Capable of a mid :45 half, his trainer Todd Pletcher knows how to read the past performances and when he saw this race devoid of speed, he got this guy primed.

Make Music For Me is always around the wire, but has one win, a maiden breaker in a $68K turf stakes on his record.

Spangled Star is a Richard Dutrow Jr. runner that could be making impact late while Stately Victory came back to earth in the Kentucky Derby after posting the 40-1 shocker in the Blue Grass.

Stay Put looms in tough as he has just not performed well in stakes so far while comic fans can stifle a laugh about Uptowncharlybrown, a long-fused runner that has not cashed since second start in a 7-furlong Tampa Bay stakes.

The horse to beat is Ice Box, he was stopped one once, not twice, but three times in Louisville or very well may have garnered the roses.

His teacher Nick Zito has been laying in wait, will likely saddled this chalk, but has popped with two successful Belmont winners at over 35-1.

The concern for Box is if the pace will be fast enough to help his cause. First Dude will be send and very well could get pushed along by the ‘other’ dude, Game on Dude, trained by Bob Baffert. If Interactif makes it three in a row, there could be very valid fractions up front.

Game On Dude was only a half-length off a :45 and small change pace in his debut and he could sit a super 2-home trip this time.

First Dude has a right to get the trip as his sire won Graded stakes at 9 furlongs and is by Belmont Stakes hero A.P. Indy.

The projection is for both of the Dudes to hook up, with Interactif, Make Mine Music and possibly Spangled Star in the second flight and the rest of the runners hoping the leaders go bonkers early and that the pace will fall apart.

After about 2 and a half minutes, tears will be flowing for New York’s favorite son Nick Zito and his cool customer Ice Box glowing in the winner’s circle.

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