A talented quartet of Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin runners—Rebel’s Romance , Desert Peace, Summer Romance , and Althiqa —have settled in comfortably in New York in preparation for starts during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that runs June 3-June 5, headlined by the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
All four of Appleby’s runners, who arrived in New York May 2, are expected to compete during the festival, with UAE Derby Sponsored By Emirates NBD (G2) winner Rebel’s Romance pointed to the Belmont Stakes June 5.
The geldings Rebel’s Romance and Desert Peace were initially based in Dubai, while the fillies Summer Romance and Althiqa, shipped from the UK.
“They’re settling in great and are very relaxed and happy in their routine,” said traveling assistant Sophie Chretien. “It’s very nice here. The people are taking good care of us and the horses are very happy in the barn. It’s a little like being in the country which is what they need. There’s a bit of grass to pick in the morning, fresh air, and they’re really settled.”
Chretien is joined on the journey by Michael Metcalfe, exercise rider for Rebel’s Romance and Summer Romance, and Patrice Pot, who gallops Desert Peace and Althiqa.
On the morning of May 16, Rebel’s Romance and Desert Peace went out at 7:30 a.m. ET for a jog and a mile gallop on the 1 1/2-mile main track, with a similar routine followed later in the morning by the two fillies.
Chretien said the serious work will begin next weekend, with all four horses expected to breeze.
“Next week, the boys will have their first piece of work together on the main track, and the girls will go on the turf together,” said Chretien. “We have three weeks to hit the target now.”
Rebel’s Romance, a winner in four of five starts, made the grade last out with a 5 1/2-length romp in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby March 27 at Meydan.
Chretien said the sizable Rebel’s Romance is taking well to the expansive Belmont main track.
“I think he’s moving well over it. The rider is very happy with him,” said Chretien. “He’s a big boy. When he won the (UAE) Derby, he needed time to get into his rhythm. He’s a big machine. The big track will suit him. He needs to be able to use his stride. The longer distance will be good for him.”
Desert Peace, a 4-year-old son of Curlin , was a $1.3 million purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The Kentucky-bred was a winner by a short head last out traveling one-mile May 11 over the Meydan main track.
There is no specific target confirmed yet for Desert Peace, but the True North Stakes (G2) June 4 is a possibility.
Summer Romance and Althiqa, who finished first and third last out in the Feb. 18 Balanchine Sponsored By Range Rover (G2) at Meydan, are targeting the Longines Just a Game Stakes (G1T) June 5.