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Batten Down Headed to Ohio Derby Over Belmont

Juddmonte homebred won a maiden race in his last start for trainer Bill Mott.

Batten Down posts a maiden win at Churchill Downs

Batten Down posts a maiden win at Churchill Downs

Coady Media

The field for the $2 million Belmont Stakes (G1) lost a possible starter as Juddmonte Farms general manager Garrett O'Rourke said Batten Down would most likely be pointed toward the June 22 Ohio Derby (G3) instead of the June 8 final leg of the Triple Crown at Saratoga Race Course.

A homebred son of Tapit , the Juddmonte 3-year-old is coming off a 1 1/4-mile maiden special weight victory April 30 at Churchill Downs. It gave him a record of a win, a second, and a third in four starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who has breezed him twice at Saratoga.

"I don't think there is a lot of appetite for the Belmont," O'Rourke said May 29. "It's a deep race. I'd prefer some baby steps."

The $500,000 Ohio Derby will be contested at 1 1/8 miles at Thistledown.

Post positions for the Belmont Stakes will be drawn June 3.