One of these days — maybe next month — Dallas Stewart is going to be in the winners’ circle after a Triple Crown race.
But for now, the New Orleans-based trainer will settle for his third runner-up finish in as many years after long shot Tale of Verve’s second-place finish behind American Pharoah in the Preakness.
“It wasn’t just that somebody had to finish second,” Stewart said. “We were coming at him at the end.
“We’re definitely going after him in the Belmont.”
The Belmont has not been a good venue for Stewart in similar circumstances.
Golden Soul, second in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and Commanding Curve, the 2014 runner-up, both skipped the Preakness only to finish ninth in the Belmont.
This time, Stewart said, things could be different.
“Tale of Verve doesn’t have any speed,” he said. “And American Pharoah is a really, really good horse.
“The mile-and-a-half absolutely suits our horse better.”
Tale of Verve, owned by Charles Fipke, ran in three races at the Fair Grounds last season but was not entered in any of the derby prep races.
But winning a maiden special at Keeneland in April qualified him for the Preakness.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Tale of Verve trailed the field for the first half of the Preakness but began passing horses, getting past Divining Rod at the end.
“I had a perfect trip,” Rosario said. “The further we went, he kept picking it up.”
Tale of Verve, who went off at 28-1, paid $19.00 and $8 plus $124.40 in the exacta with American Pharoah.
“I had no idea where he was in the race,” Stewart said. “But this race validated what he is.
“It was a wonderful run. What a horse!”
It was Stewart’s second time to saddle a Preakness runner-up.
Macho Again finished second to Big Brown in 2008. Macho Again was fifth in the Preakness.