Horses

Bobby Flay buys minority interest in Belmont entrant Creator

Chef Bobby Flay acquired a minority interest in Belmont Stakes entrant Creator from WinStar Farm.
Chef Bobby Flay acquired a minority interest in Belmont Stakes entrant Creator from WinStar Farm. Getty Images

Celebrity chef and renowned restaurateur Bobby Flay has finalized a deal with WinStar Farm to acquire a minority interest in Grade I winner and Belmont Stakes entrant Creator.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Creator scored his biggest victory to date in the Arkansas Derby in April, powering home to a 1¼-length score over Suddenbreakingnews to become a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby. The son of Tapit finished 13th in the first leg of the Triple Crown after a troubled trip and stands as the 10-1 choice on the morning line for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

“Not only is he a talented racehorse with tremendous potential, Creator is already a Grade 1-winning colt by Tapit, which makes him an exciting stallion prospect,” Flay said Wednesday. “It’s a rare opportunity to partner with a first-class racing and stallion operation like WinStar. I look forward to many thrilling moments at the races with Creator, and then down the line with Creator’s progeny.”

Creator will represent the first classic starter for Flay, who is on the board of directors of the New York Racing Association.

Bred by Mt. Brilliant Broodmares, Creator has won two of nine career starts with $768,320 in earnings. The late-running colt is expected to be aided in the Belmont by the presence of front-running Gettysburg, who is also owned by WinStar Farm.

Lani puts in final work

The training routine of Japanese invader and UAE Derby winner Lani has been one of the more popular topics on the 2016 Triple Crown with the son of Tapit often spending upward of a half-hour walking, jogging and galloping over a surface.

While his fitness level has been heralded, his turn of foot was on display Wednesday when he worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.43 over the main track at Belmont Park in preparation for Saturday’s final leg of the Triple Crown.

Trained by Mikio Matsunaga, Lani is set to join Exaggerator as the only two horses to compete in all three American classics this season. The gray colt has become a quirky favorite with his temperamental antics and studdish behavior but has noticeably settled down of late, a factor Matsunaga attributes to the bucolic environment of the Belmont Park backstretch.

“Since we’ve come here, he’s been doing very well,” Matsunaga said through an interpreter. “The surroundings are nice and quiet. Before the Derby, if I knew we would have had these kind of surroundings, I would have brought the horse straight from Dubai to New York. I didn’t expect those crowds before the Derby during the training.”

Lani has shown improvement on the track as well, following up his ninth-place run in the Kentucky Derby with a fifth-place effort in the Preakness Stakes.

Should his manners hold up Saturday, he could be a dark-horse contender to upset morning-line favorite Exaggerator.

“He was very controllable, according to the rider. And he showed good acceleration coming out of the turn and he had great strides,” Matsunaga said of Wednesday’s move. “I couldn’t be any happier with that.”

Alicia Wincze Hughes: 859-231-1676, @horseracinghl

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