Ridden for the first time by Puerto Rican-born jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who is set to replace regular jockey Christophe Soumillon for next Saturday's big race, Mubtaahij worked an easy half-mile as scheduled. He was asked to pick up the pace in the second half of the workout, according to de Kock's assistant trainer, Trevor Brown.
"He went well. He basically did exactly what we wanted him to," Brown said in Horse Racing Nation. "The important thing was just getting the jockey on him to give him a chance to get accustomed to the horse and get to know him. Irad was pretty happy with the horse. He said he's ready." distance should not be an issue for the de Kock colt; Dubawis get a trip if there's enough stamina on the female side of their pedigrees, and a son of the stallion, Newbury, reigned victorious in the Prix du Jockey Club (Gr.1) - the French Derby - at Chantilly.
Mubtaahij clocked an official time of 38.05 seconds for three furlongs, the fifth-fastest of seven horses working at the distance.
"I speak to Mike every day and he tells me what he wants from the horse, obviously gauging from his well-being and how he's eating," Brown said. "Mubtaahij doesn't stop eating. If they're eating, they'll work. Mike isn't shy to work horses."
Mubtaahij is a 16/1 chance to win the Belmont with British bookmakers Ladbrokes, while Coral have him at 12/1. Clearly, there's been money for the horse, and it sounds like he's a fitter horse than he was for the Kentucky Derby a month back. With the benefit of having sidestepped the Preakness a fortnight ago, he goes into this one comparatively fresh, and in that shape, you'd not be betting too much against Mike de Kock.
A field of nine is expected to face the starter, with American Pharoah bidding to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.
Frosted, who is trained by former UAE champion handler Kiaran McLaughlin, travelled strongly, if a trifle late, to finish sixth in the Derby. He is expected to come on in leaps and bounds for the run and can give his handler a second Belmont victory after Jazil in 2006.
"He just had a jog around the track today so it was an easy day for him," said Brown. "He's doing very good. He'll probably work sometime this weekend."
The Danehill Dancer gelding, who was a winner at this year's Dubai World Cup Carnival, is likely to run in the Grade 1 Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes or the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.