With Press Pass proudly hung around my neck as if it were an Olympic Gold Medal, every morning this week at approximately 6:15am, I’d pass through the gates of heaven (aka Press Gate leading to the Pimlico Stakes Barn area). At that hour of the morning only the hard core horse racing media is there. That would be Jay Privman of The Daily Racing Form and yours truly. Then again, I really don’t count since I only carry media credentials during Preakness Week and I’m there because I love this sport and my pay is the interaction with the horsemen.
Thursday morning visit was the most satisfying. While all the local media personalities pace in front of the barn area without an intelligent question to ask any of these horsemen, I boldly walk right up to Derby winning trainer Chip Woolley to converse with him on a topic not many have asked him about… his horse. His eyes lit-up after I asked one particular question, as if he thought to himself, “Hey, this guy DOES know horse racing… I like talking to him”. And talk he did… he opened up to me about Mine That Bird like a book.
If you read my Wednesday blog, you know that I posted the Post Positions, track M/L v. my predicted M/L. With Papa Clem listed at 12-1 v. my 8-1, Gary Stute was quoted after the Draw, “Bob (POTN) beat me a neck and Musket Man by a nose, they’re 5-1 and 8-1… my horse is 12-1?! So this morning before I got into a 1-on-1 w/ Woolley, Stute was sitting in the same vicinity so as I walked up, I say to Stute whom I had met earlier in the week, “Hey Gary… for the record, I had you at 8-1 M/L, not 12-1”. He laughed and said, ‘Thanks… that’s a little better”. Then he, Woolley and I started talking about Chip being on crutches how long, then it led to stuff finding its way onto ebay, etc. The fact is that after Woolley no longer needs the crutches, they be given to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Unbelievable!
As far as the Preakness horse on the grounds that either worked out and galloped on Thursday… I didn’t care for the way Pioneerof The Nile (POTN) was “blowing” in his gallop. I stood 3 ft away from Baffert at trackside as he wondered out loud if POTN would finally run on a fast dirt surface. GQ (not me the horse) looked REALLY GOOD during his gallop. The one horse trainer/owner/hotwalker 73 year old Tom McCarthy actually asked D. Wayne Lukas if he could borrow an exercise rider. Tom does it all, except exercise his horse… something Larry Jones actually does (i.e. gallops) all of his horses.
Only regret of the day…didn’t see the filly in the A.M., but she did school in the paddock in the afternoon.
On the last day of preparation, there won’t be much activity, but Mel Stute, Gary’s Dad who trained 1986 Preakness winner Snow Chief should be present to give his son some words of advice. That’s a photo op waiting to happen.
Recapping Pimlico Spring Meet, Day 15 (Saturday, May 14th), track was fast but there were scratches…
Best Bet Citi Dispute (# 8; 1st race; 7-2) was scratched.
Longshot Good Girls Dont (# 7; 2nd race; 10-1) mounted a nice rally from last to finish 2nd paying $9.80 and $5.20.
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, : $20 on Berengaria (# 6; 4th race; 8-1) was scratched so the SHOW parlay takes a second consecutive day off.
For the Black-Eyed Susan Day 16 (Friday, May 15th), based on a fast track and firm turf…
Best Bet: Jockey Julien Leparoux (races 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13) is participating in the inaugural Jockey Challenge. He’s a bright young star who usually turns in big days on big days, so put $2 WIN on his mounts throughout the day.
Longshot: Story Of A Lion (# 5; 5th race; 10-1)
This 4 year old filly drops in for a tag (aka claiming) for first time since last July. She shows early speed before fading at 7 furlongs so shortening back to 6 might work versus this crew.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $65.10 ($120.10 bankroll – $55 wager + $0 return)
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on Glamorous Gal (# 9; 13th race; 10-1) who makes her 2009 debut after being put on the shelf in October, returns under the conditioning of Graham Motion with a nice workout tab. If she SHOWs it should return a nice payoff in order to start a new parlay.
Let’s hope today will be a beautiful one for enjoying the exciting chase scenes thoroughbred horse racing has to offer. Good Luck!