WENT THE DAY WELL – Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well jogged and galloped in a field Thursday morning at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
“He jogged two turns in a field behind my barn and galloped two turns,” said trainer Graham Motion, whose colt closed strongly after early trouble to finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby. “I’ll probably take him up to the track tomorrow and gallop him a mile.”
Motion, who shipped 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom from Fair Hill on race day last year, is planning on bringing Went the Day Well to Pimlico sooner.
“I’ll gallop him through the weekend and decide when,” Motion said.
Animal Kingdom made a five-wide drive to finish second, a half-length behind Shackleford, in last year’s Preakness after a slow start. Motion said Went the Day Well should benefit from being on the Pimlico grounds prior to race day.
“I think I found the track a little different last year, particularly towards the outside. It’s something I want to get him used to, plus he’s kind of an immature acting horse and I want to get him used to his surroundings,” Motion said.
CREATIVE CAUSE — Heinz Steinmann’s multiple graded-stakes winner remains on course toward the Preakness, trainer Mike Harrington said Thursday.
The gray son of Giant’s Causeway jogged one lap and then galloped a second circuit at Hollywood Park Thursday morning.
“He’s doing OK,” Harrington said. “He doesn’t have any problems. He still seems maybe a little quieter than normal, but he’s going in the right direction.”
Creative Cause finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
BODEMEISTER/LIAISON/PAYNTER – At Churchill Downs on a clear, cool Thursday morning, Zayat Stables LLC and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s Bodemeister, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby (G1), jogged a mile before the renovation break on a fast track under exercise rider George Alvarez with assistant trainer Jim Barnes alongside on a pony.
After the break, Zayat Stables’ Paynter, runner-up in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (G3) in his most recent start, visited the starting gate under Alvarez and then galloped a little more than a mile. Following Paynter out was Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison, sixth in the Kentucky Derby. With Alvarez up, Liaison galloped 1 ½ miles.
All three colts are considered possible for the Preakness, but their status will not be confirmed until after trainer Bob Baffert returns to Louisville this weekend from Southern California.
PRETENSION – Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension galloped 1 ½ miles at Bowie Training Center Thursday morning for a possible start in the Preakness Stakes.
The son of Bluegrass Cat, who captured the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico last Saturday, sat 12th on the list of Preakness prospects seeking spots in the 14-horse field.
“It looks like he’s in the field, but the owner hasn’t made up his mind whether he wants to run or not,” trainer Chris Grove said. “He’s supposed to come in Friday or Saturday and we’ll talk about it.”;
COZZETTI/DULLAHAN – Donegal Racing’s Dullahan, third in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday, galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Faustino Aguilar at Churchill Downs.
Also on the track after the break for trainer Dale Romans was the Albaugh Family Stables’ Cozzetti. Fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start, Cozzetti galloped 1 ½ miles under Romero Cordache.
HANSEN – Eclipse Award winner Hansen, ninth in the Kentucky Derby, galloped 1¼ miles under exercise rider Joel Barrientos at Churchill Downs’ Trackside Training Center. Trained by Mike Maker, Hansen is owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing.
HIERRO/ISN’T HE CLEVER – Both of trainer Steve Asmussen’s possible Preakness starters, Stonestreet Stables’ Hierro and J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Isn’t He Clever visited the starting gate at Churchill Downs as part of their morning exercise.
Hierro won The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (G3) in his most recent start. Isn’t He Clever finished eighth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his previous start.
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer was one of the first horses on the track at Churchill Downs Thursday morning, galloping 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Joel Cano.
Trained by five-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas, Optimizer ran 11th in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 12 lengths behind the victorious I’ll Have Another.
Optimizer, who surged onto the Triple Crown trail with a furious second-place finish in the Rebel (G2), ran ninth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) beaten by 20 ½ lengths in an effort that left Lukas puzzled.
The Kentucky Derby effort by Optimizer was better in Lukas’ mind.
“He was pinned down on the inside,” Lukas said. “When I saw the aerial shot of the race, I was really surprised at how bad it (his trip) was.”;
Should Optimizer produce a sixth Preakness victory for Lukas, it would mark the biggest turnaround for a Derby runner in the Preakness since Louis Quatorze rebounded from a 16th-place finish in Louisville to win at Pimlico two weeks later.
Lukas plans to van Optimizer to Pimlico on Tuesday with an early-morning departure. Optimizer will have company on the van as Lukas plans to send three or four other horses to Old Hilltop.
Among horses that Lukas has nominated to Preakness Weekend stakes are Colonial Empress (Black-Eyed Susan), who finished 11th in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Hamazing Destiny (Maryland Sprint Handicap), who was seventh in the Churchill Downs (G2), Absinthe Minded (Allaire DuPont Distaff), who was fourth in the La Troienne (G2), and Skyring (Chick Lang), an allowance winner last Saturday.
TEETH OF THE DOG – J.W. Singer LLC’s Teeth of the Dog was entered for Saturday’s Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park but is expected to be scratched in favor of the Preakness Stakes.
“He’d only run (in the Peter Pan) if it looked like he wouldn’t get in the Preakness,” trainer Michael Matz said.
As of Thursday, Teeth of the Dog was 11th on the list of Preakness prospects vying for spots in the 14-horse field.
TIGER WALK – Sagamore Farm’s Tiger Walk galloped 1 3/8 miles at the historic farm in Glyndon, MD Thursday morning.
Trainer Ignacio Correas said a decision on who will ride Tiger Walk in the Preakness should be made within a day or two.
Tiger Walk, who finished fourth in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct last time out, is scheduled to work at Pimlico on Sunday.
Correas and Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm are pointing two other horses to Preakness Weekend Stakes. Millionreasonswhy, a Grade 2 stakes winner who came within a neck of defeating champion My Miss Aurelia in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga last summer, is scheduled to run in the Miss Preakness on Friday. Humble and Hungry, who captured the Commonwealth Turf (G3) at Churchill last fall, is set to make his second start of the year in the Dixie (G2) on Saturday.
Pimlico Friday Selections are on Page 3