It seems that trainers of some of the potential Preakness starters are playing a game of chess in that they continue to be non-committal until after their horse completes his last serious workout, which won’t come until 5-6 days before Preakness Day.
Another annoyance for those covering this event is that come Wednesday morning, the deadline for Preakness race day entries, none of the Preakness starters will be at the Pimlico Stakes Barn, the temporary home for ALL Preakness runners. Most of the out of town horses will be flying in from Louisville on Wednesday, arriving in the afternoon. A few others have been training at Belmont Park (NY), and won’t be vanned down until Friday afternoon or even Preakness morning. The three local trainers plan on keeping their colts where their stables are located.
One of the locals, Graham Motion will keep Derby winner Animal Kingdom at Fair Hill, MD where he’ll just gallop and maybe have one workout. So the Preakness race will be the first time he sets foot (er uh, hoof) on the Pimlico dirt surface. Trainer Eddie Gaudet has Tesio Stakes winner Concealed Identity at the Bowie Training Center and Chris Grove, who trains Norman Asbjornson (4th in the Wood Memorial) is also stabled at Bowie, but at least has been training at Pimlico over the past couple weeks, where he put in his final workout (5 furlongs 1:02 1/5) before Saturday’s race, but returned to Bowie until Preakness morning
Preakness probables who worked on Friday…
Norman Asbjornson… as mentioned above breezed in fractional times of :13 2/5,: 25 4/5, :38 4/5 and :50 1/5 then galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:16.
Mr. Commons… appears to have punched his ticket to a flight from Southern CA to Baltimore for the Preakness. He worked seven furlongs in 1:24 2/5 over the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park with Victor Espinoza up. “He did it very well, except he was a little strong in the middle part of the work,” trainer John Shirreffs said. “The horse couldn’t have blown a candle out when he got back to the barn. He’s very fit. It was Victor’s first time on him, so I just attribute that to Victor not knowing him.”; Mr. Commons is scheduled to be flown from CA to KY on Tuesday, spend the night in KY then fly to Baltimore on Wednesday.
Other Preakness contenders just chillin’…
Animal Kingdom… jogged a half-mile and galloped a mile with a pony and another horse to keep him company. “Everything seems to be going good,” trainer Graham Motion said. “Hopefully he’s oblivious to what is going on around him.”; Motion said he has not decided whether he will work Animal Kingdom prior to the Preakness.
Dialed In… trainer Nick Zito, who won the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze after that colt finished 16th behind Grindstone in the Kentucky Derby, has seen no negatives from Dialed In, who finished eighth as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. “He’s got a lot of energy,” Zito said as Dialed In walked off the track after a 1½ mile gallop at Churchill Downs. “He is a strong, determined horse and I am fine with him.”.
Dance City… 3rd in the Arkansas Derby galloped 1½ miles over the Churchill Downs dirt oval. Trainer Todd Pletcher will give Ramon Dominguez a leg-up on Preakness Day since his “go to” rider Johnny Velazquez will be on the Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
Flashpoint… Trainer Wesley Ward has scheduled a five-furlong breeze with rider Jeffrey Sanchez aboard, Saturday at Keeneland. “He’s doing great,” Ward said. “He had an easy gallop today and he’s ready for his work tomorrow (Saturday).”.
Isn’t He Perfect… Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal decided to scratch the Pleasantly Perfect colt from Saturday’s Peter Pan (G2) in favor of a start in the Preakness. Shivmangal said the colt, who was fifth in the Wood Memorial (G1) and the Jerome (G2) in his last two starts, will breeze a half-mile at Belmont Park on Saturday. “From the races he’s run before, this horse has got the kind of speed that I think he will have a fair shot against these horses,” Shivmangal said. “He’s bred to go long.”.
Mucho Macho Man… jogged a mile and galloped 1½ miles Friday morning over the training track at Belmont Park. The third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby has settled in nicely at Belmont, said trainer Kathy Ritvo. “I love the training track and he does, too. He likes the training track a lot. That’s where he trained for the Nashua and Remsen,” said Ritvo, whose Florida-bred colt produced back-to-back runner-up finishes in the pair of Grade 2 stakes at Aqueduct last fall. Ritvo said it’s possible that Mucho Macho Man could breeze next Tuesday but it’s also possible that the Risen Star (G2) winner would gallop up to the Preakness.
Saratoga Red… the 10th place finisherin the Arkansas Derby and then ran 6th in an allowance race as the favorite is once again being considered for the Preakness by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The only way he’d get in the field is if only 14 were entered including him, which at this point seems unlikely.
Shackleford… galloped 1½ miles at Churchill Downs on Friday morning. Trainer Dale Romans gave the thumbs up to the morning activity for the Kentucky Derby pacesetter who finished fourth behind Animal Kingdom. “It’s on to Pimlico,” Romans said.
Recapping Day 24 (Friday, May 13th) at the Pimlico Spring Meet…
Best Bet Limeheart (#1 4th race; M/L 5-2; P/T 5-2) tons of money went on the GP shipper (P/T 3-5), but that mare was no match for Limeheart in the stretch as J.D. Acosta was able to set slow early fractions and have even late to hold off the chalk, to win by 2+ lengths paying $7.80 to WIN, $2.80 to PLACE and $2.10 to SHOW.
Best Bet pick scorecard from 24 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 8 WIN – 3 PLACE – 6 SHOW.
Longshot Native Playboy (#1 2nd race; M/L 5-1; P/T 9-1) did not get the lead, then was steadied twice at the far turn… game over. Finished 5th.
Longshot pick scorecard from 24 selections at Pimlico Meet: 5 WIN – 5 PLACE – 1 SHOW.
Here’s how the WDYL (Who Do Ya Like?) Plays panned out…
1st race ($2 DD): 7, 8, 10 w/ 1, 6 ($12)…came 4-2
3rd race on turf: #9 – Lucky Will (5-1)… no late run - OTB
5th race on turf: #2 – Midnight Gem (20-1)…OTB
6th race: #3 – Frankie Says Relax (2-1)…PLACED: $2.40 $2.10
7th race on turf: #12 – Wild Deposit (10-1) … OTB
8th race ($1 DD): 1, 7 w/ 1, 5, 9 ($6)… came 2-9
For the Pimlico Spring Meet, Day 25 (Saturday, May 14th) …
Soup of the Day: Chicken Noodle
Best Bet: Access Love (#3 9th race on the turf; M/L 5-2) has been away since last November but can fire at first asking against this group which is loaded w/ early speed. This 7 year old will come running late and he’ll be fit because he’s been firing a few bullets in the in A.M.
Longshot: Porlomar (#4 6th race; M/L 10-1) exits a couple turf sprints which weren’t for him. Returns to dirt where he’s 2-2-0 in 6 tries at this distance. If the rain holds off and he returns to his dirt form, he could surprise at a nice price.
Other “Who Do Ya Like” (WDYL) Plays…
1st race ($2 DD): 3, 6 w/ 3($4)
3rd race ($1 Tri): 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 w/ 3- Waquiot’s Raven w/ 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 ($20)
4th race: #7 – Funny Book (7-2) there’s plenty of speed to chase down
5th race on turf: #2 – Homefire (9-5) can get 2nd win here
7th race on turf: #5 – Cross Mountain (15-1) worth a look for exotics
8th race: #5 – Daddy’s Caddy (10-1) right there w/ better jock & trip
10th race ($1 DD): 1, 2, 4 w/ 2, 3, 9, 13 ($12)
Enjoy a great day of thoroughbred horse racing. Share the fun with a friend.