Tag Archive | "Kentucky Derby"

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Baltimore owner Janney visits Orb at Pimlico

Posted on 16 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY HERO ORB TO CARRY MARYLAND PRIDE IN PREAKNESS

AMOSS TENDS TO FAMILY, MYLUTE; DEPARTING SETTLES IN 

BALTIMORE, 05-16-13 – Prominent Marylander Stuart Janney III dropped in on trainer Shug McGaughey at the Preakness Stakes Barn Thursday morning at Pimlico Race Course, closely monitoring the morning activities of his Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, Orb.

“It’s a huge sense of pride. I’ve been out here most mornings before the Preakness for most of my life, so it’s great to bring this horse here,” the Butler, Md. resident and chairman of Bessemer Trust Company said. “I’m proud of him.”

Janney and the Phipps Stable bred and campaign Orb, who captured the Derby by 2 ½ lengths with a 17th-to-first performance. The Janney family and the Phipps family have had a longstanding history in horse ownership and association with McGaughey.

“We’ve been doing this for the last 20 years together. Some they own entirely. Some I own entirely. I think we’d all say that we’re very glad we were together at the Kentucky Derby and lucky enough to win it with a horse that we happened to own together,” Janney said. “I said after the race, ‘Shug was very clever to do that so that he didn’t have one owner that was ecstatic and another owner who was less than ecstatic.’ ”

Orb produced the first Kentucky Derby success for Janney, Phipps and McGaughey.

“It was maybe a feeling of relief that it’s actually happening. I thought we went to Churchill with the best horse. You never know. There are a lot of reasons that the best horse doesn’t always win. Rain was one of them,” Janney said. “But I did feel a huge sense of relief when he crossed the finish line and a great feeling of elation.”

Orb, who has been installed as the even-money favorite for Saturday’s 138 Preakness Stakes (G1), jogged at Pimlico Thursday morning before galloping a mile under exercise rider Jenn Patterson.

“Today I just wanted to see how he was moving and how he got over the racetrack,” McGaughey said. “I’m very pleased with what I saw.”

The Hall of Fame trainer said he didn’t lose any sleep over Orb drawing the No. 1 post position at Wednesday’s draw.

“It doesn’t bother me. The ‘1’ is different here than it is at Churchill. The race starts at the three-sixteenths pole here and it’s a straight shot,” McGaughey said. “We’ll be fine. If I got to pick it out, that wouldn’t have been what I picked, but I’m not worried about it.”

Noting the nine-horse field of the Preakness, McGaughey expressed full confidence in jockey Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to victory against 18 rivals at Churchill Downs.

“I think he’ll get a good spot in the race with the speed outside of him. I think Joel will get him where he wants him to be and we’ll take it from there. That’s all you can do,” McGaughey said. “The same thing in the Derby, I thought he had him in a good place. Before he asked him to run, I began to think, ‘Are you too far back?’ But when he pushed the button, I knew we were going to be a factor. I didn’t know if he would win, but I knew he’d be a factor. I think we’ll see the same thing Saturday.”

McGaughey continues to adhere to the “if it happens, it happens” attitude he maintained during Derby week.

“I think if he goes over and runs his race, I’m quietly confident that he’ll be tough to beat,” McGaughey said. “It’s just like I was at the Derby. I was quietly confident all week that he was going to run his race and if that was good enough, it would be good enough. I feel the same this time.”

Shug McGaughey will be available at 8 a.m. Friday during a press conference to be held adjacent to the Preakness Stakes Barn. Jockey Joel Rosario will follow McGaughey at 8:15 a.m., while Rosie Napravnik will meet with the press at 8:30 a.m. 

 

MYLUTE – Trainer Tom Amoss and the gray colt went in different directions Wednesday in their respective journeys from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Race Course.

Amoss headed south to his home state to attend the graduation of his daughter, Ashley, from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, while the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby was flown from Louisville, Ky., to Baltimore for the Preakness.

The college graduation season and the Triple Crown often produce personal and professional conflicts. For Amoss and Mylute, the schedule of events has worked out nicely.  Amoss will be able to handle all of his commitments and still be at Pimlico in plenty of time to saddle the colt for the 138th Preakness, which has a post time of 6:20 p.m. Saturday.

The 280th LSU commencement will be held Thursday afternoon and Ashley’s diploma ceremony at the Manship School of Mass Communication is on Friday afternoon. The Amoss family will celebrate the graduation Friday evening and Amoss, his wife, Colleen, Ashley and younger daughter, Hayley, will fly from New Orleans to Baltimore-Washington International Airport Saturday morning.

“Although the Preakness is something I’m very proud of in terms of my professional life, nothing makes me prouder on a personal level than my daughter graduating from college,” he said. “That comes first.’’

Todd Quast, the general manager and trainer at GoldMark Farm, which co-owns the colt with Whisper Hill Farm, works closely with Amoss and is at Pimlico with Amoss’ staff.

“Tom ships horses all around,” Quast said. “This is obviously a bigger race than most that you ship off to, but his crew is very comfortable with that.”

Quast said there never was a question about how Amoss would handle the schedule this week.

“Family is first,” he said. “His daughter is graduating from LSU. He graduated from LSU. His wife graduated from LSU. I think he would have been disowned if he wouldn’t have gone.

“And this horse is so relaxed, so easy going, that it was really a non-issue. I told him, ‘Go. We’re fine.’ ”

Quast said that Mylute, runner-up to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby (G2), was calm throughout the trip from Kentucky and has settled in at Pimlico, the seventh track he will race over in his 11-month career.

“He handled it; didn’t turn a hair,” Quast said. “There were horses that came off a little hotter, a little sweatier. If he did, it would be a big thing because he is so laid back. He is the consummate professional horse. His demeanor off the track is what you would want. He eats, sleeps and nothing bothers him. It’s a perfect type of situation.”

Mylute went to the track with exercise rider Maurice Sanchez at 6 a.m. Thursday to jog a mile and gallop 1 ¼ miles.

“He looked around and said, ‘All right, I’m home.’ ” Quast said. “He handled it very, very well. He’s very seasoned and very relaxed wherever he goes. He handled it super, had good energy, came off the track good and cooled out good.”

Rated second in the morning line at 5-1, Mylute, who drew the No. 5 post position, will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.

 

DEPARTING – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Illinois Derby (G3) winner Departing got his first taste of the Pimlico racing surface Thursday morning by galloping 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Trina Pasckvale.

“There were a lot of tents out there in the infield for him to look at and that kept his mind occupied a bit. He has been tough on Trina the past few days,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said.

Departing had flown to Pimlico from Churchill Downs on Wednesday, marking the gelding’s first plane trip.

“We had vanned him to Houston and to Chicago,” Stall said. “He got a little stirred up on the plane, but not in a bad way. He dropped his head when he got here and he was fine. I am glad we shipped yesterday and not Thursday or Friday.”

Departing, who will break from the No. 4 post position under Brian Hernandez Jr. in Saturday’s 138th Preakness, has won four of five starts with the only blemish coming in a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

“He did not have a lot of trouble in the Louisiana Derby,” Stall said. “It is like going from the college game to the pros, except for RG III or Andrew Luck. Everything is a little faster and the holes were moving a little faster than he was.

“In the Illinois Derby, he took Brian where he needed to go. I think the extra ground (a sixteenth of a mile farther than the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby) will help him. There is plenty of gas in the tank.”

Stall said that Departing would go to the track at 6:30 on Friday.

“We only have the one horse to train and the one that runs (Tread in the Miss Preakness on Friday) is going to walk,” Stall said.

 

GOLDENCENTS – W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney and RAP Racing’s Goldencents made his daily trip to the track Thursday morning shortly after 8:30 for yet another smooth mile gallop under regular rider Kevin Krigger.

“He looked great, just comfortable stretching, in control but with good energy,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who will try to become the first trainer to win back-to-back editions of the Preakness since Bob Baffert in 2001 (Point Given) and 2002 (War Emblem). Kevin’s just done a brilliant job with this horse and I really like what we’re seeing. They communicate with you through their energy and the way they eat, and he’s doing super.”

A three-time stakes winner including the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Goldencents drew post 2 and was rated as the 8-1 fourth choice in the field of nine when positions were drawn Wednesday.

“The ‘2’ has won the Preakness numerous times, so we’re hoping to add to that,” said O’Neill, who won with his first starter last year when I’ll Have Another overtook the Baffert-trained Bodemeister in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. I’ll Have Another never saw his Triple Crown hopes come to fruition when a leg injury forced him to be scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes.

This year, O’Neill has the chance to play spoiler to Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who has won five in a row after a stirring score in the Kentucky Derby.

“Orb obviously looks like the horse to beat,” the 44-year-old O’Neill said. “He’s not like a one-race hit. All year long he’s been super impressive. Hall of Fame trainer, future Hall of Fame jockey, and he’s looked great here at Pimlico. But we’ve seen Goldencents do some brilliant things in the afternoon. If he does, I think he can beat him.”

Other than Orb, Goldencents has the best credentials of the opposition in the Preakness. He won a stakes race at age 2 (Grade 3 Delta Jackpot) and has won the Sham (G3) and Santa Anita Derby as a sophomore. His dismal 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby may be attributed to the sloppy, sealed track.

A fast track is expected Saturday at Pimlico, with which O’Neill became familiar last year.

“People think of this track as being more of a speed-favoring track than Churchill,” he said. “As long as the horse is doing well and gets a hold of the track, I think he’s got a big chance to knock Orb off.  I would assume with the tighter turns (Goldencents) would be forwardly placed. I think all of us would like a dry track, just so there’s no excuses.”

And while there’s less on the line this year for O’Neill, the Preakness still ranks high on his to-do list.

“Last year off the Derby win, you come in dreaming of the Triple Crown,” he said. “This year we’re dreaming of the double crown. I know it doesn’t get a lot of play, but to have a horse that’s worthy of  being in a Preakness race is an honor and a privilege. I think we’re extremely lucky to have two.”

According to National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame historian Allan Carter, no horse who has finished as far back as 17th in the Kentucky Derby has won the Preakness. Louis Quatorze, who was 16th in the 1996 Derby, had the greatest turnaround in history when he won the Preakness that year for trainer Nick Zito.
GOVENOR CHARLIE – Mike Pegram’s Sunland Derby (G3) winner Govenor Charlie had a routine first morning at Pimlico since shipping from Kentucky Wednesday and went to the track shortly after 6 o’clock Thursday for some exercise.

“He handled the track fine. He galloped a mile to let him get over the track,” said Jimmy Barnes, trainer Bob Baffert’s longtime assistant. “He went over it fine and seemed to like it.”

Baffert, who is scheduled to travel from California to Baltimore on Thursday, waited until he was sure the colt was fully recovered from a minor hoof injury before committing to the Preakness. Govenor Charlie was examined at the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., in mid-April after the injury was discovered. He was able to return to training, but Baffert decided that he was not ready for the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

“It was minor, but I wanted to make sure that there was nothing else involved,” Baffert said. “That’s why I sent him to the clinic and they did the scan on him. I wanted to make sure that we weren’t missing something.”

Govenor Charlie has had three timed works since the visit to Rood and Riddle, including a snappy six-furlong breeze in 1:10 4/5 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

“We’re running because after his last work he’s back to 100 percent,” Baffert said. “I just lost that little time with him, five days of training and an important work. I had to get him right and now he’s 100 percent. The way he worked the other day, it looked like he’s doing well. He’s back to his old self.”

By Tuesday morning, Baffert was willing to say that the colt would go on to the Preakness.

“The main thing is that he came out of the work really well,” Baffert said. “It looks like he’s sitting on a big race. He had to be 100 percent and he had to be training really well. He handled the work really well and didn’t get tired. We’ll find out if he’s good enough.”
ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. is set to saddle Itsmyluckyday for a start in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes with full confidence that the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner will fire his best race.

“He’s given me every sign that he’s ready for the war; he’s ready for the race; he’s ready for the battle,” said Plesa, after sending Itsmyluckyday for a gallop around Pimlico’s racetrack Thursday morning. “Let’s just get it on.”

The veteran South Florida-based trainer also knows what his colt will be up against when he clashes with Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Preakness.

“He’s the best 3-year-old in the country, no question about it. He could be Horse of the Year. We could be sitting here in a very short period of time and they could be talking about him as Horse of the Year,” Plesa said. “Orb has been sensational since he turned 3, and he’s absolutely the horse to beat for all of us. He deserves the accolades he’s getting.”

Itsmyluckyday, who finished second behind Orb in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 30, finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, which was contested over a sloppy, sealed racetrack.

“To me it is a throw-out, no doubt about it. I just want him to be able to show what he’s capable of doing and what he did at Gulfstream wasn’t a byproduct of a bias for a surface, and I don’t think it was,” Plesa said. “We believe he is capable of running those numbers at any racetrack. I thought the Derby was going to be the place, and it wasn’t. As long as this racetrack is fast, he’ll have no excuses.”

“He struggled with the racetrack (at Churchill), there’s no question about that. Did it take anything out of him? No more than a regular race. He’d have been running back in two weeks anyway. If I thought it took anything out of him, A) I wouldn’t have worked him and B), I don’t have to come here.”

Itsmyluckyday, who turned in a sharp half-mile workout (47 1/5 seconds) at Monmouth Park Sunday before shipping to Pimlico Tuesday, has shown all the signs of being ready to revert back to the form he showed in Florida last winter.

“His work Sunday — he just worked so effortlessly – his energy level, the way he looks – all the things that you would look for,” Plesa said. “He’s just doing great. He’s ready to run. All we’re asking for is a fast racetrack. I don’t want to use that as an excuse again I don’t want excuses. I just want to be a realist.”
OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – D. Wayne Lukas has been hovering around history since the start of the millennium, and the Hall of Fame trainer is scheduled to have three chances in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes to finally set the record for most Triple Crown successes.

The former basketball coach, who traded his whistle for a saddle in the 1970s, has been tied with the legendary “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons for the most wins in Triple Crown races (13) by any trainer in history since Commendable won the 2000 Belmont Stakes.

On Saturday, Lukas has one of his best opportunities in recent years with a three-pronged attack in the nine-horse field.

“It would be nice to get over that, but the guy that holds it with me is pretty special in this game,” Lukas said Thursday morning after Oxbow, Titletown Five and Will Take Charge returned from morning gallops at Pimlico. “I think we’ll get over it. I don’t know if it’ll be Saturday, but there’s an excellent chance we’ll get that 14th one somewhere down the line. You know, though, the sooner the better.”

Lukas has had pretty good numbers in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, having saddled five winners from 37 starters – more than any trainer in history.

He’d like nothing more than to add a sixth Preakness, which would put the 77-year-old Wisconsin native one behind turn-of-the-19th-century trainer Robert Walden. Lukas is tied for second with Bob Baffert (Govenor Charlie) and Thomas Healey, whose last winner came during the Great Depression.

“The Preakness is special to me,” Lukas said, while admitting he’d be in favor of Orb winning if he can’t get the prize for one of his three ownership groups on Saturday. “As a trainer you think more or less of achieving something for a certain client.  You don’t run against the other guy or even the other horse. You’re pretty much centered on your own program.”

Titletown Five, owned by some former Green Bay Packers including Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, would be a long shot – already at 30-1 in the morning line. Will Take Charge was rated at 12-1 and Oxbow, who was sixth in the Derby, was made 15-1.

“They had a good morning,” Lukas said after dismounting his pony. “I like the way the track’s playing. I think it’s very fair for everybody. I was real comfortable with it. I like it when they go by and you can’t hear them.”

Lukas said he was a bit miffed and was joking with track handicapper Frank Carulli after Mylute was made the second choice behind Orb in the morning-line odds.

“I personally don’t think Mylute should be the second choice in the race, unless they bet on Rosie (Napravnik),” Lukas said. “I think Will Take Charge and Oxbow are about equal and their odds are going to fall somewhere between 5-1 and 8-1. The other horse is going to be a long shot, probably one of the longest shots on the board.”

Oxbow and Will Take Charge ran 1-2 in the Rebel (G2) in March at Oaklawn Park. Will Take Charge was a troubled eighth in the Kentucky Derby behind Oxbow’s pace-pressing sixth on the sloppy, sealed track. He expects both to run well here.

“Will Take Charge is 17 hands,” Lukas said. “He and Orb have a similar style. They’re not stop-and-start horses, so he didn’t get to run his race in Louisville. Oxbow is a gutsy little horse. I think they both had a chance to be part of the equation in the Derby.”

And Lukas readily admits the percentages are in his favor with a third of the field being saddled by a guy who knows how to win this race.

“I feel comfortable with the field,” he said. “It only takes one horse to spoil your day.”

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Orb has history of winning from rail

Posted on 15 May 2013 by WNST Staff

ORB STRONG MORNING-LINE FAVORITE FOR SATURDAY’S PREACHINESS

Derby Winner Tops Field of 9 for Middle Jewel of Triple Crown at Pimlico

BALTIMORE, 05-15-13 – Kentucky Derby champion Orb was installed as the even-money morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 138th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) after post positions were drawn Wednesday at Pimlico Race Course.

Owned and bred by Maryland native Stuart Janney III in partnership with the Phipps Stable, Orb registered an impressive 2 ½-length triumph in the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 4. The Shug McGaughey-trained 3-year-old colt drew the No. 1 post position for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown that attracted eight other entrants.

Orb will be seeking his sixth-straight victory on a resume that includes stakes scores in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, as well as the Kentucky Derby. Joel Rosario, who was aboard for his Derby win, will have the return mount aboard the son of Malibu Moon.

Five horses that finished behind Orb in the Derby are scheduled to run in the 1 3/16-mile classic, including Mylute, the fifth-place finisher at Churchill who was rated second in the Preakness morning line at 5-1. Rosie Napravnik, who rode the first winner of her career at Pimlico in 2005 before establishing herself as the leading female jockey in the country, will have the mount aboard Mylute.

Departing, the Illinois Derby (G3) winner, was the highest-rated of the new faces on the Triple Crown trail, tabbed third in the line at 6-1.

The Preakness is the highlight of a sensational 13-race Pimlico program that will include nine stakes races and five graded stakes, including the $300,000 Longines Dixie Stakes (G2), the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3), $150,000 Gallorette (G3) and the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3).

 

POST POSITION DRAW QUOTES

ORB (PP #1; 1-1) – Trainer Shug McGaughey: “Well, he won the Fountain of Youth from the ‘1.’ His first race was from the ‘1’ and he finished third in a very good race. Obviously, if I was going to pick it out, I wouldn’t have picked the ‘1.’ But with only nine horses in there to run a mile and three-sixteenths, with a rider like Joel (Rosario), he’s going to figure out what to do. He’ll have him in the right spot.

“I’m not sure that I would have picked the ‘1’ out of there. If it had come out the ‘1’ in the Derby, you’d almost have felt like you needed to go home, but I don’t feel that way here.”

(On have speedy Goldencents and Titletown Five to his outside) “Goldencents with the ‘2’ probably forces our hand a little bit, but we’ll just see what some of the others do. Titletown Five is probably going to show some speed coming off a mile race. I think the field will spread itself out to where we’ll be able to get a position and do what we want to do.”

(What was going on in your mind as the draw went along) “I was probably thinking, ‘I hope I get one of those outside numbers and not the ‘1.’ Really, I was not nearly as worried this time as I was two weeks ago (for the Kentucky Derby draw).

“I’m looking forward to Saturday afternoon. We’ve got an even-money shot in the Preakness. What more could I ask for?”

(Did you think even-money was the correct odds) “Yes, I did. I saw in the papers it being bounced around at even money or 4-5. I might have been a little bit surprised that he is even- money and the second choice is 5-1. It’s a pretty good spread. We’ll see what the public does. As I’ve always said, I wish everything I ran was even-money or the favorite because they’ve got something on their line that makes them that way. Orb is that way, too.”

 

MYLUTE (PP #5; 5-1) – General Manager Todd Quast, GoldMark Farm: “We’re ecstatic about it. With this horse, it doesn’t matter as much, but it sure is nice being inside, a little bit toward the middle, and then having Orb inside us and Departing inside us, the two big threats. It’s great to be outside of them.

“In the Derby, we actually had the same path, basically, as Orb did, but he was three or four lengths in front of us. This time, maybe we keep a little better eye on him with his being on the inside, and we’ll see what happens.”

 

DEPARTING (PP #4; 6-1) – Trainer Al Stall Jr.: “Everything’s fine. There are only nine horses, so the position isn’t that important.

“(Orb) isn’t going to go on with it, so he’s going to have to go around. Out of the nine numbers, the ‘1’ is probably the one you want the least.”

 

GOLDENCENTS (PP #2; 8-1) – Trainer Doug O’Neill: “We weren’t overly concerned about a post position, because in a nine-horse field, we don’t think it’s that significant with the speed  leaving. We’re completely comfortable with No. 2.”

“I love it,” said jockey Kevin Krigger. “We were just looking at the past performances, and we should be able to get a good spot.”

 

ITSMYLUCKYDAY (PP #9; 10-1) – Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.: “My lucky number, 9. I feel good about it. My horse is training excellent. I like being on the outside. I’m going to leave it up to (jockey) John Velazquez. We’ve got tactical speed, so he can put this horse wherever he wants. You can just draw a line through that last race and forget about it.”
GOVENOR CHARLIE (PP #8; 12-1) – Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes: “Perfect. When it was ‘1’, ‘7’ and ‘8’ left … Eight is perfect. I couldn’t be happier.

(Does everybody fear the rail?) “Really, nobody ever wants to be down inside. You always think, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK,’ but it just adds a little more pressure to you because you need the trip. Orb is a good horse. Hopefully, he will overcome it.”

 

WILL TAKE CHARGE (PP #7; 12-1) – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “It’s of no consequence out there. That’s good. I don’t think I can make an excuse for any post positions at all. I think I did fine. I’ll have to come with a different alibi tomorrow. I don’t know that the rail’s all that bad or the outside either.”

 

OXBOW (PP #6; 15-1) – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “I was satisfied all the way around with my three horses, especially Oxbow. It’s a small field with a good run to the turn. I don’t think it’s very significant, except maybe for Orb. Oxbow for a change got a decent post position, so that’s going to help there. I like what happened there very much.”

 

TITLETOWN FIVE (PP #3; 30-1) – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “He’s got good tactical speed, so I think that’s fine.  He will be somewhere in the mix early, so that’s OK.”

Comments (0)

Derby winner Orb arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

Tags: , , , , ,

Derby winner Orb arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

Posted on 13 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB ARRIVES AT PIMLICO FOR PREAKNESS

BALTIMORE, 05-13-13 – Kentucky Derby winner Orb arrived at Pimlico Race Course Monday, stepping off the van that transported him from Belmont Park shortly after 3 p.m. to continue his preparation for Saturday’s 138th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1).

Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s homebred 3-year-old colt hungrily grazed on grass for 40 minutes before being bedded down in Stall 40, the stall annually reserved for the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner.

Trainer Shug McGaughey arrived at Pimlico approximately an hour after the van and was pleased with his colt’s condition, as well as honored that his Derby winner was occupying the same stall that housed so many thoroughbred greats through the years.

“You can’t believe how proud I am,” the Hall of Fame trainer said while addressing the media. “I’m thrilled to be standing here right now. I couldn’t be a happier guy. I’m excited to be here today.”

Orb won his fifth straight race at Churchill Downs on May 4 while providing his trainer with his first Kentucky Derby success in a very distinguished career. McGaughey, who will be seeking his first Preakness victory with Orb, hasn’t competed in the Preakness since 1989, when Kentucky Derby runner-up Easy Goer lost the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown to Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence by a nose.

“Obviously, I’m here with the Derby winner, so I’m probably a lot more at ease than when I came in that time,” said McGaughey, who saddled Easy Goer for a victory over Sunday Silence in the Belmont Stakes (G1). “We’re excited where we are. We’re glad to be here.”

Orb was the second Preakness hopeful to arrive at Pimlico, joining Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Goldencents, the 17th-place Derby finisher who shipped in early last week.

“When I came in ’89, we came in here on Tuesday. This year, I made up my mind I wanted to work him a day out from there and get him down here to try to get him used to his surroundings,” McGaughey said. “I want to school him in the paddock and not do too much at one time, so I figured we’d get him in here today.”

Orb will likely be heavily favored in the Preakness.

“Not that I’m not going to be watching the other horses – watching their workouts, how they do, and how they ship in here – but my main concern is Orb and trying to get him from Monday afternoon to Saturday afternoon the best way that I possibly can,” McGaughey said.

Before stepping onto the Pimlico-bound van, Orb was sent to the track at Belmont for a final workout for the Preakness. The son of Malibu Moon, who breezed a half-mile under exercise rider Jenn Patterson, was timed in 47.18, the fifth-fastest of 96 recorded at the distance Monday morning.

“His work this morning was nothing short of magnificent,”  McGaughey said. “I couldn’t be happier with where we are.”

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Preakness horse Itsmyluckyday to ship to Baltimore Tuesday

Posted on 12 May 2013 by WNST Staff

ITSMYLUCKYDAY ‘AWESOME’ IN PREAKNESS WORK

BALTIMORE, 05-12-13—Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday prepped for Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) with a sharp half-mile workout at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon.

Due to the closure of the Monmouth racetrack during training hours Sunday morning, trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. received permission to work Itsmyluckyday between the third and fourth races. The son of Lawyer Ron breezed a half-mile over a fast track in a swift 47 1/5 seconds before galloping out five furlongs in 59 3/5 seconds.

“He went awesome, but that’s him,” Plesa said. “I couldn’t ask for a better work.”

Plesa plans to ship Itsmyluckyday to Pimlico on Tuesday.

The Florida-bred colt finished a disappointing 15th behind victorious Orb in the Kentucky Derby over a sloppy, sealed Churchill Downs racetrack on May 4. Previously, he had captured the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) before finishing second to Orb in the Florida Derby (G1).

Elvis Trujillo, who rode Itsmyluckyday in the Derby, was aboard for Sunday afternoon’s workout, although Hall of Famer John Velazquez has been named to ride the Plesa trainee in the Preakness.

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Trainer McGaughey continues to be happy with Orb’s work ahead of Preakness

Posted on 10 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB CONTINUES TO LOOK GOOD FOR PREAKNESS STAKES

Itsmyluckyday Scheduled for Work; Goldencents Gallops at Pimlico 

 BALTIMORE, 05-10-13—Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb galloped 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Jenn Patterson at Belmont Park Friday morning, looking the picture of a happy, healthy horse ready to take on the challenge of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 18.

“I was pleased with everything I’ve been seeing,” trainer Shug McGaughey said.

The Hall of Fame trainer has had trouble taking his eyes off the 3-year-old colt that provided him with his first Kentucky Derby success at Churchill Downs on May 4.

“He’s filled out so much physically. I look at him and I can’t believe what I’m seeing from last November to now,” McGaughey said. “Mentally, everything’s come together. He was a bit difficult at the gate all of his 2-year-old year and that’s all behind him. I couldn’t be more pleased with his development.”

Orb, who closed from 17th to post a dominating 2 ½-length victory in the Derby, has won five races in a row, starting with his maiden victory at Aqueduct last November. In his two most recent starts in the Kentucky Derby and the Florida Derby (G1), in particular, Orb was well in command as he crossed the finish line, leading observers to conclude that in each instance he had reserved some energy for his next race.

“I think it’s because he’s getting it done quicker than we think he is. In the Florida Derby, Johnny (Velazquez) said he got there quicker than he thought he would and he had to throttle him down. I think it was the same in the Kentucky Derby. He got to those horses quicker than he (Joel Rosario) thought he would.”

Orb is regarded as a closer, but his running style doesn’t leave him at the mercy of the early pace.

“He comes from back, but they don’t take him back. It depends on the color of the race. If it’s a fast pace, he’ll be off of it, but if it’s slow, I think he’ll actually be laying up close like he was in the Florida Derby – within four, five, six lengths,” McGaughey said. “And he’s got enough of a punch that you don’t take him out of the game plan when you do lay up close.”

Itsmyluckyday, who finished second to Orb in the Florida Derby before faltering to 15th in the Kentucky Derby, galloped at Monmouth Park Friday morning. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who arrived from his South Florida home base to Monmouth Thursday afternoon, supervised the morning exercise.

“He looked as good to me as he did in Kentucky (before the Derby),” Plesa said. “His gallop today was very, very well into the bit. He’s just feeling very good.”

Forecasts for weekend rains in New Jersey caused Plesa to call an audible while mapping out Itsmyluckyday’s work schedule.

“I’m hoping to work him the next couple days. We’re expecting rain up here. I was initially going to work him Sunday, but I’ve moved it up to Saturday,” Plesa said. “We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow. I can work him as late as Monday. If something happens and it’s still raining on Monday, which it could be, I don’t have to work him, but my preference would be to work him.”

Plesa said Itsmyluckyday is tentatively scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Tuesday.

Goldencents also turned in an enthusiastic gallop Friday morning at Pimlico Race Course under his jockey, Kevin Krigger. It was the first piece of serious exercise for the colt since he finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. He returned to the track Thursday and jogged.

Krigger is spending the two weeks between the Derby and the Preakness with trainer Doug O’Neill’s outfit at Pimlico. He is the exercise rider for all 14 of the O’Neill horses stabled at the Baltimore track and has picked up a pair of mounts on the Saturday racing program at Pimlico, but his priority is Goldencents, the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner.

Goldencents jogged for a half-mile and appeared to be very alert and interested when Krigger asked him to pick up the pace and gallop about six furlongs.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been able to gallop him and I got what I was looking for out of him – a pretty good relaxed gallop,” Krigger said. “He stayed relaxed and that’s basically what I’m focusing on, letting him achieve the workouts that he needs, not be rank doing it and be comfortable and relaxed. I got that out of him this morning.”

Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson liked what he saw from the Into Mischief colt during the 20 minutes he was on the track Friday.

“He’s one horse that gets a lot out of his training,” Sisterson said. “We wanted to see how he would come out of the Kentucky Derby and he’s bounced out of it with high energy. He moved over the track well and Kevin was really happy with him this morning.”

Goldencents trained well at Churchill Downs but turned in a disappointing performance in the Derby, which was run over a sloppy, sealed surface. He was near the pace early, but on the run up the backstretch Krigger realized that Goldencents would not be a contender in the final quarter mile and didn’t ride him hard to the wire.

“It’s not the first race that he’s not run to expectations, but it was the Derby and a race that we all wanted to win,” Krigger said. “At the same time it was a race that we enjoyed participating in. We didn’t get the turnout that we were looking for but he came out of the Derby happy and he came out of the Derby sound and his energy level is up. It’s like he didn’t even run last week. We’re just keeping our focus. I don’t think any of us has lost any confidence. We looked back at the race and if he had gotten beaten in the stretch we would probably feel more disappointed than we do. It’s as simple as he didn’t run his race at all. We’re just drawing a line through that race and staying focused and keeping our confidence. As you can see, he’s doing the same thing. We’re all on the same page.”

Goldencents is scheduled to gallop again on Saturday and Sunday. O’Neill is flying in from California on Sunday to watch the colt breeze on Monday morning.

Krigger said that O’Neill will see a horse that has adapted well to the track.

“He looks great, is traveling great,” Krigger said. “From my first day galloping him, I’m pretty confident that we’re going to be pretty competitive in the Preakness.”

Krigger is looking to become the third African-American rider to win the Preakness and the first since 1898 when Willie Simms won aboard Sly Fox. George “Spider” Anderson captured the 1889 Preakness with Buddhist. Six African-American riders have previously ridden in the Preakness. The last was Wayne Barrett, who finished eighth in 1985 with Sparrowvon.

Illinois Derby (G3) winner Departing galloped “a spirited” 1 ½ miles in the words of trainer Al Stall Jr. on Friday morning at Churchill Downs.  Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Departing is scheduled to work Sunday morning at 8:30, walk Monday and then train the next two mornings before shipping to Pimlico on Wednesday.

GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Friday morning. A decision on the Preakness status of the fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher will be made in the morning.

“He trained well this morning and showed good energy. I was satisfied with what I saw and passed that on to the owners,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “After he trains in the morning, I’ll call the owners at 7 and we will make a decision on the race.”

All three of trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Preakness hopefuls, Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five, galloped early Friday morning at Churchill. Lukas plans to van nine horses to Pimlico on Tuesday with a 3 a.m. departure from Churchill Downs.

The Hall of Fame trainer saddled Oxbow and Will Take Charge for sixth- and eighth-place finishes, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby. Lukas was particularly impressed with Will Take Charge’s effort during a troubled journey.

“You look at the aerial view of the race, and Will Take Charge may have been running the best of all,” Lukas said. “He was moving with Orb and then he got checked twice when Verrazano ducked in and out in front of him.”

Normandy Invasion galloped at Belmont Park Friday morning for trainer Chad Brown. The Tapit colt owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, remains a candidate for the Preakness. Brown said on Sunday morning that the fourth-place finisher in the Derby – who led in the stretch – would not run back in two weeks in the Preakness. However, Brown reconsidered that stance on Monday and decided to wait until this weekend before deciding whether Normandy Invasion would be entered in the Preakness.

Govenor Charlie, Vyjack and Street Spice remained Preakness candidates Friday.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Derby winner Orb to ship to Baltimore Monday

Posted on 09 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB PLEASES TRAINER; SCHEDULED TO SHIP TO PIMLICO MONDAY

 

Goldencents Jogs over Pimlico track; Hernandez Set for First Preakness Ride

 

BALTIMORE, 05-09-13—Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb pleased trainer Shug McGaughey during his morning visit to the sloppy track at Belmont Park Thursday. The Kentucky Derby (G1) winner also gave exercise rider Jenn Patterson all the right signs in his preparation for the 138th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico on May 18.

 

“He jogged three-eighths to a half-mile and galloped a mile. I thought everything was good,” said McGaughey, whose colt had jogged a mile on a sloppy track Wednesday in his first visit to the track since his 2 ½-length victory at Churchill Downs last Saturday. “The track was still sloppy. Jenn said he was kind of bucking and playing and jumping the water puddles on the backstretch. I was pleased with what I saw. His energy level is right where you’d want it to be on Thursday after Saturday.”

 

McGaughey outlined the challenge he faces while preparing Orb for a return to the races in just two weeks.

 

“The first thing we’ve got to do and what we’ve been doing is getting him over his last race – try to get him back on his feet the best we can, get him fresh and happy again,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “Next week, we’ll get him ready to run again and that’ll hopefully be through the breeze on Monday. We just want to put him back in the game. We don’t need anything fast, just something that puts his mind back on what he’s doing. Then, we’ll get him to Pimlico and get him acclimated. There’s not much else we can do.”

 

McGaughey, who said it was likely that Orb would ship to Pimlico on Monday following his breeze that morning, expressed confidence that his Derby winner was up to the challenge of running back in two weeks.

 

“Day in and day out, with your better horses, you don’t want to run them back in two weeks, because they give you a lot when they run. You’ve got to train them a little bit to get them to run again,” McGaughey said. “There’s no compromise here. You’ve got to do it. You’ve just got to hope you haven’t drained your horse over the winter with prep races and his training, so he can bounce out of a big race like he had on Derby Day. But I think we’ll be fine.”

 

Goldencents, the only Preakness candidate on the Pimlico grounds thus far, is also set for the two-week turnaround following his 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Into Mischief returned to the track for the first time since the Derby Thursday morning when he jogged once around the Pimlico oval under jockey Kevin Krigger.

 

The Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner was shipped from Kentucky Monday afternoon and arrived at Pimlico early Tuesday morning. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt walked the shedrow Tuesday and Wednesday morning and was given his first bit of exercise for the Preakness by Krigger at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

 

Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said that Goldencents will jog and gallop Friday morning and will have a timed workout on Monday.

 

“Basically, this morning was just to have him stretch his legs, get warmed up for tomorrow,” Krigger said. “It was more to feel how good he felt and he felt perfect today. Everything was good. He was smooth, graceful on the track, and relaxed. That’s all the factors you’re looking for.”

 

O’Neill sent 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another to Pimlico the Monday after the race to prepare for the Preakness, which the colt won. Though Goldencents did not match I’ll Have Another’s result in the Derby, finishing 17th after contesting the early pace, O’Neill is using a similar program to get him to the Preakness.

 

“It was successful last year, so why change it?” Sisterson said.

 

Goldencents, a three-time stakes winner, got his first look at the Pimlico track during the easy jog.

 

“This is one of the first steps training-wise leading up to the Preakness,” Sisterson said. “We just jogged him and we were very happy. There was no sign of stiffness or tightness. His energy level was high. He’s a very happy horse.”

 

Krigger has ridden Goldencents in all seven of his career starts and said the Derby, run on a sloppy, sealed track at Churchill Downs, was an uncharacteristic performance.

 

“The key to him is to have him run his race,” Krigger said. “If you look at the Kentucky Derby, at least to me, that wasn’t the race we expected to see out of him at all. We had a lot of factors in the race that could have been the reason. We’re here trying to regroup, gather him back up and get back on the winning trail.”

 

Sisterson and other members of the O’Neill staff have been enjoying their second visit to Baltimore for the Preakness. The Maryland Jockey Club arranged for them to attend a Baltimore Orioles game against the Kansas City Royals Thursday night.

 

“We said last year that we’d love to get back,” Sisterson said. “We didn’t expect it to be the year after.”

 

As of Thursday, as many as eight Derby starters could make the same quick turnaround at Pimlico. The Al Stall Jr.-trained Departing, who captured the Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne in his last start, will have the luxury of four weeks between starts.

 

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who is looking forward to his first Preakness appearance, recalled his first ride aboard Departing at Fair Grounds last December. Seven weeks after capping off his 27th birthday with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on Fort Larned, Hernandez was on a roll at Fair Grounds with four victories from eight mounts.

 

“I had just won on Bind and Al was bragging on this first-time starter in the next race,” Hernandez said. “That was Departing. I had never been on him and he ran huge. He was my fifth winner and the most impressive.”

 

Fast forward nearly five months later and Departing, owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, has emerged as one of the top contenders to Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Preakness.

 

Hernandez has been aboard Departing for all five of his starts, all victories save for a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

 

Following the Louisiana Derby, the Kentucky Derby was ruled out and Departing was pointed to the Illinois Derby (G3), a race he won by 3 ¼ lengths despite breaking from the No. 13 post position.

 

“After the Louisiana Derby, they made the plan to go to the Illinois Derby and then the Preakness,” Hernandez said. “I can’t be disappointed in missing the Derby. We have a chance to upset Orb and the Preakness is not a bad race to run in.”

 

“After this meet was over, I used to ride at Delaware Park and I have ridden some at Laurel but never at Pimlico,” Hernandez said. “I am going to go over a day early and ride a horse for Al (Tread in the Miss Preakness Stakes).”

 

Departing continued his Preakness preparations Thursday morning at Churchill Downs, galloping two miles over a fast track under Trina Pasckvale.

 

“We changed it up a little bit this morning, but we had the luxury to do that,” Stall said of a break in the regular routine of galloping 1 ½ miles.

 

With a 60-percent chance of rain in the forecast for Friday, Stall said he plans to give Departing his final work for the Preakness at Churchill on Sunday morning.

 

GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute jogged in the mile chute and then galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs for trainer Tom Amoss.

 

Amoss said a decision on the fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher’s status for the Preakness would be made after training Saturday. If Mylute is a go for Baltimore, he would represent a second Preakness starter for Amoss, who saddled Hot Wells for a fourth-place finish behind Real Quiet in 1998.

 

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent all three of his Preakness candidates to the track at Churchill Thursday morning. Oxbow and Will Take Charge, the sixth- and eighth-place Derby finishers, respectively, galloped 1 ½ miles. Titletown Five jogged twice around the track.

 

Bob Baffert-trained Govenor Charlie also jogged at Churchill.

 

On the morning after his arrival at Monmouth Park from Churchill Downs, Itsmyluckyday went to the track for a two-mile jog Thursday morning.

 

“It was kind of a nasty morning and since we just arrived yesterday from Churchill we just jogged him,” said Frankie Perez, assistant to trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who was enroute from South Florida to New Jersey. ”From a scale from one to 10, he was a 10.”

 

The Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner, who finished a disappointing 15th in the Kentucky Derby, will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the Preakness.

 

Normandy Invasion jogged in the rain at Belmont Park for a second day Thursday. Trainer Chad Brown said that the fourth-place finisher in the Derby is 50-50 for the Preakness. He expects to make a decision over the weekend after he has had a chance to watch the Tapit colt gallop.

 

Vyjack remains a candidate for the Preakness, but trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Thursday that no decision has been made on whether Pick Six Racing’s gelding will be entered. Due to the wet weather in New York this week, Rodriguez has not been able to do very much with the gelding since he returned from Kentucky after finishing 18th in the Derby.

 

“We’ve been babying him,” Rodriguez said. “I would like to gallop him and see what’s going on.”

 

Rodriguez said that after he has the opportunity to watch Vyjack gallop a couple days, he will talk about the Preakness with owner David Wilkenfeld.

 

“I’m just going to wait and make my decision and then tell the owner what is going on,” he said. “So far, everything is good. I have to talk with the owner first and see what he wants to do.”

Trainer Greg Geier said Thursday that he will make a decision on running James Tafel’s Street Spice in the Preakness after he breezes the colt Saturday morning in Chicago. Tafel bred and owned 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who is the sire of Street Spice. Geier trains eight horses for Tafel.

 

NEARLY 500 HORSES NOMINATED TO PREAKNESS WEEKEND STAKES

While the Preakness is rightfully the centerpiece of the Pimlico spring meeting, sixteen other stakes (six graded) for thoroughbreds will provide a weekend full of excitement for racing fans. A total of 499 horses were nominated to those added-money races.

The $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) and $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) headline the Friday, May 17 card that features six other stakes races. Thirty-one three-year-old fillies were nominated to the Black-Eyed Susan, including Sagamore Farms Walkwithapurpose, who won a pair of stakes races at Laurel Park this winter. Thirty runners were nominated to the Pimlico Special, including Maryland-bred Richard’s Kid, who has earned $2.3 million and won three Grade 1 races.

Thirty-five fillies were nominated to the $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes. Thirty-two horses were nominated to the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, including 15-time stakes winner Ben’s Cat. Thirty-five female turf specialists were nominated to the $100,000 The Very One Stakes, while twenty-six were nominated to the $100,000 Skipat Stakes. Thirty-six three-year-old fillies were nominated to the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes and another sixteen to the $40,000 Kattegat’s Pride Starter Handicap for Maryland-breds.

The Pimlico racing office will draw the May 17 card on Sunday afternoon.

The Saturday, May 18 Preakness undercard features eight added money races, including four graded. Thirty-six top grass specialists were entered in the $300,000 Dixie Stakes (G2). Thirty-two fillies and mares were nominated to the $150,000 Gallorette Handicap (G3). The $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) features forty-one nominations. Twenty-five fillies and mares were nominated to the $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff (G3). Thirty-three three-year-old sprinters were nominated to the $100,000 Chick Lang. Forty-four turf specialists were nominated to the $100,000 James Murphy. Twenty-eight two-year olds were nominated to the $75,000 Rollicking Stakes. There were nineteen Maryland-breds on the list for the $40,000 Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap.

The Pimlico racing office will draw the May 18 card on Wednesday, May 15.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Derby winner Orb works at Belmont in preparation for Preakness

Posted on 08 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB RETURNS TO RACETRACK TO PREP FOR PREAKNESS STAKES

 

Velazquez to Ride Itsmyluckyday; Smith Gains Mount on Will Take Charge; Leparoux Aboard Titletown Five

 

BALTIMORE, 05-08-13 – On a rainy Wednesday morning at Belmont Park, Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb went to the racetrack for the first time since his Kentucky Derby victory last Saturday, jogging a mile under exercise rider Jenn Patterson in preparation for the Preakness Stakes on May 18.

 

“The weather was terrible, so instead of galloping, he just jogged,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “It was a pretty miserable morning when he went out. But Jenn said he was feeling good and moving good. All signs are good.”

 

Although plans changed Wednesday due to the muddy track, McGaughey said Orb will gallop Thursday morning, rain or shine, and is likely to breeze on Monday before shipping to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.

 

After adding a Kentucky Derby victory to his Hall of Fame resume, McGaughey has been somewhat overwhelmed by the avalanche of congratulations and tributes to his consummate horsemanship.

 

“It’s hugely appreciated. I appreciated the reception we got in Louisville. What’s happened after the Derby is absolutely mind-boggling and very, very flattering for me,” McGaughey said. “The phone calls, the emails, the newspaper articles have just been absolutely wonderful. Nobody knows how much how I appreciate this reception.”

 

McGaughey has long been respected for his low-key, no-nonsense approach to training thoroughbreds.

 

“I try to conduct myself in the right way and try to run my stable in the best possible way. I try to surround myself with good people, who played a role in this,” he said. “I think that people have appreciated that. I had no idea that a horse race could bring that out.”

 

Itsmyluckyday, who arrived at Monmouth Park from Churchill Downs Wednesday morning, will have a new rider for the Preakness. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will replace Elvis Trujillo aboard the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner, who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby.

 

“We had an opportunity to ride John Velazquez. No slight to Elvis Trujillo. Elvis did a fantastic job, no question. The Derby was what the Derby was. It was a racetrack that was unfavorable to our horse,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “But with John being open, we just felt that we had to take advantage of having one of the very top riders in the country.”

 

The son of Lawyer Ron had returned to the racetrack Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs, where he jogged two miles.

 

Five-time Preakness-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas has firmed up the jockey assignments for his three Preakness candidates. He reported Wednesday morning that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will replace Jon Court aboard Will Take Charge, while Julien Leparoux will have the mount aboard Titletown Five and Gary Stevens will retain the mount on Oxbow.

 

Smith, 47, has competed in the Preakness 14 times since 1984. He picked up his lone win on Prairie Bayou in 1993 and has two seconds on his resume: Mine That Bird in 2009 and Bodemeister in 2012. Leparoux has been blanked with five Preakness mounts, including 2008 second-place finisher Macho Again. Stevens has ridden two Preakness winners, Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001), from 16 mounts.

 

Titletown Five, who finished fourth in the Derby Trial (G3), walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs Wednesday following his half-mile work of: 47 3/5 on Tuesday. The son of Tiznow is owned in partnership by Lukas, Pro Football Hall of Famers Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, plus Ed Martin, David Miller and Margaret Shade.

 

Lukas sent Calumet Farm’s Oxbow and Willis Horton’s Will Take Charge to the track for the first time Wednesday since their respective sixth- and eighth-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby.

 

“I was going to walk them another day, but I had them out on the lawn yesterday about 3 and they were so disruptive, I was afraid they were going to hurt themselves,” Lukas said. “I had to bring them out today.”

 

Oxbow and Will Take Charge both jogged twice around the Churchill track.

 

Trainer Doug O’Neill’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Goldencents walked the shedrow at his barn at Pimlico for 30 minutes Wednesday morning. He will return to the track at 8:30 Thursday morning for the first time since finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday.

 

Goldencents shipped from Kentucky Monday and was the first Preakness candidate to arrive at Pimlico.

 

“He’s great. He’s settled in really well,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. “We’re happy with him.”

 

Eleven other horses from O’Neill’s stable traveled overnight from Kentucky and arrived at Pimlico at 4 a.m. Wednesday. Some of them will compete at Pimlico.

 

“It depends how they train over the track,” Sisterson said. “We expect to run a few, but we’re going to make sure that they’re all 100 percent before we make a decision. They all shipped in well.”

 

Jockey Kevin Krigger, who will be aboard Goldencents when he goes out to jog Thursday, has a mount on Sunday’s program at Pimlico.

 

GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Mylute returned to the track for the first time since the Run for the Roses with an easy jog early Wednesday morning at Churchill.

 

“Everything was fine this morning,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “He will gallop the rest of the week and the partnership will get together Saturday after training and make a decision on the Preakness.”

 

Mike Pegram’s Governor Charlie came out of his work on Tuesday in fine shape and remains a prospect for the Preakness, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday morning.

 

The Midnight Lute colt completed six furlongs on 1:11 2/5 at Churchill Downs. Following his routine, Baffert will fly in from California and watch the colt breeze before making the call on whether to enter the Preakness.

 

“He’s going to work Sunday or Monday and then I’ll decide,” Baffert said. “He worked really well. He’s going to have to convince me when he works again.”

Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing galloped 1 ½ miles on a fast track early Wednesday at Churchill Downs. Trained by Al Stall Jr., the Illinois Derby (G3) winner is scheduled to work Saturday or Sunday depending on weather. Friday’s forecast in Louisville is for scattered thunderstorms with a 50 percent chance of rain and Saturday’s outlook is for a few showers and a 30 percent chance of rain.

 

Normandy Invasion, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Vyjack, 18th in the Derby, and Street Spice remain candidates for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

O’Neill horse Goldencents settling in after arriving at Pimlico for Preakness

Posted on 07 May 2013 by WNST Staff

GOLDENCENTS SETTLES IN AT PIMLICO TO PREPARE FOR PREAKNESS START

Lukas Adds a Third Candidate; Itsmyluckyday Confirmed for Middle Jewel

 

BALTIMORE, 05-07-13 – Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents settled in at Pimlico Race Course Tuesday after arriving in the middle of the night from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

In 2012, trainer Doug O’Neill sent Derby winner I’ll Have Another to Baltimore two days after the race, and the colt won the Preakness. Goldencents didn’t run well in the Derby Saturday, finishing 17th on the sloppy, sealed track, but O’Neill decided to follow the plan that worked so well last year and shipped the colt to Pimlico early to prepare for the Preakness.

Maryland Jockey Club officials approved O’Neill’s request to have his Derby horse and 10 other runners occupy Barn D, the same place I’ll Have Another stayed in 2012.

“The horse is doing fantastic,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. “He ate up everything last night. We just walked him this morning and his energy level is high. He’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and we’re happy to see that in him.”

Goldencents flew from Louisville to New York on Monday afternoon and was sent by van to Baltimore. He arrived at 1:30 a.m.

“That was a little later than expected,” Sisterson said. “We got him bedded down straightaway and he got a good night’s rest.”

The horse walked the shedrow at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

“He was out for about 25 minutes to get familiar with the surroundings,” Sisterson said. “His ears were pricked and he was happy.”

Goldencents is expected to return to the track for a jog on Thursday, resume galloping on Friday and have a timed workout Monday morning.

Sisterson said the O’Neill operation was comfortable at Pimlico.

“We love it here,” he said. “We’ve got great memories so we don’t plan to change that.”

Jockey Kevin Krigger is a member of Team O’Neill at Pimlico. The 29-year-old native of St. Croix, has ridden Goldencents in all seven of his starts and will be aboard in the Preakness. He will be the first African-American rider to compete in the Preakness since Wayne Barnett in 1985.

Krigger accepted an invitation to remain with the colt between the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He will exercise Goldencents and other O’Neill-trained runners in Maryland and ride them in the races at Pimlico.

“This horse is our bread and our butter, our best horse,” Krigger said. “The day I was leaving to go back to California on Monday, my agent phoned me and said ‘Doug would like you to stay and get on the horse.’ This is something I’ve always wanted to do, gallop him every day. It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make.”

Krigger said he understands that he could lose some business with trainers who regularly give him mounts in California and is willing to make that gamble.

“If we get it done, I don’t see where that should be a negative impact,” Krigger said. “I’m going to give him my best to get it done. If we get it done, just me staying here and winning it should erase the fact that I stayed.”

Krigger has ridden in a number of states during his career and laughed as he recalled how he failed to get an agent when he looking into riding on the Maryland circuit a few years ago.

“I tried coming here when I went to Golden Gate Fields,” Krigger said. “I contacted a few agents and they said, ‘Nah, don’t worry about it.” So I didn’t.”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed Tuesday that Titletown Five will be entered for the Preakness, giving him three starters for the second time in his career. Kentucky Derby runners Oxbow (6th) and Will Take Charge (8th) are also scheduled to compete in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Lukas decided to add Titletown Five to the roster of Preakness candidates after the Tiznow colt worked a half-mile in :47 3/5 Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. It was the fifth fastest of 35 recorded at the distance. Titletown Five has a record of 1-2-1 from seven starts. In his most recent outing, he was fourth in the Derby Trial (G3).

“We had flirted with the idea of going into the Kentucky Derby and late additions bumped us from that,” Lukas said. “He has been doing so well lately and today just highlighted that. It was a brilliant work and a great gallop out. I just thought that it was a good spot maybe to try him. He’s an exceptional horse He’s very talented with good tactical speed. He’ll make some noise there.”

Lukas saddled Editor’s Note (3rd), Victory Speech (5th) and Prince of Thieves (7th) for the 1996 Preakness. If all three go to the post on May 18, it will extend his Preakness record to 40 competitors, including winners Codex (1980), Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999).

“I feel comfortable starting this horse,” he said. “I own a piece of him with Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, the all-pro players. They’re excited about him and so am I.”

Lukas said he was securing a rider for Titletown Five.

Itsmyluckyday, who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, was confirmed Tuesday morning as a likely starter in the Preakness. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. expressed confidence that the sloppy track at Churchill Downs was the reason for his Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner’s subpar showing.

“For a horse to train that well and run that poorly and come out of the race so well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out,” he said.

Itsmyluckyday has shown his connections nothing but positive signals since the Derby.

“Everything’s going 100 percent,” Plesa said.” He went to the track today, and my assistant trainer (Frankie Perez) and exercise rider (Peter Shelton) gave him a 10-plus on a scale from 1-10.”

The son of Lawyer Ron jogged two miles at Churchill Downs.

“It’s a good thing we went around twice and not once because I might not have gotten him back to the barn, because he was feeling so good,” Shelton said.

Itsmyluckyday was scheduled to leave Churchill Downs at 4 p.m. and is expected to arrive at Monmouth Park at approximately 2 a.m. Wednesday. Plesa said his colt would likely arrive at Pimlico on Monday or Tuesday.

Meanwhile at Belmont Park, trainer Shug McGaughey was pleased with what he saw in Kentucky Derby winner Orb Tuesday morning.

“We walked him under tack. Right now we’re in good shape,” McGaughey said. “He looks the picture, looks bright, happy with himself.”

McGaughey said Orb would return to the racetrack Wednesday morning.

The Bob Baffert-trained Govenor Charlie worked six furlongs at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. Working in company with Fed Biz, Govenor Charlie was clocked in 1:11 2/5 after posting fractions of :12, :23 4/5, :35 2/5 and :58 3/5 under Ricardo Santana Jr. Stakes winner Fed Biz, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, was also clocked in 1:11 2/5.

Also at Churchill, Illinois Derby (G3) winner Departing galloped 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning and is scheduled to tune up for the Preakness with a breeze on Saturday or Sunday. Mylute, fifth-place finisher in the Derby, walked the shedrow and could return to the racetrack on Wednesday morning.

Chad Brown-trained Normandy Invasion, the fourth-place Derby finisher, and  Rudy Rodriguez-trained Vyjack, who finished 18th in the Derby, remain Preakness possibles.

Street Spice, the fifth-place finisher in the Illinois Derby (G3), is under consideration for a run in the Preakness. Trainer Greg Geier said Tuesday that he will make the decision on whether to try the Preakness after he works the Street Sense colt this weekend.

The Kentucky-bred has a 2-0-1 record in six starts, all at Chicago-area tracks. At odds of 44-1, he finished 5 ½ lengths behind Preakness-bound Departing in the Illinois Derby on April 20 at Hawthorne.

“He had a lot of trouble in the Illinois Derby and got bumped around three or four times,” Geier said. “He was about eight-wide all the way around there.”

Bellarmine, an allowance winner on the Kentucky Derby undercard, has been withdrawn from Preakness consideration by trainer Ken McPeek.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Vyjack, Normandy Invasion now candidates to join Preakness field

Posted on 06 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DEPARTING LOOMS AS DANGEROUS ‘NEW SHOOTER’ FOR 138THPREAKNESS STAKES

Derby Winner Orb ‘Bright;’ Normandy Invasion, Vyjack Enter Picture

BALTIMORE, 05-06-13 –Although several other horses that prepped at Fair Grounds ran well in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Al Stall has no regrets about having Departing skip the race to run fresh in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 18.

Graduates of the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby at Stall’s hometown track in New Orleans finished in the five spots behind Orb in the Derby, run over a sloppy sealed track at Churchill Downs.

“With those conditions, I was happy that the horse was sitting back in a nice comfortable stall instead of in a mile-and-a-quarter war on a tough racetrack,” Stall said Monday in his office at Churchill Downs. “I didn’t think about that. We were committed to what we were going to do and we don’t look back.”

Departing, bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, was a Derby candidate, but was taken off the trail when he finished third in the Louisiana Derby. Following that race, Stall and the owners changed their approach and scrapped plans for Kentucky, deciding to focus on the Preakness. Departing was sent to Hawthorne Park on April 20 to run in the Illinois Derby and he cruised to a 3 ¼-length victory from an outside post.

With four wins in five career starts, the War Front gelding heads the list of new shooters headed to Pimlico for the 138th Preakness. Stall said that the Illinois Derby route was good for Departing.

“The timing was perfect,” Stall said. “He’s not that big of a horse. The race was a prep for the Preakness. That’s what Hawthorne designed it as and we’re going to follow it that way.”

Although Departing finished a competitive third in the Louisiana Derby behind Revolutionary and Mylute – who were third and fifth, respectively in the Kentucky Derby – his connections decided to change course.

“The Louisiana Derby was only his fourth race,” Stall said. “He ran well, but we just thought that he was lacking in seasoning. He might have gotten in a little bit of trouble and it looked like the holes were moving a little bit faster than he was.”

Stall said Departing showed talent, but that he won his first three races so easily that he really needed more experience before stepping onto the big stage of the Triple Crown. The Louisiana Derby clearly picked him up quite a bit and he showed a lot of seasoning and a little guts in the Illinois Derby. It’s apples and oranges. The way he trains every day. He’s more into it. He just has more life to him. That last little piece of seasoning he got was the Louisiana Derby.”

Stall plans to gallop Departing at Churchill Down the rest of the week and is planning to give him a breeze over the weekend before shipping to Maryland on Wednesday, May 15. The veteran trainer was impressed with the Shug McGaughey-trained Orb’s performance in the Derby.

“He was the best horse that day,” Stall said. “He seems to be a horse going in the right direction. He’s got all the pedigree in the world, all the connections. He’s strictly the horse to beat. I have no idea whether we can beat him or not. We’re happy with our horse and are going to take a chance.”

The Kentucky Derby winner, who flew from Louisville to New York on Sunday, has settled in nicely at trainer Shug McGaughey’s Belmont Park barn.

“He shipped real well. This morning he walked around here great and ate his lunch right up,” McGaughey said. “He seems to be as bright as can be.”

The media demands for his time commenced yesterday with interviews with CNN, NBC Sports and radio, but McGaughey regards the attention as a small price to pay for adding the Kentucky Derby to his Hall of Fame resume.

“I’m prepared. I’ve read about it and watched other people go through it,” McGaughey said. “I was ready for it to happen to me.”

Orb, who has won five straight races, is expected to train for the Preakness at Belmont before shipping to Pimlico early next week.

A couple of Derby participants, Normandy Invasion (4th) and Vyjack (18th) were added Monday to the list of candidates for the Preakness.

Trainer Chad Brown said Monday that Normandy Invasion, who finished fourth in the Derby after leading in the stretch, is a possibility for the Preakness.

“Originally, I threw the Preakness out,” Brown said, “but he’s come out of the race so well that I’m at least going to remain neutral on the topic until I can see the horse go back to the track and get a gauge on his energy level and his soundness.”

Brown said the colt was scheduled to fly from Kentucky to New York on Monday and that a decision on the Preakness would likely be made by this weekend.

Vyjack, who had a wild trip in the Derby and finished 18th, might join the Preakness field, trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Monday morning. Rodriguez said he will take a close look at the Into Mischief gelding when he returns to his barn at Aqueduct on Tuesday. The Derby was a disappointment because Vyjack lost his composure and dragged jockey Garrett Gomez close to a torrid early pace.

“Garrett told me that the horse ran off for the first five or six furlongs and that he just eased him up. He said he had no control of the horse in the beginning,” Rodriguez said. “He said the horse broke well, but he shied away from the crowd and when he took hold of him the horse just took off. He was never able to relax.”

Rodriguez said Vyjack came out of the race in very good physical shape. 

Other Derby starters confirmed for the Preakness are Goldencents (17th) and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained duo of Oxbow (6th) and Will Take Charge (8th).

Goldencents, who captured the Santa Anita Derby (G1) prior to his Derby disappointment, is scheduled to fly from Louisville to New York Monday afternoon before vanning to Pimlico Monday night. Goldencents is trained by Doug O’Neill, who saddled I’ll Have Another for victories in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Oxbow and Will Take Charge are scheduled to walk the shedrow at Churchill Downs tomorrow and Wednesday before likely returning to the track on Thursday. 

Itsmyluckyday, who finished 15th in the Derby, is scheduled to van from Churchill Downs to Monmouth Park Tuesday afternoon. If all goes well in his training at the New Jersey track, the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt is likely to return in the Preakness.

Assistant trainer Frankie Perez, who used to work for trainer Frank Brothers, learned long ago that a disappointing finish in the Derby shouldn’t eliminate a horse from Preakness consideration. Brothers saddled Hansel for a victory in the 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes following a 10th-place finish in the Derby.

“He didn’t run any good in the Derby and he ran back (in the Preakness) and won,” said Perez, who has worked for Plesa for 20 years.

Mylute, who finished fifth in the Derby, remained a possibility for the Preakness, trainer Tom Amoss said. 

“No decision has been made about the Preakness,” Amoss said. “He is doing well, has good energy and probably will go back to the track Wednesday and have a very light day.”

Bob Baffert-trained Govenor Charlie, the Sunland Park Derby (G3) winner, and Bellarmine, one of three winners on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard for trainer Ken McPeek are also under consideration for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

Fear the Kitten is no longer considered a Preakness contender.

Comments (0)

Your Monday Reality Check: Could a Triple Crown be in “Orb-it”?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check: Could a Triple Crown be in “Orb-it”?

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Glenn Clark

LOUISVILLE — After the horses cross the finish line every year at the Kentucky Derby, there are inevitably two instinctual reactions. (Unless you attend the race at Churchill Downs, because then there’s actually three-the first being to say “wait, which horse was that?”)

Immediately after NBC’s Larry Collmus identifies the victor (and how fantastic was Collmus’ “ORRRRRRBBBBBBB” exclamation as the #16 horse made his move down the stretch Saturday?), both hardcore and casual racing fans alike try to identify whether or not they won any money on the race and then start to wonder “could this be the one?”

They’re of course wondering that in terms of whether or not the horse is capable of winning the sport’s elusive Triple Crown, a feat not accomplished since 1978 (Affirmed) and so desperately desired to be seen for a first time by a generation of fans. Perhaps making the wait more excruciating has been the heartbreak that has come with so many close calls during the 35 year span. The wrenching has just finally begun to wear off from last year’s near miss, as the Doug O’Neill trained I’ll Have Another was scratched just 24 hours ahead of his date with destiny in the Belmont Stakes after suffering a torn tendon.

Last year’s Belmont Stakes had been a hope to provide joy to millions but instead appeared more like a memorial service for an older friend. There was the attempt at celebration of a horse’s career but the disappointment of the end of the run was much more prevalent. The horse and trainer had skyrocketed to superstardom in the weeks between their unexpected victory at Churchill Downs and that difficult Friday press conference near the barns in New York.

But with another Derby champion comes another hope to see history.

The Maryland Jockey Club and everyone involved with Pimlico was served well by owner J. Paul Reddam’s decision to partner with O’Neill in sending I’ll Have Another to Baltimore very quickly after the Derby last year. (O’Neill will be doing the same thing this year with Goldencents, who finished a disappointing 17th in the Derby.) O’Neill became the honorary mayor of Charm City, taking in practice with the Baltimore Ravens, throwing out the first pitch with the Baltimore Orioles and showing up on as many media outlets as the MJC could dream possible. The stardom was in place before the horse ever claimed the Black-Eyed Susans.

That’s of course because the advantage we have in Baltimore is knowing that as long as nothing terrible happens with the Derby winner, we’ll always have a shot a Triple Crown alive and well on the third Saturday of May. There have been years where we’ve been smart enough to know the chance was a longshot (most notably when Mine That Bird won the Derby at 50-1 odds and had to face off against the horse’s own jockey Calvin Borel and Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra in 2009), but there’s always the possibility.

(Continued on Page 2…)

Comments (0)