Tag Archive | "Kentucky Derby"

Derby winner California Chrome officially confirmed for Preakness

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Derby winner California Chrome officially confirmed for Preakness

Posted on 04 May 2014 by WNST Staff

KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER CALIFORNIA CHROME CONFIRMED FOR PREAKNESS STAKES, HOPING TO ARRIVE AT PIMLICO MONDAY, MAY 12

BALTIMORE, 05-04-14—Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome is headed to the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 17,  bringing trainer Art Sherman back to Maryland for the first time in 55 years.

Sherman confirmed his plans to run the Lucky Pulpit colt in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown during a Sunday morning phone call with Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas and two other Preakness officials. Pimlico officials traditionally call the winner of the Kentucky Derby to extend a formal invitation to come to Baltimore.

“He came out of the race and looks really good,” Sherman said.

Although he likes to give his horses plenty of time between races, Sherman said he expects that Steven Coburn and Perry Martin’s homebred colt will be ready for the Preakness.

“Two weeks, I’ve never run him back that quick,” Sherman said. “I’m not that kind of guy. I thought even a month after the Santa Anita Derby to the Kentucky Derby was kind of quick. but he seems to respond and come back.”

California Chrome won the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby by 1 3/4 lengths with a very professional performance under veteran jockey Victor Espinoza. They sat behind the early pacesetters, Chitu and Uncle Sigh, for three quarters of a mile, moved up to contend for the lead in the second turn and kicked away from the others at the top of the stretch. It was his fifth consecutive victory.

Two Derby starters – runner-up Commanding Curve and seventh-place finisher Ride on Curlin – are candidates to face California Chrome again in the Preakness.

Trainer Wesley Ward said Pablo Del Monte is definitely on course to the Preakness and four other new shooters are considered probable. That group consists of Federico Tesio winner Kid Cruz, trained by Linda Rice; Illinois Derby (G3) winner Dynamic Impact, trained by Mark Casse; Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Bayern, who was disqualified and placed second for interference after finishing first in the Derby Trial (G3); and Social Inclusion, who was third in the Wood Memorial (G1) in his only try in a graded stakes.

Social Inclusion’s owner Ron Sanchez said Sunday that the colt’s foot bruise that kept him out of yesterday’s Sir Bear Stakes at Gulfstream Park was improved and he is planning to ship to Baltimore on Thursday, May 8.

Trainer Graham Motion said Sunday West Point’s Ring Weekend, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) is “50-50” for the race. Ring Weekend came down with a fever last week and did not make the Derby.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who earned his sixth Preakness victory last year with Oxbow, is considering Strong Mandate. The son of Tiznow, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last year, has not run since an eighth place finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1).

Trainer Todd Pletcher did not commit any of his four Kentucky Derby starters to the Preakness. Pletcher reported that he is “going to get them back to Belmont and give it a few days.”

Pablo Del Monte earned a spot in the Derby field, but Ward opted not to start him from the outside post position and scratched. The speedy third-place finisher in the Blue Grass (G1) worked six furlongs in 1:10.80 at Keeneland Sunday and  Ward said the colt is Baltimore-bound.

“We’re so excited, we can’t even stand ourselves,” Ward said. “Yeah, I’m going. I’ve already booked the flight for my horse on the Wednesday before the Preakness.”

Sent off at odds of 37-1, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Commanding Curve rallied from 11th at the top of the stretch to finish second. It was the second year in a row that a long shot trained by Dallas Stewart picked up the second-place money. Last year, Stewart did not send Golden Soul to the Preakness, but he said Sunday that Commanding Curve is a prospect for Maryland’s signature race.

“We will see how he is. If he is OK, he’ll run; if he is not, he won’t,” Stewart said.

Trainer Billy Gowan noted that Ride on Curlin had a tough trip under jockey Calvin Borel. The first-time Derby trainer with a four-horse stable pointed to a small amount of feed that Ride On Curlin didn’t eat overnight.

“That’s pretty good after racing a mile and a quarter,” Gowan said.  “He looks good. It was just bad racing luck, bad post position. But he’s one tough horse. You’ve got to be proud of him. When he did get clear, he did come running, so that’s all you can ask, really.”

Gowan confirmed that Ride On Curlin is a strong candidate for the Preakness.

“We’ll see,” he said.  “If he bounces out of these races like he has been, I’m going to the Preakness. We’ll just see. He’s tough, so I expect him to bounce out of it good. We’ll definitely consider it.”

Dynamic Impact, a son of Tiznow owned by John Oxley, has won his last two starts. He broke his maiden on March 1 at Oaklawn Park and won the Illinois Derby on April 14 at Hawthorne Park in Chicago. Dynamic Impact breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

“I have to still talk with Mr. Oxley about it,” trainer Mark Casse said Sunday. “We said we’d discuss it after the Derby, but we were really pleased with his work Saturday. I would say there is a more likely than not chance that we’d be going.”

Sherman plans to keep California Chrome at Churchill Downs before sending him to Baltimore. Preakness officials are working with Sherman to   develop a plan to ship California Chrome to Pimlico on Monday, May 12.

“Five days at Pimlico would be perfect for me,” Sherman said. “That way I wouldn’t have to do much with him. Just school him, stand him in the gate and let him get familiarized with the surroundings.”

Sherman is based in California and said he has not been to Maryland since he rode at the old Bowie Race Course in 1959. Sherman said he rode a few races at Laurel during his 23-year career as a jockey, but has never been to Pimlico Race Course.

Though he set a record as the oldest Derby-winning trainer, Sherman, 77, is not in contention to claim that record in the Preakness: “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons was 82 when Bold Ruler won in 1957.

Surrounded by the throng of media Sunday, Sherman grinned as he reflected on California Chrome’s Derby victory, the first by a California-bred horse since Decidedly in 1962.

“It’s pretty cool, I can tell you,” he said. “You wake up in the morning and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, I just won the Kentucky Derby.’ It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve been in the game for so long. It’s one of those things that is very rare; I never had the big stable or the money people behind me, just mom and pop operations and people that were always good friends.

“I have a lot of partnerships in horses with different people, so it’s a different ballgame for me. Beating all the big boys and maybe they had their doubts that this horse wasn’t a runner – you hear, ‘Oh, he didn’t look good on the track’ – but when you run against him you find out. He’s the real McCoy, this one.”

Alberto Delgado guided Forest Justice to victory in the Sunday opener at Pimlico. The 49-year-old, who finished second in the 1995 Preakness aboard Oliver’s Twist, rode California Chrome to two victories last year. His brother, Willie, is the exercise rider for the Derby winner.

“I haven’t talked to my brother yet,” Delgado said. “It is bittersweet. We knew he was a good horse all along. When I broke his maiden (May 17, 2013), I told them he would win the Derby. That how nice he was. I am happy for the connections. They are really good people. I hope they win the Preakness and the Belmont and think they will.”

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Derby field down to 19 with Pablo Del Monte out

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Derby field has been reduced to 19 horses after the owners of Pablo Del Monte decided to pass on the race.

Trainer Wesley Ward said Friday the owners will wait to run in the Preakness on May 17. Ward bred and owns a 25 percent share of the colt.

Pablo Del Monte joined the field after Hoppertunity was scratched Thursday because of minor foot injury. Pablo Del Monte would have had to start from the far outside post in a field of 20. He was listed at 50-1 on the morning line and was to be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.

The No. 1 spot in the starting gate Saturday will be empty and the 19 horses will use posts 2 through 20.

 

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Hoppertunity out of Derby, could return in time for Preakness

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Bob Baffert is down to one horse for the Kentucky Derby after early 6-1 second choice Hoppertunity was scratched Thursday because of a sore left front foot.

The colt was to have been ridden Saturday by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

“Bad news travels fast,” Baffert said outside his barn, where onlookers gathered as word spread around Churchill Downs. “The horse is OK. He’s just not 100 percent and it’s too close to the race, so I pulled the plug.”

Baffert first noticed signs something wasn’t quite right on Wednesday, when Hoppertunity took a few steps. The inside quarter of his left foot was sore, so part of his shoe was cut off. As the colt walked to warm up, he didn’t appear bothered. But Baffert decided to scratch him anyway.

Hoppertunity will have a full scan Thursday to eliminate any other possible problems than a sore foot, which will be soaked.

In a bit of gallows humor, Baffert joked, “We missed a Hoppertunity.”

He said the colt could return in time for the Preakness on May 17.

Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia revised the Derby morning line odds, although California Chrome remained the favorite at 5-2.

Wicked Strong, the colt named for the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, replaced Hoppertunity as the early second choice at 6-1.

Arkansas Derby winner Danza and Intense Holiday were installed as the co-third choices at 8-1. Tapiture was made the fifth choice at 12-1.

The odds for Candy Boy were lowered to 15-1 from 20-1. Louisiana Derby winner Vicar’s In Trouble, to be ridden by Rosie Napravnik, dropped to 20-1 from 30-1.

Smith will still be busy on Derby day, ridding in seven of the 13 races on the card.

“I could still have a pretty good day,” he said. “I’d rather lose it this way than something happen on the track.”

The scratch moved also-eligible horse Pablo Del Monte into the maximum 20-horse field. However, the 50-1 shot would have to start from the No. 20 post position. It wasn’t immediately known if Pablo Del Monte’s owners want to start under that condition.

“It’s amazing to have the opportunity to run,” said Wesley Ward, who trains and co-owns the colt. “With my 25 percent there is nothing I’d love better, with a horse that I bred, than to run. But I have to go with what my partners want to do.”

The original plan for Pablo Del Monte, who was third in the Blue Grass, was to wait for the Preakness. His other owners are in Europe, and Ward expected to learn their decision later Thursday or early Friday.

Hoppertunity had drawn the No. 11 post. With his scratch, the other horses in the outside starting gate all moved up one spot. Blue Grass winner Dance With Fate will now break from the 11th spot.

Baffert has another horse in the race, 20-1 shot Chitu. That colt also has had foot problems and recently threw one of his shoes.

“I’ve had a lot of luck here,” said Baffert, a three-time Derby winner, “so I can’t really complain.”

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California Chrome established as 5-2 favorite, draws fifth post in Derby

Posted on 30 April 2014 by WNST Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The only time Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby was aboard War Emblem in 2002. They broke from the No. 5 post, the same position he’ll start the 140th edition of the race with early 5-2 favorite California Chrome.

“Hopefully, that’s my lucky number,” Espinoza said Wednesday.

Eight horses have won from there, most recently Funny Cide in 2003.

“I think it’s a perfect spot,” trainer Art Sherman said. “I think we break clean, he’ll get out of a lot of trouble. He’s got a little gas leaving there.”

At 77, Sherman could become the oldest trainer to win the Derby, surpassing Charlie Whittingham’s record of 76 when Sunday Silence won in 1989.

California Chrome comes into the Derby having won his last four starts by a combined 24¼ lengths.

“Just an amazing horse to ride,” Espinoza said. “I let him do his own thing and I think he likes that.”

Hoppertunity was made the 6-1 second choice in the full field of 20 horses.

Hoppertunity, who lost to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby, drew the No. 11 post for the race Saturday at Churchill Downs. He’s trained by Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner with two starters.

“Other than California Chrome, who’s proven he’s a really good horse, there’s a lot of horses in there that are pretty close,” Baffert said. “There’s a lot of parity in this field.”

His other horse, Chitu, is a 20-1 long shot that drew the No. 13 post.

Wicked Strong, named for the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, is the 8-1 third choice and will break from the 20th post on the far outside. He and the No. 10 horse, Wildcat Red, will be last ones loaded into the starting gate, so they won’t be in there very long.

Some trainers don’t like the No. 20 post because their horse is on the far outside and has to quickly make its way over toward the rail to save ground.

Calvin Borel will break from the No. 19 post aboard Ride On Curlin. The jockey nicknamed “Bo-rail” for his love of riding along the rail has won three Derbies since 2007, and he’ll have to hustle his horse over quickly to snag his favorite position.

California Chrome, Hoppertunity and Wicked Strong were the only horses listed at single digits by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

Danza is the 10-1 fourth choice and drew the No. 4 post. He’s one of four horses trained by Todd Pletcher. The others are: Intense Holiday, 12-1; Vinceremos, 30-1; and We Miss Artie, 50-1.

“We made out well,” Pletcher said. “It doesn’t matter where you draw, you’re just looking for a clean trip.”

Mike Maker will saddle a trio of horses: General a Rod, 15-1; Harry’s Holiday, 50-1; and Vicar’s In Trouble, a 30-1 shot that drew the dreaded No. 1 post.

Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Vicar’s In Trouble trying to become the first female jockey to win the Derby. She was fifth last year with Mylute, the highest finish by a woman in history. Napravnik watched the draw from the jockey’s room at the track.

“I was just kind of shocked, being the first one drawn,” she said. “Vicar’s real sharp out of the gate and I think he’ll be able to get in good position. There’s been plenty of winners out of the one-hole, so Vicar’s not in trouble yet.”

Eight horses have won from the first spot in the starting gate, but none since Ferdinand in 1986. Most trainers despise the No. 1 hole because their horse starts next to the rail and could get pinched going into the crowded first turn.

The starting gate is loaded two horses at a time, and the first ones to go in will be Vicar’s In Trouble and No. 11 Hoppertunity, meaning they’ll have the longest wait while the rest of the field is loaded.

“He’s a pretty cool, calm horse so he should be fine in there,” Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith said about Hoppertunity.

Hoppertunity didn’t race as a 2-year-old, setting him up for a chance to break one of the Derby’s oldest jinxes: no horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at 2.

The No. 10 post has produced the most Derby winners with nine, most recently in 2005, when Smith won with 50-1 shot Giacomo. Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garrafalo, landed in that spot this time.

The other 50-1 shot in the race is Commanding Curve, who will break from the No. 17 post.

The 21st horse on the points list is Pablo Del Monte, an also eligible who would need a defection before 9 a.m. Friday, when Derby wagering opens, to get into the $2.2 million race.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: MLS-DC United @ Portland Timbers (Saturday 10pm from Portland live on Comcast SportsNet); MLL: Long Island Lizards @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium); Tennis: ATP Tour Mutua Madrid Open (Tuesday-Sunday from Madrid live on Tennis Channel)

10. Bill Bellamy (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Towsontown Spring Festival (Saturday & Sunday Downtown Towson); Ocean City Springfest (Thursday-Sunday Ocean City Inlet); Kevin Nealon (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); Kinetic Sculpture Race (Saturday American Visionary Art Museum); The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Walk of Shame” out in theaters (Friday); Legend of Hercules” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Kevin Nealon is such an underrated part of the greatness of the Chris Farley Chippendale’s sketch.

I could use some more Emma Stone in my life.

9. Against Me! (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), All Time Low (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Live), Pop Evil (Sunday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Rob Zombie (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Sevendust (Friday 9:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Ledisi (Sunday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Kerfuffle feat. 311/SOJA/KONGOS/Cage The Elephant/J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Saturday 1:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Ben Kweller (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Ozomatli (Monday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage); Iggy Azalea (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Black Label Society (Monday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); CHVRCHES (Tuesday & Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Future Islands (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Aimee Mann & Ted Leo (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Nickel Creek (Saturday 8pm Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club), Dave Grohl (Monday 8pm 9:30 Club); Three Dog Night (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere), Pat McGee Band (Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere); David Gray (Tuesday 6:30pm Lincoln Theatre); Saliva (Saturday 9pm Fish Head Cantina); Ray LaMontagne “Supernova”Old 97′s “Most Messed Up”Damon Albarn “Everyday Robots”Chris Robinson “Phosphorescent Harvest” and Johnnyswim “Diamonds” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Support our boys in All Time Low. They’re good boys.

Sometimes I forget how much I freaking love some Against Me tunes.

Would it be awkward for me to leave Kerfuffle hours early after J. Roddy???

Ozomatli is a damn fine way to celebrate Cinco.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Baffert says Hoppertunity has real chance to win Derby Saturday

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Baffert says Hoppertunity has real chance to win Derby Saturday

Posted on 28 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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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.”

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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.”

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Derby winner Orb arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

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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.”

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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.

 

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