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117,203 pack Pimlico for historic Preakness day

Posted on 18 May 2013 by WNST Staff

OXBOW PUTS MAKES HISTORY FOR CONNECTIONS IN PREAKNESS VICTORY

KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER ORB DISAPPOINTS AS ODDS-ON FAVORITE

 

BALTIMORE, 05-18-13 – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas made history at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday when he saddled Oxbow for a front-running upset victory in the 138th Preakness Stakes (G1). The 15-1 long shot gave his 77-year-old trainer his sixth Preakness victory, as well as his 14th triumph in a Triple Crown event.

Lukas, who had been tied with legendary “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons since saddling Commendable for a Belmont Stakes victory in 2000, became the winningest trainer in Triple Crown history.

Overlooked by the bettors, who made Kentucky Derby winner Orb their 3-5 favorite in the field of nine 3-year-olds, Oxbow was in control throughout the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown on his way to victory by 1 ¾ lengths under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.

Shug McGaughey-trained Orb, who finished 9 ¾ lengths ahead of Oxbow while winning the Derby by 3 ½ lengths, was never a factor in the Preakness, finishing nine lengths behind the winner, who was one of three 3-year-olds representing Lukas.

A crowd of 117,203 flocked into Pimlico, the fourth highest mark in the history of the event. The day included the fifth annual InfieldFest which featured concerts by six bands, including headliners Pitbull and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

The 13-race card generated an all-sources handle of $81,940,233. The handle ranked as the sixth best for Pimlico’s signature day.

“It was a fantastic day to cap what was a wonderful weekend of racing and entertainment,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “I challenged my team to match last year’s record-setting afternoon and they answered the call. The initial feedback on the concerts is positive and the racing office put together a quality card from bottom to top.”

Oxbow, who finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, joined the Lukas-trained Codex (1980), Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999) as a Preakness champion.

Oxbow’s triumph also created history for Stevens, who became the oldest jockey, at 50, to ride a Preakness winner. Eldon Nelson was 45 when he rode Bee Bee Bee to an upset win in 1972.

The Lukas-trained winner, who ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.54, also made more history for his owner, Calumet Farm, which celebrated its record eighth Preakness success and first since Forward Pass’s victory in 1968.

Itsmyluckyday, who had finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, finished second Saturday while tracking the pace early and steadily gaining on Oxbow in the stretch before running out of ground. Mylute, the fifth-place Derby finisher, closed from last to finish third, another half-length back under Rosie Napravnik, who rode the first winner of her career at Pimlico in June 2005 as a 17-year-old.

Orb, the shortest-priced Preakness favorite since Big Brown (2008), finished a half-length ahead of Goldencents, who was saddled by Doug O’Neill, who visited the winners’ circle last year with I’ll Have Another.  He was followed by Departing, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie and Titletown Five. Will Take Charge and Titletown Five are also trained by Lukas, who has been represented by a record 40 Preakness starters.

PREAKNESS STAKES QUOTES

D. Wayne Lukas (trainer, Oxbow, winner) – “What a story this is. I’m happy for Gary (Stevens) and I’m just so happy for Mr. (Brad) Kelley. He’s trying to revitalize Calumet, and now Calumet is back in a Classic race. That’s just very gratifying.  It’s been a while (Charismatic, 1999), but it never gets old. I have great respect for the Phipps family and Shug (McGaughey), but I was telling one of your colleagues that I get paid to spoil dreams.

“You can’t mail them in, so we keep trying. It’s a different surface, a different scenario and a different time. You gotta line ‘em up  and run ‘em.

“Gary knows the horse a lot better than I do, so I told him to just go ahead and ride  him. I told him ‘you might find yourself up there; if you do just get in a high cruising speed, and it worked.’   It doesn’t hurt to have a Hall of Famer or two (Stevens and Mike Smith) on your horses. I had good riders and I knew my horses trained well. When they threw up that 48 (half mile) and 1:13 (six furlongs), I said watch out. Unbelievable!

“I kind of lost track of my other two horses (Titletown Five and Will Take Charge) because this guy was in front almost the whole way.”

 

Gary Stevens (jockey, Oxbow, winner) – “We talked about strategy and I didn’t expect to be on the lead. In these Classic races you don’t give up anything you get for free. They gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today. I was smiling pretty good midway down the backside. I actually thought about Wayne (Lukas) up in the grandstand. I knew he would be looking at those fractions and be pleased with what he was seeing.”

“I jumped on him at the quarter pole and said, “let’s go now and just try and last.’ We did more than last today. When we pulled up he wasn’t a tired horse.”

 

Eddie Plesa Jr. (trainer, Itsmyluckyday, 2nd) – “I’m very pleased with the way he ran. He ran his race. He simply just got beat by a horse that was trained perfectly by Wayne Lukas. We did run our race, but we just weren’t lucky enough to win.”

 

John Velazquez (jockey, Itsmyluckyday, 2nd) – “My horse ran awesome. The speed didn’t develop the way I thought it would. I thought Oxbow would be third or fourth, then all of a sudden I look up and Bob Baffert’s horse (Govenor Charlie) gets left and Oxbow was on the lead all by himself. I worried then about my horse, but he ran great.”

 

Tom Amoss (trainer, Mylute, 3rd) – “My horse ran great. The pace was a disappointment up front. I thought there would be more speed; it didn’t materialize. We were probably at the biggest disadvantage of all, coming from way back and being the widest in the race. We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.  I actually look at this like a missed opportunity because my horse ran a big race today.”

 

Rosie Napravnik (jockey, Mylute, 3rd) – “He was very sluggish out of the gate for the first quarter of a mile. Then he got going. This is a tough course. I was too far back to see who the leaders were. This was a tough pace to follow. But he ran great down the lane and closed well.”

 

Shug McGaughey (trainer, Orb, 4th) – “I’m disappointed. It was a great opportunity. We were 3-5 and we finished fourth. I would be disappointed any time you had this kind of opportunity and didn’t get it done. This was quite a run for a couple of weeks. We’ll pack it up and go back home and see what kind of horse we’ve got down the road and  figure it out from there.

“I don’t think two weeks had anything to do with it. Oxbow ran back in two weeks. Itsmyluckyday ran back in two weeks, Mylute ran back in two weeks. I just think he got himself in a position where he wasn’t comfortable and then without the pace scenario in front of him; they really weren’t spread out a little bit more than maybe I’d hoped. That probably affected him more than anything else.

“The pace was slower than I anticipated. I thought the pace would be quicker.  I thought maybe they would speed it up a little bit but they didn’t.  I still thought we would close into it, but it just wasn’t his day. He was just never real comfortable once he got down in there.  I’m  disappointed. I’ll probably be way more disappointed tomorrow but I know the game. It is highs and lows, probably more lows than highs. We had a great run two weeks ago. My hat’s off to Wayne to win his sixth Preakness. That’s pretty remarkable.”

 

Joel Rosario (jockey, Orb, 4th) – “He was in a good spot early in the race. They were going slow up front and he was fine. When I got to the half-mile pole, he had a hard time keeping up. I used my stick to try to get him going. He usually takes you there. He always runs hard. But today he never took off. He just steadied. Today was not his day.”

 

Doug O’Neill (trainer, Goldencents, 5th) – “I’m doing great. I thought Kevin (Krigger) had him in a great spot and when the winner kicked there, we just couldn’t keep up with him. I’m very proud of Kevin and the horse. We’re going to be fine. We’ve got a bright future. Definitely, he belongs among these horses and we’re going to be in good shape. We’ll be OK. I’ll have to talk to (co-owner) Glen (Sorgenstein) and we’ll put our heads together and see what’s next.”

 

Kevin Krigger (jockey, Goldencents, 5th) – “He didn’t run his race today. We were expecting him to run very well here, but it just doesn’t happen sometimes.”

 

Al Stall Jr. (trainer, Departing, 6th) – “He had no excuses. It looked like he got over the track OK. He just didn’t go on with it like he usually does.”

 

Brian Hernandez Jr. (jockey, Departing, 6th) – “I had a great trip. On the second turn, Orb was inside of me and we spurted away from him and got up to third. But he was just a little dull today. I don’t know why. It seemed like he handled the track OK. But it was a little deep.”

 

Mike Smith (jockey, Will Take Charge, 7th) – “He just really struggled with the racetrack. His legs were going everywhere from the word ‘go.’ He just couldn’t get a hold of it at all.”

 

Bob Baffert (trainer, Govenor Charlie, 8th) – “If they would have yelled “about-face” I would have won easy at the wire. My horse missed the break and never really was in the race. I’m happy for Gary (Stevens) and Wayne (Lukas); that’s awesome.”

 

Martin Garcia (jockey, Govenor Charlie, 8th) – “He did not like the track at all. He was very uncomfortable all the way around.”

 

Julien Leparoux (jockey, Titletown Five, 9th) – “(Gary) Stevens took the lead early, and I was just kind of sitting there. I felt like I had a lot of horse under me when we turned for home. But he just kind of flattened out in the stretch.”

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The Band Perry added to Preakness festivities

Posted on 17 May 2013 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE, 05-17-13—The Maryland Jockey Club announced today that Republic Nashville and Grammy-nominated recording artists, The Band Perry, will sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic/America The Beautiful” when Pimlico Race Course honors the military at the 138th Preakness Stakes (G1), Saturday, May 18, also Armed Forces Day.

Since releasing their self-titled debut album in 2010, The Band Perry has ascended to dizzying heights. Fronted by Kimberly Perry and rounded out by her younger brothers Neil and Reid, the band has notched a string of hit singles, including the quadruple-platinum “If I Die Young” (which climbed to #1 on Billboard’s Country and AC charts), the platinum “You Lie,” and the gold certified Country #1 “All Your Life” as well as their two-week #1 single “Better Dig Two,” from their wildly successful sophomore release, PIONEER, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. The Band Perry’s latest song, “DONE.,” penned by Neil and Reid Perry with John Davidson and Jacob Bryant, promises to be their next chart topper. They’ve also enjoyed sold-out tours and a showering of honors, including multiple ACM, CMA, and CMT Music awards, as well as Teen Choice, AMA, ACA, and Billboard Music award nominations — all of which has cemented the sibling trio as one of the hottest acts in recent history.  The Band Perry is currently nominated for a CMT Music Award for “Group Video of the Year” and fans can go to http://www.cmt.com/cmt-music-awards/nominees/group-video-of-the-year.jhtml to vote.

“We are thrilled to welcome The Band Perry to Pimlico as we proudly recognize Armed Forces Day, a cherished and respected tradition at Preakness”, said Tom Chuckas, President and COO of the Maryland Jockey Club.

The Band Perry will sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic/America The Beautiful”  directly before the fly-over by the B-25 J Mitchell Bomber, Panchito, owned and flown by Larry Kelley of Mardela Springs, Maryland. The flyover is sponsored by the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and the Maryland Jockey Club. The B-25 Bombers achieved world-wide fame on April 18th, 1942 when 16 B-25s, under the command of Lt. Col James Doolittle, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and attacked Tokyo in a daring raid as retribution for the attacks on Pearl Harbor which occurred just 4 months prior. The B-25 today acts as a reminder of our history and works to help spread awareness of the DAV to Veterans.

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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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McGaughey says Orb “full of energy” at Pimlico

Posted on 15 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB GETS WELL ACQUAINTED WITH PIMLICO

DEPARTING, MYLUTE, GOVENOR CHARLIE SET FOR ARRIVAL

(Nine 3-year-olds have been entered for the 138th Preakness Stakes: Orb, Departing, Goldencents, Govenor Charlie, Itsmyluckyday, Mylute, Oxbow, Titletown Five and Will Take Charge. The Preakness post position draw will be held at the International Pavilion in the Pimlico Infield at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will be broadcast live on HRTV.)

BALTIMORE, 5-15-13 – Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb got well acquainted with his new surroundings at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday morning. The Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, who arrived from Belmont Park on Monday and walked the shedrow of the Preakness Stakes Barn Tuesday, made his first appearance on the racetrack at approximately 6 a.m.

The Shug McGaughey-trained 3-year-old colt prepared for a start in the 138th Preakness Stakes (G1) by jogging once around the racetrack under exercise rider Jenn Patterson while accompanied by a pony.

“Everything was really good. He turned and jogged the wrong way. He was moving really well and full of energy. He appears to be settled in back here and I’m pleased with what I see,” said McGaughey while his Derby winner grazed in the grassy area near the Preakness Stakes Barn.

The son of Malibu Moon followed up his early-morning activity with a visit to Pimlico’s indoor paddock, where McGaughey plans to saddle him instead of the customary Preakness saddling area on the turf course. Orb walked around the saddling area under the cover of the grandstand and stood quietly in a stall while being attended to by Patterson, whose work with the likely Preakness favorite has received high praise from McGaughey.

“Without her, we wouldn’t be here. It’s not only her riding ability, it’s her horsemanship and dedication to the whole thing,” said McGaughey, who detailed the many miles logged and hours worked by Patterson while working with Orb in Florida and Kentucky. “Nobody will know how much I appreciate her and what I think of her and her abilities. The rapport we have between each other… I think it’s a pretty remarkable relationship.”

Orb, who came to Pimlico riding a five-race winning streak, including a 2 ½-length Kentucky triumph on May 4, has amazed his trainer with his development.

“I think there’s more there. What really surprises me is how he comes out of his races, not only mentally, but physically,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I looked at him just a second ago with the blanket off of him. Looking from behind, the sun was shining on him, and I was looking at a different horse than I saw a week ago and two weeks ago.

“His work at Belmont on Monday was something I had never seen, maybe before — the way he finished up with very little urging, if any; the way he was striding out and the way he was holding his leads. He’s sure come a long ways since the Florida Derby. I think there’s more there, but he’s got to tell us that. I can’t wait to run him on Saturday afternoon and, maybe we’ll see something special.”

A victory on Saturday would put Orb in line to become the 12th Triple Crown champion and first since Affirmed (1978) with a triumph in the Belmont Stakes (G1). McGaughey admitted that that thought has crossed him mind.

“I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said, ‘No.’ I try to block it out, but if you’re in this position, anybody would think about it. Of course, you get reminded of it quite often,” McGaughey said. “It’s a thrilling thought, but we’ve got to get by Saturday. If we get by Saturday, it’ll be quite an interesting three weeks.”

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

 

DEPARTING – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing completed the Churchill Downs phase of his Preakness preparations by galloping 1 ½ miles and then standing in the starting gate on a warm and breezy Wednesday morning.

Regular exercise rider Trina Pasckvale was aboard for the morning activity for Departing, who was scheduled to fly to Baltimore this afternoon.

Trainer Al Stall Jr. said the trip to the gate was a normal part of Departing’s routine.

“He was fine in there. He stood in there for about a minute and a half and he never has had an issue that I have noticed,” Stall said. “You have to do your homework before you take the test.”

Stall expected to be in Baltimore for Wednesday afternoon’s Preakness post-position draw.

“The draw does not matter, because there is going to be speed in there,” Stall said. “Goldencents, Titletown Five, Oxbow – I know they will be in front of us.”
GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill sent the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner out for his usual 8:30 a.m. gallop and a brief schooling session in the paddock Wednesday at Pimlico Race Course.

The trainer of last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another, said his confidence is returning to the level that it was at Churchill Downs prior to Goldencents’ disappointing 17th-place finish in the Derby over a sloppy, sealed racetrack.

“We were definitely disappointed with our effort in the Kentucky Derby,” said the 44-year-old Southern California-based conditioner. “We thought we were coming into it in good shape, but we think it was the track. You’ve got a different track here, a shorter stretch and tighter turns. Our guy is doing really well here. And with a smaller field (nine) and good weather, I think we can turn the tables on Orb.”

Jockey Kevin Krigger, who came to Baltimore with Goldencents three days after the May 4 Derby, believes his decision to stay East will pay dividends.

“For me just being on him every day and making sure he’s doing everything the way he should be doing, it is a thrill for me,” he said. “I’m enjoying myself and the horse is enjoying himself. He trains like he’s ready to run a better race than the Derby.”

The atmosphere around Barn B at Pimlico is considerably more subdued than it was last year when I’ll Have Another was the center of attention.

“It is a different vibe, but it’s a good vibe,” O’Neill said. “I think it’s all good pressure really. Everyone here in management is so kind to us and has bent over backwards to make us feel at home. The Derby and Belmont are corporate events. There’s more of a small-town feeling here and it’s easier to relax and enjoy it.”

Dealing with the Derby disappointment is also becoming easier for him.

“It’s tough because we know how competitive and how tough Goldencents is, but it’s the first time Goldencents has ever been in that scenario where he was getting a lot of kickback (mud in his face),” O’Neill said. “That wasn’t one of your standard wet-fast kind of tracks. It was almost like peanut butter out there, and you could see that the horses that were involved early ended up being in the back of the pack and the horses that were in the back of the pack early ended up being first at the wire.”

Goldencents, who has three stakes victories on his resume, had never been worse than fourth in any of his previous six starts before the Derby. He won the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) as a 2-year-old and the Sham (G3) in his 3-year-old debut in January.

“This business is definitely full of a lot more losses than wins,” O’Neill said. “So you celebrate all the wins and it re-energizes you.”

O’Neill said he plans to sit down with Krigger and review old tapes of  Preaknesses past, much like he did last year with I’ll Have Another’s rider, Mario Gutierrez.

“Kevin and I have talked about that,” O’Neill said. “I think it’s good for Kevin. Probably he needs my input like a hole in the head, but I think it’s something where these tracks are all a little bit different. Here the turns are a little tighter, the stretch is a little bit shorter. Watching the past runnings of the Preakness can only be beneficial, so Kevin’s been kind enough to say, ‘Let’s do it, let’s watch and see what we can learn.’ ”

“You can never look at those old Preaknesses too many times,” said Krigger, who is riding in his first. “To sit down and watch them with Doug will open up a different mind frame about the races, because we’ll have our own ideas about each race. We’ll put them together and end up on the same page as we usually are.”
GOVENOR CHARLIE – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is convinced that the Midnight Lute colt is ready for the Preakness and is capable of giving him his sixth victory in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Mike Pegram’s homebred will be making his fourth career start in the Preakness.  After finishing second in his debut on Jan. 19, he broke his maiden on Feb.17 and won the Sunland Derby (G3) by five lengths on March 24. He has recovered from a minor foot injury that caused him to miss the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert said Wednesday that Govenor Charlie must turn in a big performance at Pimlico to be a big factor in the Preakness.

“He needs to run his race back that he ran at Sunland,” Baffert said. “I think if he runs that race back, he’s going to be very, very competitive. That’s the way he’s been training. It’s a different group of horses he’s running with and it’s a classic, but he’s bred to run that far.”

Govenor Charlie’s grand-sire, Real Quiet, won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) in 1998. His second dam is Hall of Famer Silverbulletday, whose 15 career victories included a runaway win in the 1 1/4 miles Alabama (G1).

Baffert waited to commit Govenor Charlie to the Preakness until he saw how the colt came out of a timed work Monday at Churchill Downs. Govenor Charlie covered six furlongs in a sharp 1:10 4/5 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5.

Prior to boarding a plane for the trip to Maryland, Govenor Charlie jogged a mile at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning. Govenor Charlie was accompanied to Pimlico with a pair of stablemates: Zee Bros, who’s set to run in the $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes on Saturday, and Fiftyshadesofhay, who’s entered for the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday.

 

ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday, who was vanned from Monmouth Park Tuesday, visited the racetrack at Pimlico Wednesday morning for a light jog.

“He was great. We couldn’t have asked for any better,” said Frankie Perez, assistant to trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. “He’s been giving us 110 percent training-wise. He’s happy. He was happy arriving here (Tuesday) and he’s doing great. He’s ready to run.”

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

 

MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute jogged a mile shortly after the track opened at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning before boarding a plane bound for Baltimore.

“He got new shoes yesterday and jogged a mile this morning, so we are good to go,” said trainer Tom Amoss, whose Kentucky Derby fifth-place finisher had worked a half-mile in 49 3/5 seconds Monday and walked on Tuesday.

 

OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent his three-pronged Preakness threat onto the track early Wednesday morning for some light exercise, and he was more than pleased with the way they handled the 12-hour van ride the day before.

“They were great,” said the 77-year-old Lukas, who is looking for his sixth Preakness victory. “I was pleasantly surprised this morning. I did a little with them, just jogged them and tried to let them get their energy level up, but they were excellent out there this morning. I was really surprised at how well they shipped.”

Oxbow and Will Take Charge have an experience edge over Titletown Five and are coming off sixth- and eighth-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby, but Lukas gives all three a chance to be factors in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

“If you look at the aerial view of the Derby and study it, Will Take Charge ran one hell of a race,” Lukas said of the Rebel Stakes (G2) winner. “He was totally stopped. He was moving probably better than Orb at that point. Whether he’d have finished with him is speculation at best. I think he’d have been second. He’s not a stop-and-start horse.”

Oxbow chased the frantic pace set by Palace Malice in Kentucky and still managed to hold on for sixth while most of the others who went out early faded to the back of the pack. Lukas said he has come back to himself quickly despite the demanding Derby trip.

“He worked this week at Churchill (four furlongs in 49 4/5 seconds) and Gary (Stevens) said that was the most relaxed, the best he’s ever had him work, so he’s a factor in here,” Lukas said. “With the sixteenth of a mile shorter and everything, he’ll be OK.”

Stevens, who rode both Oxbow and Titletown Five in their respective last starts, will be replaced on Titletown Five by Julien Leparoux. Jon Court has been replaced by Mike Smith on Will Take Charge. Lukas said he wasn’t displeased with Court’s performance.

“I thought if we could get three world-class Eclipse (-winning) riders, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give my clients that opportunity,” Lukas said. “I ran it by them, and they were excited about it. Nothing against Jon Court; I rode him all spring with good luck, but I think it’s the coach in me.  I always tell those riders we’re just gonna date, we’re not gonna get married.”

The unknown commodity of the Lukas trio is Titletown Five, co-owned by the trainer and two former Green Bay Packers (Paul Hornung and Willie Davis) among others. The colt’s name comes from the nickname for Green Bay and Hornung’s uniform number.

“He’s a very talented horse,” Lukas said of the son of Tiznow, who ran fourth in the Derby Trial (G3) after a ninth-place fade in the Louisiana Derby (G2). “He’s been behind all spring, but he’s got a lot of ability. He’s a beautiful mover; he’s got a high cruising speed. Willie Davis and Paul Hornung and those guys – it means a lot to probably be in the main arena here, and I own part of him, too, so I thought it was worth a shot.”

Lukas is hoping Titletown Five will be able to display a bit more restraint in the Preakness.

“I think Leparoux on him will get him to probably be forwardly placed, but not like his last two,” Lukas said. “He got in a speed duel in the Derby Trial and it really was ridiculous in the Louisiana Derby.”

Lukas, who has won 13 Triple Crown races to tie “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons for the all-time record, knows he is facing an uphill task, but he did it before here with a Derby also-ran, Tabasco Cat (6th in 1994).

“I think Orb’s the horse to beat,” Lukas said. “He has to come back a little bit to us and we have to move forward. I’m not running for second, however. That’s not my style. If I had my choice, I’d like to see 30 of them in here because I’d know Orb would be behind at least 25 of them. I think if he gets by this one he’s got a great (Triple Crown) chance.”

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Lukas’ Preakness horses to arrive in Baltimore Tuesday afternoon

Posted on 14 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB BRED TO GO THE DISTANCE FOR PREAKNESS

KRIGGER TO CHASE HISTORY ON GOLDENCENTS; GOVENOR CHARLIE READY TO GO

 

BALTIMORE, 5-14-13 – Much has been said and written about the grueling demands the Kentucky Derby places on a horse so early in his 3-year-old season. Trainer Shug McGaughey understands how stern the rigors of a 1 ¼-mile race can be on a young horse, but he has no doubt Orb was physically up to the challenge during his Kentucky Derby victory on May 4.

“I always thought that if the horse wants to run that far, it’s not going to be demanding on him. If you’re trying to make a horse do something that maybe he doesn’t want to do, then it might take more out of him than it would naturally,” McGaughey said Tuesday morning at Pimlico Race Course. “I think Orb is the kind of horse that naturally wants to go a distance of ground. In the Derby, with the pace, he got to run his race and we didn’t take him out of any game plan.”

Orb, who is likely to be heavily favored to win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, gave his Hall of Fame trainer all he could handle in the shedrow of the Pimlico Stakes Barn Tuesday morning.

“He had a lot of energy. I walked him a few turns and had to give him up,” McGaughey said with a smile. “So far, so good. I worried a little bit yesterday coming down here: ‘Am I going too early?’ But I’m glad we got in here while it’s still good and quiet and got settled in. He had a good night and a nice morning. Everything is good.”

Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s homebred colt breezed a half-mile at Belmont Park Monday morning in 47.18 seconds under his motionless exercise rider, Jenn Patterson, before shipping to Pimlico in a van that arrived shortly after 3 p.m.

“She was so worried (Monday) that she had gone too fast. I had to assure her that the way he did it he didn’t (go too fast),” McGaughey said. “I asked her this morning, ‘Still think he went too fast?’ She just laughed.”

McGaughey continued to marvel at the progress Orb has shown after each race this year.

“It shows the development he’s going through. He’s showing us in his daily routine since the Derby that he’s still moving forward,” he said. “What he’s going to show in the afternoon, who knows? But right now, I’m really, really pleased with what I see.”

McGaughey walked the racetrack Tuesday morning with Patterson, who also rode a pony over the track to familiarize herself with the racing surface. The 62-year-old trainer hasn’t been a participant in the Preakness Stakes since Easy Goer’s defeat by a nose to Sunday Silence in 1989.

“As soon as I got here, it all came back to me – where I needed to be, where I was going,” he said. “I feel like I’m back on familiar ground, and I’m tickled to death to be here.”

Shug McGaughey will be available at 8 a.m. Wednesday during a press conference to be held adjacent to the Preakness Stakes Barn.

 

GOLDENCENTS – Kevin Krigger has never won a Triple Crown race, but he admits it’s been something on his riding bucket list since arriving in the U.S. from his native St. Croix more than a decade ago. On Saturday, he could become the first African-American rider to win the Preakness since and Willie Simms victory in 1898. George “Spider” Anderson is the only other African-American jockey to win, doing so in 1889.

“Basically that’s just part of the history,” said the soft-spoken Krigger, who will be the first African-American jockey to ride in the Preakness since Wayne Barnett finished eighth aboard Sparrowvon in 1985. “The media actually is paying more attention to it than I am because I really don’t have time to worry about that. I’m focused here on getting Goldencents in the Preakness winner’s circle.”

Krigger could have been back home riding at Betfair Hollywood Park, but trainer Doug O’Neill asked him to stay with the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner and be aboard for all of his subsequent training for the Preakness.

Goldencents finished 17th as the third betting choice in the Derby, which was contested over a sloppy, sealed track.

“It was one of those races where it kind of threw up a mystery sign in all of our heads and we just had to go back to the drawing board,” said Krigger, who has been aboard for all seven of Goldencents’ races. “We didn’t get the outcome we were looking for, but the greatest thing about it is that the horse came back healthy and we’re here getting ready for the Preakness.”

Krigger said he eased up on the son of Into Mischief once he realized he was out of contention in the Derby, so he hasn’t lost any confidence in him. O’Neill admitted he was impressed by the fact that Krigger did the right thing by his colt.

“Kevin’s such a positive guy and such a positive rider,” O’Neill said Tuesday morning after Krigger took Goldencents out for his regular morning gallop around Pimlico. “He’s been great with the horse, and we’re pretty lucky to have a guy to make that kind of commitment. It just shows how dedicated he is and how passionate he is. He’s a real team player.”

Krigger said it wasn’t a difficult decision to make the commitment to Goldencents.

“I have a lot of faith in him,” he said. “I’ve been on this horse every time, and these guys stuck with me. They kept me on this horse this far, and I would have felt bad if I was in California after they asked me to stay here and I refused. As easily as I could have ridden other horses back there, they could have had someone else on him. I’m on him because they have faith in my riding ability and we get along good – not just me and the horse, but me and the entire team. They’re a great team to work with.”

Meanwhile, Krigger has become something of a local hero in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where his family still lives. In fact, he brought his grandmother here to have knee surgery.

“I found out about two days before the Derby that I had a Facebook page,” said the 29-year-old Preakness rookie. “I guess it was put together by my sister and my cousin, and my mother informed me that the Virgin Islands media are trying to get hold of me to do interviews. She also informed me that a lot of kids are leaving comments as far as I inspired them to follow their dreams. I don’t really keep up with social media, but that made me appreciate my ‘Like’ page for the first time.”

Only two of the last eight Derby winners have also captured the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown: Big Brown in 2008 and the O’Neill-trained I’ll Have Another last year. (I’ll Have Another never got his Triple Crown chance when he came up injured the day before the Belmont Stakes).

“I feel we have a good chance to win again; if we get a good trip, I think we can win,” said O’Neill, who also paid his respects to Derby winner Orb. “Shug’s (McGaughey) a Hall of Fame trainer. (Orb) is a Triple Crown threat for sure.”

 

GOVENOR CHARLIE – Mike Pegram’s colt remains on course for a start in the Preakness, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday.

“He came out of his work really, really well,” said Baffert, who has won the 1 3/16-mile classic five times. “We are prepared to go.”

Govenor Charlie worked six furlongs in 1:10 4/5 Monday morning at Churchill Downs. Baffert is at home in California this week and has been receiving reports from Kentucky on the colt from his longtime assistant, Jimmy Barnes.

The Sunland Derby (G3) winner did not compete in the Kentucky Derby because a minor foot bruise caused him to miss some training time in April. Govenor Charlie has had three solid works and has demonstrated that he has recovered from the foot issue.

Although Baffert noted that he has until Wednesday morning to change his mind about shipping the Midnight Lute colt to Maryland, he said, “Unless he shows me something, it’s pretty likely he’ll be on that plane.”

Jockey Martin Garcia, who has ridden Govenor Charlie in his three career races, will be aboard in the Preakness.

Baffert is scheduled to travel to Baltimore on Thursday.

Govenor Charlie will be Baffert’s 14th Preakness starter. He has won with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and Lookin At Lucky (2010). The Hall of Fame trainer saddled Bodemeister for a second-place finish behind I’ll Have Another last year.

 

DEPARTING – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing returned to the track early Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for the first time since working a half-mile in 50 2/5 seconds on Sunday morning.

With trainer Al Stall Jr. leading the Illinois Derby (G3) winner to the track with regular morning partner Trina Pasckvale aboard, Departing stood near the six-furlong gap for 10 minutes before galloping a mile.

“We may come out a little later in the morning,” Stall said. “He may stand in the little gate (in the mile chute) and then gallop a mile and a half.”

 

ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to arrive at Pimlico Tuesday afternoon.

The Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner jogged at Monmouth Park Tuesday morning before being loaded onto a van.

“Everything is good,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who will arrive in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon.

 

MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s fifth-place Kentucky Derby runner Mylute walked the shedrow at Barn 29 at Churchill Downs a day after working a half-mile in 49 3/5 seconds.

“He came out of the work good and will jog in the morning,” trainer Tom Amoss said.

 

OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Pimlico contingent that included three candidates for Saturday’s Preakness left the Churchill Downs barn area early Tuesday morning by van for Baltimore. The van is expected to arrive at Pimlico before 5 p.m.

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Field set for Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico

Posted on 12 May 2013 by WNST Staff

LOCALS EYE BLACK-EYED SUSAN WITH A ‘PURPOSE’

Maryland-bred, based Walkwithapurpose looks to rebound in 89th renewal of Grade 2, 3-year-old filly feature

BALTIMORE, 05-12-13—Five weeks after a disappointing loss in her graded stakes debut, Walkwithapurpose returns to more familiar surroundings in Friday’s $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.

Foaled at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md., a half-hour’s drive from Pimlico, Walkwithapurpose will take on eight challengers in the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan, led by Grade 1 winner and 9-5 program favorite Emollient.

One of Pimlico’s oldest stakes races, first run as the Pimlico Oaks in 1919, the Black-Eyed Susan will be contested 10th on a 13-race card that features seven stakes, including the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), which returned from a four-year hiatus in 2012.

Also on Friday’s card is the Xpressbet Jockey Challenge, newly formatted to pit four each of the top male and female riders in competition, and the Lady Legends for the Cure IV, presented by Wells Fargo. A pari-mutuel event with eight retired female riding pioneers, the race is run as part of joint effort between Pimlico and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

A bay daughter of Candy Ride, Walkwithapurpose took a five-race win streak into the Gazelle (G2) on April 6 at Aqueduct, her first race outside of Maryland. Despite some early trouble, she raced near the lead before drifting wide in the stretch and finishing third, beaten seven lengths.

“The saddle slipped coming out of the gate,” trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Correas said. “I don’t know what she hit or what happened, but it slipped. It was the first time she was going a mile and an eighth, the first time going two turns, the first time for a lot of stuff.

“Being locals, we are home, so she already has experience over the track. I think that’s a different thing. There’s some very good competitors in the race, but it should be better this time. She’s been doing very good.”

Though Walkwithapurpose has never raced at Pimlico, she has trained daily over the track since Correas moved his string from Laurel Park in late March, including a bullet half-mile breeze in :47.40 on May 10.

“Compared to the way she went into the Gazelle, I would say she is more comfortable now here at Pimlico,” Correas said. “We moved from Laurel to Pimlico like 15 days before the Gazelle, and she didn’t really enjoy the change that much. But, now, she feels at home again, and she’s training really good.”

Third in her debut last September at Timonium, Walkwithapurpose reeled off three straight wins to end her 2-year-old season, capped by an eight-length romp in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Dec. 31 at Laurel Park.

This year, she extended her win streak to five with victories in the $125,000 Wide Country Stakes and the $150,000 Caesar’s Wish Stakes, both at Laurel, by 14 ¼ lengths combined.

“We knew that she had talent. I cannot tell you that from the get-go I knew she was going to be the kind of filly that she is,” Correas said. “I said after the Maryland [JFC] that we will point to the Black-Eyed Susan, because she hinted enough at that point to think that it was doable. I think we are participating in this race in a good spot. She could be here and not be as good as she is, but she is a very, very nice filly.”

Founded in 1925, Sagamore Farm was brought to prominence by A.G. Vanderbilt during more than five decades under his guidance, ending in 1986. In 2007, the farm was purchased by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, a native of Maryland.

“I think it would be a dream come true for all of us,” Correas said of a Black-Eyed Susan victory. “For Kevin, he’s a big fan of Maryland, so it would be an honor. For us, it’s a very big race. This is only the second crop that we bred. The fact that we are there already makes the farm proud, and being there with a shot. Winning would be a cherry on the top.”

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for owner Juddmonte Farms, Emollient has won two of three starts this year, most recently going gate to wire in the $500,000 Ashland (G1) over the all-weather track at Keeneland on April 6. An allowance winner to begin her 3-year-old campaign, she was second in the $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct last November.

Winner of the $100,000 Santa Ysabel (G3) on a wet-fast surface at Santa Anita on Jan. 26, Fiftyshadesofhay tuned up for the race with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.20 on May 10 at Churchill Downs, the fastest of 27 horses.

“We shipped her to Kentucky, but she really didn’t ship well. Now, she’s doing really well,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “She’s had a couple of works. Her last work was nice, so we decided to take a shot at it.”

The Black-Eyed Susan field, from the rail out: Manuka Honey (John Terranova, Edgar Prado), 10-1; Lady Banks (James Lawrence, Julian Pimentel), 30-1; Fiftyshadesofhay (Bob Baffert, Joel Rosario), 2-1; Petit Trianon (Juan Vazquez, Victor Carrasco), 20-1; Walkwithapurpose (Ignacio Correas, Jose Lezcano), 5-1; Maracuya (Ralph Nicks, John Velazquez), 6-1; Emollient (Bill Mott, Mike Smith), 9-5; Toasting (Tom Albertrani, Javier Castellano), 20-1; Marathon Lady (Steve Hobby, Robby Albarado), 12-1.

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Normandy Invasion will not run in Preakness

Posted on 12 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DEPARTING ON THE MARK IN WORKOUT FOR PREAKNESS STAKES

NORMANDY INVASION TO PASS; ORB SCHOOLS, GALLOPS

 

BALTIMORE, 05-12-13 –With trainer Al Stall Jr. and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. watching from the grandstand, Illinois Derby (G3) winner Departing worked a half-mile in 50 2/5 seconds over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning in preparation for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1).

With former jockey Larry Melancon up, Departing worked on his own while producing fractions of :13 1/5, :25 2/5, :38 1/5 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:03 4/5.

“I wanted him to go a little slower the first part than the second part and he hit right on what we were looking for,” Stall said. “He did enough to get the day off tomorrow. He is a gelding and doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He had galloped two miles on Thursday and a spirited mile and half Friday.”

Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Departing is scheduled to walk Monday and then train Tuesday and Wednesday morning before shipping to Pimlico Race Course on Wednesday afternoon. Stall said he has a 2 p.m. flight Wednesday and would be in Baltimore in time for the Preakness draw that afternoon.

Departing will be the second Preakness starter for Stall, whose Terrain finished seventh in 2009 behind eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Like Terrain, Departing did not run in the Kentucky Derby prior to the Preakness.

“After the Louisiana Derby, the Kentucky Derby was off the table with the point system,” Stall said. “It worked out well for us. The Illinois Derby billed itself as a prep for the Preakness and hopefully we can make it successful for the Illinois Derby.”

Waiting at Pimlico when Departing arrives will be Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who shared a paddock at Claiborne Farm in his early days with Departing. Orb is owned by Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable.

“Those families have been down the road before,” Stall said of the Hancocks of Claiborne Farm and the Phippses. “Seeking the Gold and Forty Niner ran against each other in big races like the Derby, Haskell and Travers (in 1988), and I am sure they are all going to try to run their ‘A’ race.”

As many as eight horses that ran in the Derby remain under consideration for the Preakness, headed by Orb.

“Orb will be even money or less,” Stall said of the Derby victor who earned the roses over a sloppy, sealed track. “There have been horses that have rebounded from Derbys, like Louis Quatorze (16th in the 1996 Derby), that won or ran well in the Preakness.

“Goldencents trained well here and then ran a 32 Beyer (Speed Figure) in the Derby. Horses can come back to themselves and run 70 to 80 points higher.”

Stall is eager to get to Baltimore.

“It is exciting and there is maybe more buildup to this than with Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Stall, who saddled Blame for a thrilling victory over previously undefeated Zenyatta in the 2010 Classic at Churchill. “My wife is from Baltimore and we are looking forward to a good time there and enjoying the race.”
ORB – Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb visited the Belmont Park paddock before galloping 1 ½ miles over a sloppy track Sunday morning.

Trainer Shug McGaughey also continued to stay busy with a flood of media requests that come with saddling the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

“I think it’s a big responsibility to accommodate what’s out there and try to portray what the win means to all of us – myself and my family, the Janneys and Phippses and their families and all the people at the barn,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I’d like to get it out there to people that racing can be a fun and rewarding sport.”

Orb, who captured the Derby by 2 ½ lengths a week ago, is scheduled to breeze at Belmont Park Monday morning, as long as the track at Belmont dries out.

“I think it will be fine. The sun’s out, there’s no humidity and the wind’s picking up. I think it’ll be fine,” said McGaughey, who is planning to ship Orb to Pimlico Monday following the scheduled breeze.
ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to work out between races at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon in preparation for a start in the Preakness.

“The racetrack was closed this morning. I’m going to work him between the third and fourth races here at Monmouth,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “Elvis Trujillo is going to work him.”

Itsmyluckyday was ridden by Trujillo in the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 15th, but Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount for the Preakness. Trujillo had previously ridden the Florida-bred colt to victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) before a second-place finish behind Orb in the Florida Derby (G1).

 

GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill has decided not to work the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, who has been overseeing the care of O’Neill’s 14 horses at Pimlico, said that a plan for a breeze Monday morning had been scrapped and the colt will gallop up to the Preakness.

“It was never certain that he was going to work. It was kind of tentative,” Sisterson said. “We never worked I’ll Have Another, so we’re going to stay on that schedule.”

O’Neill sent 2012 Derby winner I’ll Have Another to Pimlico two days after his victory at Churchill Downs. The colt flourished in the low-key atmosphere at Pimlico, turned in vigorous gallops and won the Preakness. Goldencents disappointed as the third choice in the Derby wagering, finishing 17th on the sloppy, sealed racetrack. O’Neill followed suit, though, and shipped Goldencents to Pimlico, where he resumed his morning-gallop schedule last Friday under his regular jockey, Kevin Krigger.

”He’s getting enough out of his training where he doesn’t need to work,” Sisterson said. “He’s doing very well.”

Krigger put Goldencents through the same routine Sunday, jogging down the stretch and around the first turn before sending him off to gallop a lap of the track.

“The one thing we’re starting to notice is he’s getting better each day,” Sisterson said. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong since we got here. He seems to be really getting over the track well and striding out. We’re very happy with him.”

O’Neill is scheduled to travel from California to Baltimore on Sunday and be at the barn at Pimlico Monday morning.

In 2012, O’Neill’s stable pony, the retired stakes winner Lava Man, received a lot of attention as he led the Derby winner to and from the track each morning. Lava Man isn’t part of the Preakness scene this year because of his relationship – or lack of it – with Goldencents.

“They’ve got the similarities where they are eager to train. Putting them both together, they wind each other up,” said Sisterson, who has been ponying Goldencents aboard Sapphire. “This is more of a relaxed pony.  It’s not to say that Lava Man and Goldencents don’t get along, but we want to have him as relaxed as possible in the morning to the point where he’s getting the most out of his training, instead of being wound up going to the track.”

A member of O’Neill’s staff said it is like putting two Type-A personalities together on a project.

“They kind of butt heads at times,” Sisterson said. “You get that with people. They enjoy training, they want to get on with it and they’re eager to make it happen. That’s both Goldencents and Lava Man.”

 

GOVENOR CHARLIE – Mike Pegram’s Govenor Charlie had an easy two-mile gallop under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez at Churchill Downs Sunday morning. The Bob Baffert trainee, who schooled in the Churchill paddock during Sunday’s first race, is scheduled to work Monday.

 

MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Maurice Sanchez. The fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher is scheduled to work Monday morning.

“It will be an easy half, nothing fancy,” trainer Tom Amoss said.

Jockey Rosie Napravnik is scheduled to be aboard for the work slated for 6 a.m.

 

NORMANDY INVASION – Trainer Chad Brown reported Sunday afternoon that Rick Porter’s Normandy Invasion will not run in the Preakness Stakes.

“Mr. Porter and I decided to pass on the Preakness with Normandy Invasion and focus on the summer campaign with him,” Brown said.

Normandy Invasion turned in a strong performance in the Kentucky Derby, taking the lead in the stretch before finishing fourth, 3 1/2 lengths behind Orb. Brown ruled out the Preakness on the morning after the Derby but decided on Monday to consider the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown for a few days.

 

OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Oxbow and Will Take Charge, the sixth- and eighth-place finishers, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby jogged two miles at Churchill Downs and Titletown Five, fourth in the Derby Trial (G3) in his most recent start, galloped 1 ½ miles Sunday morning.

“Oxbow and Will Take Charge will work in the morning and Titletown Five will breeze through the stretch,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

The Lukas Pimlico contingent that figures to be eight strong is scheduled to leave Louisville by van at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

 

VYJACK – Pick Six Racing’s Gotham (G3) winner remains a Preakness candidate. Aqueduct-based trainer Rudy Rodriguez said a decision on whether to run the gelding may not be made until Wednesday when entries are taken. Jockey Garrett Gomez had trouble controlling Vyjack early in the Derby. He was up on the pace in the early stages of the race but gave way and finished 18th.

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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.

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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.

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