Tag Archive | "Maryland Jockey Club"

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Laurel Park fall meet stakes schedule approved

Posted on 16 July 2013 by WNST Staff

LAUREL PARK FALL MEET STAKES SCHEDULE APPROVED

LAUREL, MD. 07-16-13—The Maryland Jockey Club unveiled the 2013 Laurel Park fall schedule today after reaching agreement with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The schedule was approved by the Maryland Racing Commission earlier this afternoon at its monthly meeting.

After a 14-week break, which will include ten live days of racing at Timonium during the State Fair in late August and early September, live racing will resume at the major tracks after Labor Day. Racing will take place four days a week through the end of the year on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, holidays excluded.

The 59-day fall meeting, which begins September 19 and concludes December 31, includes 31 stakes races, worth more than $3.3 million.

Headlining the stand will be the 28th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions on Saturday, Oct. 19 and the Fall Festival of Racing on Saturday, Sept. 21. That card will feature five stakes races on the turf as well as the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash and the Jameela Stakes for Maryland-breds.

“All of the stakes races will occur on six Saturday afternoons, which we feel will help our profile on the simulcast signal,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas.  “Kicking off the meet on opening weekend with five turf stakes and the De Francis Dash will get us off to a great start.”

The stakes races will take place on September 21 (seven stakes), October 19 (nine), November 9 (four), November 16 (four),December 7 (four) and December 28 (three).

Maryland Million officials have eliminated two stakes races from the program (Turf Sprint and Oaks) but will still run 11 races on the card, replacing those with a pair of $50,000 maiden races on the turf. In addition, the purses of the Turf and Ladies have been increased from $100,000 to $125,000.

Laurel Park Fall Meeting Dates:

  • ·        September 19-20-21
  • ·        September 25-26-27-28
  • ·        October 2-3-4-5
  • ·        October 9-10-11-12
  • ·        October 14-17-18-19
  • ·        October 23-24-25-26
  • ·        October 30-31-November 1-2
  • ·        November 6-7-8-9
  • ·        November 13-14-15-16
  • ·        November 20-21-22-23
  • ·        November 27-28-29-30
  • ·        December 4-5-6-7
  • ·        December 11-12-13-14
  • ·        December 18-19-20-21
  • ·        December 26-27-28
  • ·        December 31

 

About Laurel Park

Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

 

-mjc-

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MJC announces spring handle figures

Posted on 11 June 2013 by WNST Staff

PIMLICO ANNOUNCES SPRING HANDLE FIGURES

BALTIMORE, 06-11-13—The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its spring meeting at Pimlico Race Course last weekend with total wagering of $188 million, an increase of 12% from a year ago. However, the average daily handle was 12% lower than 2012, down from $5.2 million to $4.6 million, because of an increase in live racing days.

“There were a lot of positives about the meet,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “We decided to race through the Belmont Stakes for the first time since 2008, which is significant for two reasons. The first, we are a Triple Crown track and it is important to be open during the entire series. Secondly, we want to sustain the momentum built during Preakness but like the policy change made to the infield, it is going to take time for this to materialize.”

Preakness weekend was a major success as more than 156,000 fans attended the Black-Eyed Susan (38,957) and Preakness day (117,203) cards at Old Hilltop. During the two days, there were 26 high-quality races, including the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), and performances by nine musical acts in the famed infield.

“Opening up the infield on Friday was a home run,” added Chuckas. “We will continue to work to find ways to improve the weekend. It was also special to see D. Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens win the Preakness with Oxbow. Wayne is one of the best ambassadors in our sport and Gary’s comeback was complete with a crafty ride that stole the race for its Hall of Fame connections.”

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Your Monday Reality Check: Can’t say enough about Preakness infield transformation

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Your Monday Reality Check: Can’t say enough about Preakness infield transformation

Posted on 20 May 2013 by Glenn Clark

Four years ago, I described the first ever Preakness “Infieldfest” event as a “miserable failure” in a column here at WNST.net.

It was a terrible event in 2009, as many former attendees chose to boycott the event after the Maryland Jockey Club boldly announced they would ban the longtime tradition of allowing fans to bring their own beer to the Infield to revel. Attendance dipped well below 100,000 for the day, as the infield area was practically barren and few were compelled to come see musical acts like ZZ Top, Buckcherry and Charm City Devils.

We love a good sports redemption story, don’t we?

It’s with that in mind that Preakness has officially surpassed Josh Hamilton as the best redemption story of the millennium. And not because Preakness is capable of hitting home runs in September, either.

The 2013 version of Preakness was absolutely fantastic Saturday at Pimlico, despite the weather not being fully cooperative. The event was festive, energetic, fun and most importantly an outstanding representation of Baltimore on a national scale. Now seeing what the Preakness has become, it’s hard to imagine the event was ever the embarrassing, dangerous frat party it was known as throughout the country in the 90′s and much of the early 2000′s.

Perhaps the most amazing part of what the Maryland Jockey Club has accomplished with their transformation of Preakness is that they managed to keep the already existing positive aspects of the event and actually improve them in the process of gutting the most seedy parts of the event. (Combined with the fact that that they’ve done it without the type of support from their ownership (The Stronach Group) that would allow for major infrastructure changes, whether they be to the facility or to the year-long pedestal the sport of horse racing can be placed on within the state of Maryland.)

I did my best to visit every part of Pimlico Saturday, from the barns to the corporate village to the clubhouse to the grandstand to the press box to the turn to the infield and even to the Sports Palace (admittedly they thought twice before letting me in there). I was blown away with the number of stories people would tell me about how they had made a trip to the infield during the course of the day.

There was the Cockeysville girl (Nikki) in her late 20′s who was sitting in her family’s box on the turn who told me she took a break from the all you can drink area to see Florida Georgia Line because she is a big country music fan.

There was the mid-30′s man from Towson (AJ) whose friends had seats in the grandstand but wandered out to the infield with his college buddies to see Chevelle. He told me he didn’t even really mind having to pay for beer because it was still cheaper ($4) than most events.

There was the 40-something sales exec from Pikesville (Dustin) I bumped into during Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ main stage set. He was with a group that had a tent in the corporate village but told me it was nice to have the option to visit both spots.

There were the many Baltimore Ravens players (namely Torrey Smith, Arthur Jones, Justin Tucker, Michael Oher, Kelechi Osemele and Jameel McClain) who ventured seemingly everywhere around the track that I caught hanging around the stage as Pitbull was playing to a massive throng. I seemed to bump into these guys just about everywhere I went, including the huge Under Armour pavilion on the infield.

A neat thing about this entire group? They all talked to me at least a bit about horse racing. Whether they were asking me if I bought into Orb, trying to talk up another horse or even talking to me about some of the other races they had bet on during the course of the day, there was real horse racing conversation.

The Preakness infield has gone from the frightening spot where you would fear seeing your high school daughter end up to the must-attend place to be every May. It’s gone from the place where frat boy types up and down the east coast would descend simply because they knew the rules would allow for them to be a-holes to the place where young people from the Charm City region celebrate a rite of passage in the spring.

It’s not as if Infieldfest is without flaws, as the amount of alcohol consumed on the infield still allows from a few bad people to do questionable things. But it isn’t what Preakness once was. “The Running of the Urinals” is far gone and “the run to get tickets because we have to be there” is now very real. Just ask anyone who realized they missed their chance to join “The Mug Club” in the last couple of weeks.

I hope the MJC remains invested in upgrading Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico as well. I talk regularly about how special Kentucky Oaks day is in Louisville, and I believe there’s the possibility for the same to happen in Charm City. The partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the addition of live music (the Goo Goo Dolls helped bring a crowd of nearly 40,000 to Pimlico Friday) have been real upgrades, but more can still be done in the coming years by both the MJC and by the city of Baltimore to embrace the full weekend event.

I can’t say enough about how one bold decision made by Tom Chuckas and the Maryland Jockey Club ultimately reversed the course of Preakness forever. I criticized them in 2009. I was wrong. It took time, but what’s happened over the course of the last few years has been spectacular.

I can’t even imagine what the event is capable of becoming if Frank Stronach’s recent claims of major future investments in the track are truthful. I’ll admit skepticism, but I was also the guy that was more than skeptical of Infieldfest in 2009.

I was ultimately very wrong. I hope to be again.

-G

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Preakness winner Oxbow headed to Belmont Stakes

Posted on 19 May 2013 by WNST Staff

PREAKNESS WINNER OXBOW CONFIRMED FOR BELMONT STAKES

ORB ‘FINE’ AFTER DULL TRY;  ITSMYLUCKYDAY MAKES GRADE

 

BALTIMORE, 05-19-13 – Back in the 1980’s and ‘90s when trainer D. Wayne Lukas was winning Triple Crown races with astonishing regularity, the catch-phrase “D. Wayne off the plane” followed him from track to track as he made his hit-and-run assaults on racetracks across America with a lineup of assistants that included Todd Pletcher, Mark Hennig, Kiaran McLaughlin and Dallas Stewart.

The glory days of Lukas had seemingly subsided in the new millennium with the passing of wealthy clients like Eugene Klein, W. T. Young and Bob Lewis. In recent years, Lukas had geared down his operation and had become more of a fringe player on racing’s biggest stage.

That all changed Saturday when the 77-year-old Hall of Famer saddled his record-14th Triple Crown race winner, Oxbow, for the 138th Preakness for legendary Calumet Farm, which had similarly faded from the forefront of major thoroughbred racing,

It was the first spring classic winner for Lukas since Commendable took the Belmont Stakes in 2000, and the Preakness score by Oxbow ended a drought in the classics for Calumet dating all the way back to Forward Pass’s victory in the 1968 Preakness.

Lukas and his nine-horse contingent, that also included Dixie upsetter Skyring and his personal pony, were on the highway before dawn Sunday morning, heading back to their home base at Churchill Downs. Then it’s on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks with Oxbow and possibly seventh-place finisher Will Take Charge. Titletown Five, Lukas’ third Preakness entrant who finished last, will run in shorter races for the rest of his 3-year-old campaign.

“I’ve always rode with the horses all my career,” said Lukas, who now has six Preakness winners, one behind Robert Walden for the all-time record in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. “I used to go on the airplanes and stand there with them all the time. We don’t fly much anymore.”

He’s “the man on the van” these days, having ridden in a pickup truck for more than 12 hours to Pimlico on Tuesday and scheduled to follow the same routine back home Sunday.

“I’ll get him home at feeding time just about,” Lukas said. “By the time I get him home and give him a bath it’ll be right about 5 o’clock. They put a bucket seat where I ride on kind of an air-ride slide thing. It’s like riding in a boat somewhere on the waves.”

This Preakness was a serious helping of history for the connections of the winner. In addition to Lukas and Calumet, jockey Gary Stevens capped an unlikely comeback at age 50 by winning his third Preakness (Silver Charm and Point Given).

Last year at this time, Stevens was working in Baltimore as a TV analyst for NBC and HRTV. Lukas said all week he was thrilled to have the Hall of Famer aboard Oxbow and was encouraged by his Derby performance.

“He’s so on top of all this stuff,” Lukas said. “He’ll tell you the fractions, who was laying fourth on the backside and everything. He’s very into this, very into this.”

Oxbow, a son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, is Lukas’ first Preakness winner since Charismatic in 1999. His other Preakness winners were Timber Country (1995), Tabasco Cat (1994), Tank’s Prospect (1985) and Codex in 1980.

Over those glory days, there was a sometimes not-so-friendly rivalry with colleague Bob Baffert, who saddled Govenor Charlie to a disappointing eighth-place finish Saturday. It was Baffert’s 14th Preakness starter (five winners), well behind Lukas’ record total of 40.

“Over the years a lot of people thought that Baffert and I had a rivalry, when actually we come from pretty similar backgrounds and we’re pretty good friends,” Lukas said. “It was really significant yesterday when he came down and congratulated me right after the race. A mutual friend of ours said that when his horse didn’t look like he was getting it done at the half-mile pole, Bob and a friend were jumping up and down and saying: ‘Go get ‘em, Lukey.’ “

Lukas said almost immediately after the Preakness that he hoped to try Oxbow in the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes.

“I was trying to be politically correct all week, but I thought (Oxbow) was the toughest horse. I thought if there was some adversity or something went wrong, he had the best chance to overcome,” Lukas said. “Will Take Charge is so big that he has to get a clear run. He can’t check, stop, take a bump or anything. The other horse (Titletown Five) we knew was going to need a career quantum leap forward.”

 

ORB – Kentucky Derby hero Orb boarded a van bound for New York at 7 o’clock Sunday morning, showing no ill effects from Saturday’s disappointing fourth-place finish in the Preakness.

“He came out of it fine. He’s sound. Physically, everything is fine,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “We’ll get him up the road and evaluate the situation to see where we’ll go.”

McGaughey didn’t have a concrete explanation for Orb’s surprisingly dull performance as the 3-5 favorite that followed a sharp, dominating 2 ½-length victory two weeks earlier at Churchill Downs.

“The racetrack was probably deep down the inside there. There was a lot of throwback. We couldn’t get to the outside. I thought he was in good position and he took him to the right position, and all of a sudden he had no horse. Why that was, I don’t know,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I think it wasn’t our day and it was Oxbow’s day.”

Saturday’s disappointment in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown only made McGaughey appreciate the Derby victory even more.

“Winning the Derby was my lifelong dream. We won it. I would have loved to win (Saturday) to take it to the next level, so I do appreciate how tough it is,” McGaughey said. “If I have the opportunity again (to compete in the Derby), I may cherish it even more, because I’ve seen how tough it is to get it done. Maybe, I do appreciate how tough it is to win more. As brilliant as we were two weeks ago, we weren’t as brilliant yesterday.”

McGaughey will monitor Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s homebred colt’s training at Belmont Park before deciding his status for the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8.

“I want to see him bounce back and see his soundness level and his energy level,” he said. “I think there are a lot of good wins down the road for him.”

 

ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday looked bright Sunday morning, earning high marks from trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. for the manner in which he exited his second-place finish behind Oxbow in Saturday’s Preakness.

“On a 1-to-10 scale, 10-plus,” Plesa said.

Itsmyluckyday, who had finished 15th over the sloppy Churchill Downs track in the Kentucky Derby, rebounded with a strong showing at Pimlico. The son of Lawyer Ron, who was forwardly placed in fourth as Oxbow set a comfortable pace along the backstretch, kicked in through the stretch but could get no closer than 1 ¾ lengths of D. Wayne Lukas’ sixth Preakness winner.

“I wouldn’t take anything away from Wayne’s horse, but they went the half in 48-and-change. That’s pretty much walking. Did that help his horse? Absolutely. Did it hurt my horse? Absolutely,” Plesa said. “I won’t say anything other than: ‘I wish the pace would have been quicker.’”

Plesa said Itsmyluckyday’s dismal Derby showing did nothing to undermine his confidence in his colt’s abilities, but he was happy that the Florida-bred got a chance to prove his critics wrong.

“Everybody was throwing him out because he couldn’t get the distance and he ran a lousy race. I hate to use slop as an excuse, but it was a valid excuse. We all knew that,” Plesa said. “Not for us, but for other people, it validates his ability.

That’s not a bad thing. They’re like your children. You don’t like to read something bad about your children. We know what we have. He’s an exceptional horse; there’s no doubt about it.”

A start in the Belmont Stakes is far from a definite for the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner.

“It’s 50-50 at best,” Plesa said.

Itsmyluckyday, who was scheduled to ship to Monmouth Park Sunday, is a far more definite candidate to run in the Haskell Invitational at the New Jersey track on July 28.

“The Haskell is on my list. God willing, that’s a certainty,” Plesa said.

 

MYLUTE - Fourteen hours after his colt finished third in the Preakness, trainer Tom Amoss said Sunday that he was even more impressed with the performance than he was Saturday.

“Upon reflection, I think my horse ran the best race of his career,” Amoss said. “The slow pace was impossible for us to overcome and yet he still ran a very good race. I don’t know where the rest of the speed went in yesterday’s Preakness. It looked like there was quite a bit on paper, but it just didn’t materialize.”

Amoss said the son of Midnight Lute owned by GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm has earned a little bit of time off.

“As far as future plans, nothing is on the board right now,” he said. “I’ll get together with the owners at the beginning of the week and we’ll discuss what to do. He’s had two races close together and I think that’s going to be taken into account when we have that conversation.”

And Amoss saluted the winning trainer and jockey combination of Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens. Lukas, 77, won his record 14th Triple Crown race and Stevens, 50, earned his third Preakness just a few months after ending a seven-year retirement.

“It was a masterful job,” Amoss said. “As far as Wayne is concerned, you’ve got to tip your hat to him. Over the last year he’s made a remarkable comeback and put himself where he used to be, which is at the top of the trainers’ charts.”

 

GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill and his fifth-place Preakness finisher Goldencents will not be going on to Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes as originally planned. Team O’Neill and the colt departed early Sunday morning to return to Southern California.

“It doesn’t make sense to go on to the Belmont,” O’Neill said. “We had talked prior (to the Preakness) that if we didn’t run huge and came out of it great, we wouldn’t come back in three weeks. Even though I’m very proud of him and the way Kevin (Krigger) rode him, I just don’t think coming back in three weeks off that effort is the right move.”

Last year, O’Neill left Pimlico looking for a sweep to the Triple Crown with I’ll Have Another, who had followed up his Kentucky Derby win with a score in the Preakness. He would never get the opportunity when the son of Flower Alley came down with a leg injury that forced him to be scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes.

Goldencents, a three-time stakes winner going into this year’s Kentucky Derby, was a dismal 17th at Churchill Downs, but O’Neill believed the sloppy, sealed race track was largely responsible for that. He admitted the son of Into Mischief simply couldn’t keep up with Preakness winner Oxbow after briefly heading him coming out of the gate on Saturday.

“We’ll relax and see what’s in the cards five, six, seven weeks down the road,” O’Neill said. “You’ve got the 3-year-old series on the turf down at Del Mar, so we could possibly try a different surface with him.

“Or we could go over him good, train him out there and then look for races like the Haskell or Travers somewhere down the road. We’ll huddle up with the owners and put together a game plan. He’s a good horse. You’ll be hearing from him.”

 

DEPARTING - Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s War Front gelding was shipped back to Kentucky Sunday morning following his sixth-place finish in the Preakness.

“He’s fine, but he cooled out very tired,” trainer Al Stall said.

Stall said he had not talked with the owners about future plans for Departing, but that he would not be participating in the Belmont Stakes.

 

GOVENOR CHARLIE - Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported Sunday that the eighth-place finisher came out of the race in good shape and was being shipped back to California with stablemate Fiftyshadesofhay, the winner of the Black-Eyed Susan (G2).

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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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