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Derby winner California Chrome, two others arrive at Pimlico

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Derby winner California Chrome, two others arrive at Pimlico

Posted on 12 May 2014 by WNST Staff

CALIFORNIA CHROME MAKES THE 139TH PREAKNESS SCENE

Derby Winner, Ride On Curlin and General a Rod Arrive at Pimlico

 

BALTIMORE, 05-12-14 – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome arrived at Pimlico Race Course Monday at 3:12 p.m. to continue his quest for an elusive Triple Crown sweep in Saturday’s 139th Preakness Stakes (G1).

The 3-year-old California-bred colt, who captured the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs by 1 ¾ lengths on May 3, was soon joined at Pimlico by Preakness candidates Ride On Curlin and General a Rod, who accompanied the Derby winner on his flight from Kentucky but arrived on another van.

California Chrome, who has won five stakes races in a row by a combined 26 lengths, is expected to be heavily favored to win the $1.5 million Preakness and become the first California-bred to capture the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown since Snow Chief made his way into the Pimlico winner’s circle in 1986. Three other California-bred horses – Candy Spots (1963), Kalitan (1917) and Old England (1902) – had previously prevailed in the 1 3/16-mile spring classic.

Alan Sherman, the assistant trainer for his father Art Sherman, was at Pimlico to greet California Chrome, who was bedded down in the Preakness Stakes Barn in Stall 40, the stall traditionally reserved for the Kentucky Derby winner, as photographers snapped his every move.

“Everything went great,” said Sherman, whose father returned to Southern California a couple days after the Kentucky Derby to tend to the rest of his stable based at Los Alamitos. “He just stood there. He loved getting his picture taken.”

The 77-year-old Art Sherman, who became the oldest trainer to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner on May 3, will be making his first visit to Pimlico after his scheduled arrival in Baltimore on Tuesday. He is not a complete stranger to Maryland, however, having ridden at old Bowie Race Course in 1959.

Following training hours at Churchill Downs Monday morning, California Chrome and the others were vanned from Louisville to Lexington, Ky., where they boarded a flight that landed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 1:46 p.m. The vans carrying the trio of Preakness contenders, as well as other candidates for Preakness Weekend stakes, received a Baltimore City Police Dept. escort to Pimlico.

Alan Sherman said he’d send the Derby winner to the track Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. but is undecided whether he’ll jog or have a light gallop.

“I haven’t made up my mind. We’ll see how he eats up tonight,” said Sherman, who reported that California Chrome would not have another workout leading up to the Preakness. “He’s fit. I’m not worried about him being fit.”

Sherman expressed no qualms about bringing back California Chrome in the Preakness on just two weeks rest.

“I’m not scared, I’m just excited,” he said. “It’s quite the experience. We’ve never gone through anything like this before.”

Ride On Curlin, trained by Billy Gowan for owner Daniel Dougherty, closed from 19th and last  in traffic to finish seventh in the Derby, 6 ¾ lengths behind California Chrome.

“He shipped good,” said Gowan after 10 or 15 trips around the shedrow of the Preakness Stakes Barn with Ride On Curlin. “He’s got a good mind; nothing much bothers him. I rode on the plane with him and in the van with him. It was good. We got a police escort, so we didn’t have to stop.”

Gowan said he’ll take the colt out for a gallop over the Pimlico surface Tuesday morning at about 8:30 a.m.

Mike Maker-trained General a Rod, who is owned by Skychai Racing and Starlight Racing, finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby following a troubled trip.

“The trip was no problem, everything was very good,” said Joel Berrenlos, exercise rider for General a Rod, who will be stabled in Barn D. “He looks good and he’s ready to go to work, so we’re hoping for the best.”

Maker was due to arrive later Monday evening.

Pablo Del Monte had been scheduled to fly with the Derby winner Monday before trainer Wesley Ward made a late decision to postpone his departure from Kentucky. Pablo Del Monte is slated to join fellow Preakness candidates Bayern, Dynamic Impact and Ria Antonia on a flight originating from Louisville on Wednesday.

Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable’s Kid Cruz was scheduled for an early evening arrival Monday at Pimlico. The Linda Rice-trained son of Lemon Drop Kid, who was slated to van from Belmont Park, captured the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico on April 19.

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Borel confirmed to ride Ria Antonia in Preakness

Posted on 12 May 2014 by WNST Staff

CALIFORNIA CHROME HEADS TO PIMLICO FOR 139TH PREAKNESS; RIDE ON CURLIN, GENERAL A ROD ACCOMPANY DERBY WINNER; SOCIAL INCLUSION  BREEZES SHARP HALF-MILE AT PIMLICO; BAYERN WORKS AT CHURCHILL FOR ROSIE NAPRAVNIK

 

CALIFORNIA CHROME – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome boarded a van at Churchill Downs at 10:17 a.m. Monday for the first leg of his journey to Pimlico Race Course to headline Saturday’s 139th Preakness Stakes (G1).

Accompanied by Preakness candidates Ride On Curlin and General a Rod, California Chrome rode by van from Louisville to Lexington, Ky., where he boarded a flight bound for Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Scheduled to arrive at BWI at1:45 p.m., the Derby winner and company are slated to receive a Baltimore City Police escort to Pimlico with an approximate arrival time of 3 p.m.

California Chrome completed the Churchill Downs portion of his training for the Preakness Stakes by galloping 1 ¼ miles with Willie Delgado aboard.

“Everything is perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Alan Sherman, assistant trainer to his father Art Sherman, of the colt’s stay in Louisville following his victory in the Run for the Roses. “He lost a little weight after the race but put it all back on quickly.”

Victor Espinoza, winner of the 2002 Preakness on War Emblem, has the return mount.

 

BAYERN – Trainer Bob Baffert’s hope for a sixth Preakness victory, Bayern, worked five furlongs over a fast track at Churchill Downs early Monday morning in 1:02 3/5 in company.

Owned by Kaleem Shah, Bayern and jockey Rosie Napravnik stepped onto the track shortly after 6 o’clock. Starting about a length back on the outside of 5-year-old multiple graded-stakes winner Drill with Jorge Alvarez up, Bayern produced fractions of :13 3/5, :26 2/5, :38 4/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15 1/5.

The five-furlong move was the ninth fastest of 17 at the distance.

“I love that horse,” Napravnik said of Bayern. “He always relaxes for me and does what you ask.”

Napravnik rode Bayern for the first time in a race in the Derby Trial (G3), finishing first but disqualified to second for interference in the stretch. She also has been aboard for three workouts at Churchill Downs and is ready to tackle Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome in the Preakness.

“California Chrome is very impressive,” said Napravnik, who finished third in last year’s Preakness on Mylute. “But he (Bayern) definitely will be a challenge for him.”

 

DYNAMIC IMPACT – John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact walked the shedrow at Barn 36 at Churchill Downs, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 in preparation for the Preakness.

“He came out of the work fine and will go back to the track Tuesday,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father Mark Casse.

Miguel Mena will have the mount Saturday in his first Preakness.

 

GENERAL A ROD – Gulfstream Park Derby winner General a Rod galloped Monday morning before departing Churchill Downs via van to Lexington for a flight to Baltimore.

“He’s doing good; everything’s fine,” said trainer Mike Maker, who is slated to arrive Monday evening.

Maker, who is scheduled to saddle his first Preakness starter Saturday, said there were two primary factors that led the connections to run back in two weeks after an 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“He came out of his race good and it’s the Preakness,” Maker said. “It’s the second leg of the Triple Crown. If you’ve got a good horse, you want to be in it.”

General a Rod started from post 8 in the Kentucky Derby but was unable to utilize his normal tactical speed and get position. Once he was shuffled back to 16th through the first turn, he was never able to mount a serious threat to California Chrome.

“The distance wasn’t a concern,” Maker said. “He’s run at a mile and an eighth (Florida Derby, G1), too.”

General a Rod’s last win came at a mile, but he was second in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream and a close-up third in the Florida Derby.

General A Rod will run in the silks of Jim Shircliff, the largest investor in Skychai Racing, as he did in the Derby.

 

KID CRUZ – Federico Tesio winner Kid Cruz galloped and was schooled at the gate for the second day in a row at Belmont Park in preparation for a van ride to Pimlico Race Course that would arrive between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to trainer Linda Rice.

Owned by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, Kid Cruz will be one of seven non-Kentucky Derby starters in Saturday’s expected field of 10 for the 139th Preakness. At least four of the competitors have shown an affinity for early speed while Kid Cruz is a well documented closer.

“It certainly can’t hurt,” Rice said. “In his two previous races (Tesio and Private Terms), there’s been no pace at all and he’s managed to close into it. These are much faster horses, though. Hopefully he can catch them.”

Kid Cruz was especially impressive in winning the nine-furlong Private Terms at Laurel in his first stakes start on March 8. Sitting dead last in a field of 10 in the backstretch, the son of Lemon Drop Kid passed the entire field under jockey Julian Pimentel and won by four lengths. The margin was 3 ½ lengths in the Tesio at Pimlico on April 19.

Rice will attempt to become the first female trainer to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown and is already set to make history as part of the race’s first edition to include a female trainer, jockey (Rosie Napravnik) and horse (Ria Antonia). Unaware of that scenario, Rice said she’s more focused on the race itself.

Rice paused for a few seconds, then laughed. “I’m still rooting for Kid Cruz,” she said.

Pimentel, who rode in both stakes wins, will be aboard the former claimer for the third time on Saturday.

 

PABLO DEL MONTE – Trainer Wesley Ward returned to his original plan to ship Pablo Del Monte from Kentucky to Baltimore on Wednesday’s charter flight.

Ward said Sunday that he would ship the colt on Monday because the flight would originate from the Lexington, Ky. airport, which is just a couple miles from his barn at Keeneland. He reversed himself on Monday, though, and notified Tex Sutton officials that his homebred colt would not leave until Wednesday.

“I got thinking about it,” Ward said, “and my horse is just thriving right now at Keeneland. With the direct flight on WednesdayI just thought, ‘let me leave him right where he’s at.’ I generally like to ship in right on top of the races when I go to England and France and thought I would stick with the original plan and train him right there at Keeneland, where he has trained his whole life, then ship a couple of days out and run.”

Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez will ride the colt in the Preakness Stakes. Sanchez was aboard for Pablo Del Monte’s six-furlong breeze in 1:12 1/5 Saturday at Keeneland.

 

RIA ANTONIA – After a 7 o’clock phone call Monday morning with Ron Paolucci (Loooch Racing Stable), trainer Tom Amoss confirmed that Ria Antonia would run in Saturday’s Preakness and that Calvin Borel would ride.

“She had a nice work yesterday (:47 3/5 for a half-mile with Borel up) and looks good today,” Amoss said. “We have a healthy, sound horse and we are ready to roll the dice.”

Ria Antonia finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 2 and joined the Amoss barn three days later.

“The idea (to run in the Preakness) was Ron’s,” said Amoss, who has trained a string of horses for Loooch for two years. “She passed all the tests with us physically, mentally and how she trained.

“I got to see her before the Oaks and she prepared well and worked well before the race. I don’t know what happened in the Oaks, but I like the way she looks now.”

Ria Antonia is set to become the first filly to run in the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra won the race in 2009 under Borel. A total of 53 fillies have previously run in the Preakness.

“We wanted to get a rider that had the opportunity to work her and feel good about it,” Amoss said. “I know Calvin’s confidence is strong after the work.”

Borel has ridden in the Preakness two other times; 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who finished second to Curlin, and 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who finished eighth behind Lookin At Lucky.

Amoss knows it will be a challenge to knock off Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome on Saturday.

“We are looking forward to running,” said Amoss, whose Mylute finished third in last year’s Preakness behind Oxbow. “I see it as California Chrome versus the rest. If he runs his race, he’ll win. If it is not his day, it opens a number of possibilities and opportunities for the other runners, including us.”

Ria Antonia is scheduled to return to the track to jog Tuesday morning then gallop Wednesday morning before getting on an early afternoon flight to Baltimore from Louisville International Airport.

With the announcement Monday that Ria Antonia will be entered, the Preakness will make history Saturday with a filly, a female trainer and a female jockey all competing in the race for the first time. Trainer Linda Rice will make her Preakness debut with Kid Cruz and Bayern’s jockey, Rosie Napravnik, is set for her second ride in Maryland’s signature race.

Though it is a first for the Preakness, it will be the third time that at a Triple Crown race has had a filly, a female trainer and a female jockey. The 1984 Kentucky Derby was the first with Patricia Cooksey riding So Vague to an 11th place finish, one spot ahead of Biloxi Indian, trained by Diane Carpenter. There were two fillies in the 110th Derby, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained entry of Life’s Magic and Althea that was favored at 5-2. Life’s Magic finished eighth and Althea was 19th in the 20-horse field.

The Belmont Stakes triple came in 1996 when Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone rode South Salem, who was eased; Cynthia Reese saddled the ninth-place finisher In Contention; and My Flag finished third.

 

RIDE ON CURLIN – Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin galloped an easy 1 1/8 miles shortly after the track opened at Churchill Downs with Bryan Beccia aboard.

Seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Ride On Curlin left Churchill Downs by van shortly after 10 a.m. for the trip to Lexington and a flight to Baltimore along with Derby winner California Chrome and Preakness hopeful General a Rod.

Trainer Billy Gowan was pleased with the Kentucky-based preparation for the Preakness for Ride On Curlin, who will be riddenSaturday by Joel Rosario.

“Everything has been perfect; just like we drew it up,” Gowan said. “When he gets there, he may school in the paddock one day but won’t go to the gate. He’ll gallop tomorrow and maybe work a bit Wednesday.”                      

RING WEEKEND – St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend jogged five-eighths of a mile and galloped a mile under Alice Clapham Monday morning at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.

It was the gelded son of Tapit’s first trip to the racetrack following his six-furlong workout in 1:13 1/5 on Saturday. He jogged a half-mile behind trainer Graham Motion’s barn at Fair Hill Sunday morning.

Ring Weekend, who captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and finished second in the Calder Derby, is scheduled to ship to Pimlico after training hours Thursday morning and before the noon deadline set for Preakness entrants.

“If I had my preference, I wouldn’t be there until Saturday, but I understand that we need to be there Thursday, and that’s fair enough,” Motion said.

Motion confirmed that Alan Garcia is set to ride Ring Weekend Saturday.

 

SOCIAL INCLUSION – Rontos Racing Stable Corp’s Social Inclusion breezed a half-mile in 47 seconds at Pimlico Race Course Monday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Preakness.

“This morning when we came to the track I told the owner I wanted 46-and-change,” said trainer Manny Azpurua, who watched the move from the porch of the Pimlico press box with Ron Sanchez of Rontos Racing. “So, I’m happy. The jockey didn’t move on him. It was just what I was looking for.”

Jockey Luis Contreras, who has ridden the Azpurua-trained colt in all three of his career races, traveled from Woodbine Race Course in suburban Toronto to Pimlico for the work.

“He did it very easy. Manny told me to give him a good work with a good finish. He did it easy and so strong,” Contreras said. “He’s such a good horse. When you watch him, he looks like he’s running on air.”

The son of Pioneerof the Nile cut out fractions of :12 1/5, :23 2/5 and :35 3/5 on his way to the recorded official clocking, before galloping out five furlongs in :59 3/5 and six furlongs in 1:13 3/5.

Contreras, who rode Social Inclusion to a pair of dominating victories at Gulfstream during the winter before finishing third in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on April 5, expressed his gratitude that Gulfstream Park-based Azpurua and Sanchez have opted to stick with him for the Preakness.

“When they told me they wanted me to ride him in the Preakness, I was so happy, because sometimes when you leave to go to ride at another track, you can lose mounts,” said the defending two-time Woodbine champion, who rode at Gulfstream during the winter before returning to Canada in April. “You know I’ve been riding for 10 years and this horse makes me so excited; he makes me feel so comfortable and so confident. When I sit on him, I feel the power.”

After a 7-1/2-length debut victory and a track record-breaking allowance win at Gulfstream, Social Inclusion suffered his first loss in the Wood, in which he broke a step slowly from his outside post position and was forced to race wide around the first turn before setting the pace into deep stretch and tiring to finish third. The loss, while disappointing, has provided Contreras with added confidence going into the Preakness.

“His first two races he did it easy. In his last race, he got beat, but he was fighting right to the end. He tried to fight back and lost second by a nose,” he said. “It’s great to feel the power underneath you and know that if something happens in the race, he’s still going to give you 110 percent. He showed me he could fight.”

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Derby winner California Chrome among five Preakness horses set to arrive Monday

Posted on 11 May 2014 by WNST Staff

CALIFORNIA CHROME TRAINING  LIKE A ‘ROCK STAR;’ DERBY WINNER, FOUR OTHERS SET TO ARRIVE AT PIMLICO MONDAY; DYNAMIC IMPACT, RIA ANTONIA BREEZE AT CHURCHILL

CALIFORNIA CHROME – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome continued his preparation for a scheduled start in Saturday’s 139th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course by galloping 1 ¾ miles over a “good” racetrack early Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

 

“He loves it out there,” exercise rider Willie Delgado said. “Whatever he does, I just let him do. He is a rock star and I am just a groupie. He is the Kentucky Derby winner; he can do whatever he wants.”

 

What California Chrome wanted to do in the first part of the activity was pick up the pace when a trio of horses galloped past.

 

“That’s just him,” said Delgado, who rode and trained in Maryland before venturing to the West Coast last fall. “He is so competitive that he wants to go.”

 

Delgado, who began getting on California Chrome last fall, is eager to see what California Chrome will do in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

 

“I think he’ll love Pimlico,” Delgado said. “It is a lot like Los Alamitos with sharp turns and a long stretch.”

 

As far as any letdown from the Derby victory is concerned, Delgado doesn’t see it.

 

“I am amazed at how quick he bounced back from the race,” Delgado said. “I have never been around one that bounced back that quickly. He goes out and does a mile and three-quarters like it’s nothing.”

 

Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, said California Chrome would go to the track at 6 Monday morning to jog or gallop before making the journey to Baltimore.

 

California Chrome is one of five Preakness candidates scheduled to arrive at Pimlico Monday. The Derby winner is set to share a plane in Lexington, Ky. with Pablo Del Monte, Ride On Curlin and General a Rod, while Kid Cruz is scheduled to arrive from Belmont Park.

 

BAYERN – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has decided to take the blinkers off speedy Bayern for Saturday’s 139th Preakness Stakes.

 

The son of Offlee Wild has pressed the pace in all four of his career starts. He broke his maiden on Jan. 4 wearing blinkers but didn’t have them on for an allowance victory by 15 lengths on Feb. 13 or his third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 12. The blinkers were back on for the Derby Trial (G3) on April 26, when he finished first but was disqualified and placed second.

 

There appears to be plenty of speed in the Preakness: Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, Pablo Del Monte, Ring Weekend, Social Inclusion and Dynamic Impact have all been prominently placed in their recent races. After the Derby Trial DQ, Baffert said that the colt had to be able to stalk the pace, hence the decision to make the equipment change.

 

”If we’re going to get him to track horses, track the speed, he needs them off,” Baffert said Sunday.

 

Bayern, purchased by Kaleem Shah at a 2-year-old in training sale for $320,000 last year, galloped 1 ½ miles after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez aboard. The Baffert trainee, who later schooled in the paddock with the horses in Churchill’s first race, is scheduled to have his final work for the Preakness Monday morning and ship to Baltimore on Wednesday.

 

DYNAMIC IMPACT – John Oxley’s Illinois Derby (G3) winner Dynamic Impact worked five furlongs in company in 1:01 3/5with jockey Miguel Mena aboard.

 

Dynamic Impact started a couple lengths behind his workmate and finished even at the wire with fractions of :13, :37.3/5 and a six-furlong gallop out time of 1:15 2/5. The move was the 18th fastest of 41 for five furlongs.

 

“I am glad we got the work in,” said Norman Casse, assistant trainer to father Mark Casse, of the move that had been postponed a day. “He started off a little slow, but finished strong and moved well over the track.”

 

Dynamic Impact had worked five furlongs in company in 1:00 1/5 on May 3 in his first breeze since winning the Illinois Derby on April 19.

 

Dynamic Impact is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Wednesday and Mena, who will be riding in his first Preakness, is headed to Pimlico on Friday to ride Tepin for Casse in the $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes at six furlongs. Mena has ridden Tepin in all four of her starts, including a victory in her most recent outing in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) in November.

 

GENERAL A ROD – Skychai Racing LLC and Starlight Racing’s General a Rod galloped at Churchill Downs Sunday morning and is scheduled to arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport Monday at approximately 1:45 p.m.

 

“I’ve been a fan of the horse since I saw him run on Jan. 1 at Gulfstream (a head victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby),” said Starlight managing partner Jack Wolf, whose group joined Skychai in purchasing the colt from J. Armando Rodriguez days before his troubled 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. “We didn’t see the real General a Rod that day. I think he’s got a lot of good races in front of him.”

 

Trained by Mike Maker, General a Rod had never finished out of the money in five starts before encountering traffic in the Derby under jockey Joel Rosario. Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano has been named to ride him in the Preakness with Rosario having already committed to Ride On Curlin.

 

“Javier gave the horse a very good ride in the Fountain of Youth,” Wolf said. “I think it was an easy choice for Mike when he came open. I think he’ll do a good job for us and the horse.”

 

General a Rod, a $72,000 yearling purchase, has already earned $282,000 and is set to be Maker’s first Preakness starter. He was third in the Florida Derby (G1), losing by only 1 ½ lengths to well regarded Constitution in his final Derby prep.

 

KID CRUZ – The two-time Maryland stakes winner galloped 1 ½ miles and did some gate schooling at Belmont Park Sundaymorning, Trainer Linda Rice, who is slated to saddle her first Preakness starter Saturday, reported that the son of Lemon Drop Kid was scheduled to school in the paddock before the fourth race on Sunday.

 

“He’s sharp and he’s ready for a race,” said Rice, who plans to van the Federico Tesio and Private Terms winner to Pimlico after training at Belmont on Monday.  “It’s a very prestigious race, and it’s very exciting to have a horse go to the Preakness that deserves mention. Frankly, I’m really not interested in going to a race unless I think we have a legitimate chance.”

 

Kid Cruz took an unlikely and circuitous route to the Preakness, having originally been purchased by Black Swan Stable for $80,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Sale and sent to trainer by Bill Mott. After a dismal outing in his debut on grass, he was claimed out of a maiden victory at Aqueduct for $50,000 by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds with Black Swan later buying back  a share of the colt.

 

He has since won two of three starts on dirt for Rice, including the ungraded stakes at Laurel and Pimlico. The Preakness will be the first graded-stakes start for the confirmed late runner.

 

“We were not able to consider the Kentucky Derby because he didn’t have any points to get into it,” Rice said. “I had entered in the Wood Memorial (Aqueduct) with hopes of running, but we weren’t able to run that day. We ran him in the Tesio (Pimlico) instead in hopes of making the Preakness. It’s going to be a big step up in competition from his two previous wins, but at this point I’m excited about giving it a try.”

 

PABLO DEL MONTE - Trainer Wesley Ward reported that Pablo Del Monte walked Sunday, a typical morning after hisSaturday breeze at Keeneland.

 

The Giant’s Causeway colt, bred by Ward and co-owned with Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, worked six furlongs in company in 1:12 1/5 Saturday morning. He will ship from Lexington, Ky. to Baltimore on a charter flight Monday.

 

Ward joked that Pablo Del Monte was doing so well Sunday that he had to bring in reinforcements to help out because the colt had so much energy.

 

Assistant trainer Blake Heap will handle the horse at Pimlico until Ward arrives later in the week.

 

Ward has had two previous Preakness starters: Pleasant Prince, 11th in 2010, and Flashpoint, 14th in 2011.

 

RIA ANTONIA – Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia worked a half-mile on her own in 47 3/5 seconds over a track labeled as “good” early Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

 

With Calvin Borel up for trainer Tom Amoss, Ria Antonia covered the first quarter-mile in :24 1/5 and galloped out five furlongs in1:00. The move was the fourth fastest of 52 at the distance for the morning.

 

“Everything has been extremely positive with her and whatever the plan is, we are excited about her,” said Amoss of Ria Antonia, who was transferred into his barn last Monday following a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).  “All of her preparation with me has been very good.”

 

Amoss said a decision regarding the Preakness would come Monday.

 

“I am going to talk with Ron (Paolucci of Loooch Racing) this morning and then again Monday morning after she’s had a day,” Amoss said. “I am sure a decision will be made tomorrow.”

 

RIDE ON CURLIN – Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin galloped an easy 1 1/8 miles after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Bryan Beccia up.

 

Trainer Billy Gowan said Ride On Curlin would go to the track at 6 o’clock Monday morning to train before being prepared for a 10 a.m. departure by van to Lexington to join California Chrome on a flight bringing him to Pimlico.

Beccia’s departure will be quicker.

 

“As soon as I jump off him, I’m jumping in my car and heading to Baltimore,” Beccia said.

 

RING WEEKEND: Trainer Graham Motion reported Sunday morning that St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend came out of Saturday’s workout at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. in good order.

 

“He went out for a jog this morning and everything went well,” Motion said. “He jogged about a half-mile here behind my barn.”

 

Ring Weekend, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner, breezed six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 Saturday.

 

SOCIAL INCLUSION – Rontos Racing Stable Corp’s Social Inclusion galloped 1 ½ miles at Pimlico Race Course Sundaymorning, demonstrating good energy in his second pass of the grandstand.

 

“He looks good,” said trainer Manny Azpurua as the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile walked off the track under exercise rider Domingo Navarro. “He’s ready for tomorrow.”

 

Social Inclusion is scheduled to breeze at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

 

“How far, it all depends. But right now, I think he’ll go a half mile,” the 85-year-old South Florida-based trainer said.

 

Jockey Luis Contreras is scheduled to travel from Woodbine to Pimlico for Monday’s breeze.

 

Social Inclusion is slated to make his fourth lifetime start in the Preakness. The Kentucky-bred colt kicked off his career with a pair of easy victories at Gulfstream, including a track-record breaking allowance score at 1 1/16 miles in his second start before finishing third in the Wood Memorial (G1).

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Napravnik set to return to Pimlico for first time since Small’s passing

Posted on 10 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Napravnik Ready for Emotional Homecoming in 139th Preakness Stakes

Ring Weekend Breezes at Fair Hill; Pablo Del Monte Works at Keeneland; Derby Winner California Chrome Gallops at Churchill

 

BALTIMORE – 5-10-14 – When Rosie Napravnik ventures to Pimlico Race Course to ride Bayern in next Saturday’s 139thrunning of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the 26-year-old riding star can expect an emotional homecoming.

A familiar face will not be there to greet her. Trainer Dickie Small, who gave her a leg up on her very first winner, passed away on April 4.

“There’ll be a void at Pimlico,” said Napravnik, who guided the Small-trained Ringofdiamonds to victory at Pimlico in her first career ride on June 9, 2005. “When I ride in big races and do well, he’s one of the first people I think of.  I know how proud of me he would be.”

Small’s presence will be missed next weekend, but Napravnik can expect a lot of support from family and friends at Pimlico as she attempts to realize a schoolgirl’s dream of someday winning the Preakness Stakes, as well as the Kentucky Derby.

“It would be just as special. It’s a Triple Crown race. It’s my home track with all my friends and family around. We’d have half the grandstand cheering for us – that’s what would make it special,” said Napravnik, who began galloping horses for Small and trainer Holly Robinson at Pimlico while attending Hereford High School in Baltimore County.

“I would feel like – if I was able to ride the winner of the Preakness – that I was doing it for everybody who got me started in Maryland and who gave me the opportunities that led to Fair Grounds, Kentucky and Saratoga and having a horse in the Preakness.”

Napravnik, who finished third aboard Mylute in last year’s Preakness Stakes, expressed a lot of confidence in the abilities of Bayern, despite his disqualification from first to second in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 26.

“Coming out of the 1 hole, we had to play a forced hand and go to the lead and it was deeper on the inside of the track. He still ran a good race. He was a game horse,” Napravnik said. “The DQ, I don’t have much to say about that. He won the race and had to be very gritty to do it.”

Napravnik’s confidence in Bayern soared during a subsequent five-furlong workout in 58 1/5 seconds at Churchill on May 5.

“His work was absolutely incredible. He really impresses me in the morning. I was super-excited about him for the Derby Trial and if we’re able to have a little more options in positioning, I think he’ll be better around two turns than the one-turn mile,” she said of Bayern, who galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Saturday morning and is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.

Napravnik has become a key player on the national racing stage in recent years, having dominated the Fair Grounds jockey standings three straight years and riding many Grade 1 winners, including Untapable in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill on May 2. Yet, the excitement of riding in major stakes such as the Preakness Stakes hasn’t waned.

“I don’t think the big races will ever be old hat. Certainly, I don’t think the Triple Crown becomes old hat for anybody,” she said. “With the experience of riding in these races more and more often, I’m not overwhelmed by it and can be more prepared each time and know more what to expect.”

When she arrives at Pimlico next weekend for yet another big race, she’ll pause to reflect back on the day Dickie Small gave her a leg up on her first mount.

“I didn’t know if I’d be terrible or successful or somewhere in between,” she said, “but it’s really been the ride of my life.”

 

In Other Preakness News:

St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend breezed six furlong in 1:13 1/5 at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Saturday morning in preparation for a possible start in the Preakness Stakes.

“He galloped out a mile in 1:41. That’s what I was most pleased about: how he galloped out,” said trainer Graham Motion, whose Preakness prospect was ridden by longtime assistant and exercise rider Alice Clapham.

Ring Weekend, who captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and finished second in the Calder Derby, missed the Kentucky Derby due to a fever. The gelded son of Tapit missed a few days of training but has been training well since the setback.

“So far, so good,” said Motion, who will continue to monitor Ring Weekend’s training before committing to the Preakness.

Trainer Wesley Ward was especially upbeat Saturday as he talked about Pablo Del Monte’s six-furlong breeze in 1:12 1/5 at Keeneland, the colt’s final workout for the 139th Preakness Stakes.

“He’s looking great. Couldn’t be doing any better,” Ward said.

In a change of plans, Pablo Del Monte, who finished third in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1), will be shipped from Lexington, Ky. to Baltimore on Monday rather than on Wednesday. He will be one of five Preakness candidates arriving at Pimlico that day.

Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez, who will ride Pablo Del Monte in the Preakness, was aboard for the breeze, which was done in company with High Wire Kitten. Pablo Del Monte’s split times were :12 1/5, :24 4/5, :36 3/5 and :48 4/5, and he galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.

High Wire Kitten, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, is headed to Baltimore to run in the Hilltop Stakes on Friday.

“She has been working very, very well. It’s a good workmate for him,” Ward said.

High Wire Kitten and Pablo Del Monte have breezed together for about a month.

“Two weeks out from the Blue Grass we put her six or seven lengths in front and it was tough on him to catch her, and he did,” Ward said. “John Velazquez worked him that day. I think he ran so hard in the Blue Grass that it had an effect on him, but now he’s really getting to her. And she’s working very, very good; she working three-quarters of a mile in :12 herself. And they are finishing heads up.

“It’s everything you’d want to see in the last two works. He’s coming into this race as good as he could possibly be and doing everything right. I really think that Mr. Ramsey’s filly is going to run a big race in the Hilltop Stakes.”

Ward said he feels good about how Pablo Del Monte is doing a week out from the Preakness Stakes. He made the decision to move up the shipping date by a couple of days because the Monday flight is leaving from Lexington’s airport, which is very close to Keeneland.

“Everything is flawless right now,” he said. “Everything is actually perfect.”

Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion visited the racetrack extra early Saturday morning for his morning exercise. Training hours were limited to one hour between 5 and 6 a.m. in order to accommodate “Canter for a Cure,” a fundraising event for breast cancer research that ran between 6 and 11 a.m.

“He went out at 5. We were happy to do it, ‘Canter for a Cure’ is such a good cause,” said Rontos Racing’s Ron Sanchez. “He was full of energy. He really likes the track. He galloped a mile and a half and came back with good energy. He was full of himself. He’s settled in at Pimlico really nice.”

Sanchez reported that Social Inclusion, who finished third in the Wood Memorial (G3) after winning his first two races impressively at Gulfstream Park, is scheduled to gallop again on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and breeze on Monday.

Jockey Luis Contreras, who has retained the mount aboard the Manny Azpurua-trained colt, is scheduled to be at Pimlico for Social Inclusion’s breeze Monday.

Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome made an earlier-than-usual appearance on the track at Churchill DownsSaturday for his morning exercise: a gallop of 1¾ miles under exercise rider Willie Delgado.

“I wanted to go out before the track got chewed up,” assistant trainer Alan Sherman said of California Chrome, who hit the track at 6:30, about 20 minutes earlier than his norm. “He has been on a ‘wet-fast’ track before, but I don’t know if he has been on a sealed track.”

The track had been sealed Friday evening after the 10-race program.

David Lehr, Senior Director of Track Surfaces, said Churchill Downs received two inches of rain after Friday’s final race that went off around 7:30 p.m.

California Chrome backtracked to the eighth-pole in a light rain, but by the time he had finished, the rain had increased in intensity.

“We probably haven’t had this much rain (in California) all year,” said Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman. “I know we sure could use it.”

California Chrome is scheduled to leave for Baltimore on Monday.

“We are supposed to load at the barn at 10 o’clock Monday morning and the plane leaves Lexington at 12:30,” Sherman said. “He will train that morning and then go.”

Maryland-based jockey Julian Pimentel will ride Kid Cruz in the Preakness Stakes for trainer Linda Rice. It will be Pimentel’s second start in Maryland’s signature race; he was up on Norman Asbjornson, who was 11th in 2011.

“It’s very exciting to be in those kind of races,” Pimentel said, “I’m really looking forward to it. It was a great experience back then. I’m pretty sure this is going to be the same.”

Pimentel, 33, rode Kid Cruz to off-the-pace victories in the Private Terms on March 8 at Laurel and the Federico Tesio on April 19 at Pimlico.

“He’s a really nice horse,” Pimentel said. “I’ve ridden him twice and he’s won both times. He did it going away pretty good. We’ve got a race on the racetrack, which should help. It’s a tough race, but he’s tough.”

Kid Cruz is scheduled to train at Belmont Park on Monday morning and ship to Pimlico later in the day.

John Oxley’s Illinois Derby (G3) winner Dynamic Impact was scheduled for a workout Saturday morning in preparation for next Saturday’s Preakness, but weather forced assistant trainer Norman Casse to call an audible and scrub the work.

Before the track opened at 6 o’clock, Casse stood in a light rain as tractors floated the track.

“I am afraid this will be the last day we will be able to work,” said Casse, son of trainer Mark Casse. “There is more rain coming and who’s to say it won’t be worse later today or tomorrow?”

In the end, Casse decided to wait a day and instead have Dynamic Impact gallop 1½ miles under exercise rider Marco Cano at6:30.

“A lot of my horses didn’t go out and I am happy he at least got to gallop,” Casse said. “We are prepared to go tomorrow and if not, it is not a big deal and we can go Monday.”

Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia, sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in her most recent start, visited the starting gate and then galloped 1½ miles under Maurice Sanchez.

“She had blinkers on in the Oaks and we are going to change equipment for her next race; whatever that will be,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “She stood in the gate with blinkers off, which is required for an equipment change.  We are still up in the air about the Preakness. She will work Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather.”

Daniel Dougherty’s seventh-place Kentucky Derby (G1) finisher Ride On Curlin galloped two miles on a sealed sloppy track under Bryan Beccia after the morning renovation break.

With trainer Billy Gowan looking on from the six-furlong gap, Ride On Curlin picked up the pace his second time around the track.

“I loved the way he trained this morning; he was very strong,” Gowan said.

Beccia, who has been the colt’s regular exercise rider since the first of January, was similarly enthused.

“That second mile was the most aggressive he has been with me all year,” Beccia said. “(The Derby) didn’t take anything out of him. I think he is better now than he was going in.”

Ride On Curlin will return to easy mile gallops the next two mornings before leaving for Pimlico Monday.

General a Rod will run in the colors of Skychai Racing in the Preakness. Starlight Racing and Skychai Racing purchased the colt from its original owner J. Armando Rodriquez a few days before the Kentucky Derby.

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Social Inclusion first Preakness horse to arrive at Pimlico

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Social Inclusion first Preakness horse to arrive at Pimlico

Posted on 08 May 2014 by WNST Staff

SOCIAL INCLUSION MAKES PREAKNESS SCENE AT PIMLICO

Azpurua to Seek Historic Win May 17; California Chrome Gallops at Churchill; Sanchez To Ride Pablo Del Monte

BALTIMORE, 05-08-14—The 77-year-old Art Sherman, who became the oldest trainer to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner last Saturday with California Chrome, is just a kid to Manny Azpurua. The 85-year-old South Florida-based trainer was on hand at Pimlico Race Course Thursday morning for the arrival of his stable star, Social Inclusion, who is scheduled for a run in the 139th Preakness Stakes on May 17.

Azpurua, not Sherman, will have the opportunity to become the oldest trainer to send out the winner of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown and eclipse the record of legendary “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons, who was 82 years and 10 months old when he scored with Bold Ruler for a 1957 Preakness victory.

“We’ll see if we can make it,” the soft-spoken Azpurua said. “I expect him to run a good race.”

Social Inclusion, who finished third in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct in his most recent start, arrived at Pimlico at 5:48 a.m. Thursday following an 18-hour, 44-minute van ride from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. He was accompanied by assistant trainer Roberto Riasco, who has worked for Azpurua for 39 years. Hey Leroy, who will run in the $400,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) on the Preakness undercard, also made the trip.

The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile walked the shedrow of the Preakness Stakes Barn with good energy before being bedded down in his stall. Owned by Rontos Racing Stable Corp., Social Inclusion was showing no ill effects from a foot bruise that kept him out of the Sir Bear Stakes at Gulfstream last Saturday.

“That’s not a problem,” Azpurua said. “He’s good.”

Social Inclusion is the first Preakness candidate during Azpurua’s long and successful career that includes more than 3,500 winners in his native Venezuela and nearly 950 winners in the U.S.

“It’s my first time. You know how you feel when you do anything the first time. It’s exciting,” he said. “He may be the best horse I’ve trained. I’ve had a lot of nice horses in my country and here.”

Social Inclusion debuted for Azpurua at Gulfstream on Feb. 22 while running six furlongs in 1:09 1/5 and scoring by 7 ½ lengths. The late-developing Kentucky-bred colt came back on March 12 to break the Gulfstream track record for 1 1/16 miles, defeating favored Honor Code by 10 lengths in 1:40 4/5.  Making the jump from entry-level allowance to Grade 1 company, Social Inclusion raced wide on the first turn before setting the pace and coming up short in deep stretch to finish third behind Wicked Strong and Samraat.

“In the Wood Memorial, I believe he learned a lot,” Azpurua said. “I’m so pleased the way he ran. I think he’s going to run a good race. He’s been doing everything I’ve asked him. He’s got his mind on running.”

Azpurua is planning to send Social Inclusion to the racetrack at 8:30 a.m. Friday to get acquainted with the Pimlico surface during a once-around jog and once-around gallop.

Luis Contreras, who has been aboard Social Inclusion in all three of his career starts, has the return mount for the Preakness.

 

In other Preakness News:

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin’s Kentucky Derby (G1) hero California Chrome galloped 1½ miles with Willie Delgado aboard shortly before 7 o’clock Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.

California Chrome stood in the gap leading to the track for about five minutes and did not move a muscle as photographers recorded the scene and horses went to and from the track. After the exercise, California Chrome walked quietly back to Barn 20.

“His temperament is excellent,” said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, who is back at Los Alamitos and will reunite with the Derby winner in Baltimore next week. “He got a little fired up on the walkover (before the Derby) but he settled down once he got in the paddock.”

California Chrome’s final time in the 1 ¼ mile Derby of 2:03.66 was the slowest on a fast track since Cannonade (2:04) in 1974.

“I think he just tolerated the track,” Sherman said. “This track is deeper and sandier than at Los Alamitos and the dirt is different. It is a lot darker at home. But, they don’t pay any more to break track records.”

California Chrome is expected to ship to Maryland at the earliest on Monday if the charter flight is available. For Delgado, it is a trip back home; for Alan Sherman, it’s a first.

“Never been there,” Sherman said. “I think my dad rode at Bowie. I am 45, and that was long before I was around.”

Trainer Wesley Ward said jockey Jeffrey Sanchez will ride Pablo Del Monte. It will be Sanchez’s first Preakness mount.

Sanchez, 28, gets on a lot of horses for Ward and is very familiar with Pablo Del Monte, though the Preakness will mark his first time on the colt in a race.

“He’s worked him throughout his whole life,” Ward said. “He’s a rider who has won the Breeders’ Cup, the Juvenile Fillies, with Awesome Feather. He won all the races on Awesome Feather (who was 10-for-11 in her career) and he’s won for me in many different countries. In Europe, he’s won races in France for me at Longchamp and Chantilly. He rode Madman Diaries when he was the Sovereign Award winner as the champion 2-year-old colt in Canada. He’s won lots of stakes races for me, but he’s the kind of guy who flies under the radar a little bit.”

Sanchez was named on Pablo Del Monte for the Kentucky Derby, but Ward scratched and pointed to the Preakness rather than have his homebred start from post 20.

“He’s a strong rider but that hinders him a little bit because he’s muscular and he’s a little heavy,” Ward said. “But I’ve had a lot of luck with him; he works very hard and is a very nice young guy.”

Pablo Del Monte is training at Keeneland and is scheduled to arrive at Pimlico on Wednesday.

Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin walked to the track from Barn 47 at Churchill Downs to the six-furlong gap, where exercise rider Bryan Beccia hopped aboard and then followed with an easy gallop of 1 1/8 miles.

“He’ll do the same thing tomorrow, then Saturday gallop two miles and maybe pick it up late,”   trainer Billy Gowan said.

If the charter flight is arranged to take Derby winner California Chrome and Ride On Curlin to Baltimore on Monday, Gowan said he will have the colt gallop a mile Tuesday and work an easy half-mile at Pimlico on Wednesday.

At this point, Ride On Curlin and California Chrome appear to be the only Kentucky Derby runners lining up for the Preakness. Of the nine in the prospective field, they are the most experienced: California Chrome has 11 starts and Ride On Curlin has 10.

“The seasoning definitely helps and I think it is a big advantage,” Gowan said of his battle-tested colt. “Now if we can get a little more early pace this time; it may not hurt him (California Chrome), but it will help us.”

Dougherty, who will have two 2-year-olds joining the Gowan barn soon, is slated to arrive in Baltimore Tuesday for his initial visit to Pimlico. Beccia, however, has been to Pimlico before as the exercise rider for 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.

Monarchos ran the second-fastest Derby in history, but failed to reproduce that form in the Preakness, finishing sixth behind Point Given, a colt he had beaten by 11 ½ lengths in the Derby.

“Monarchos came out of the Derby just as good as Ride On Curlin,” Beccia said. “Monarchos shipped good and trained well. He was a happy horse and you can look at pictures of him galloping in the stretch with his ears pricked.

“Unfortunately, the real Point Given showed up (at the Preakness). Hopefully, after the Preakness and Belmont, the real Ride On Curlin will have shown up.”

Trainer Linda Rice has notified the Maryland Jockey Club’s racing office that she intends to ship Kid Cruz from Belmont Park to Pimlico on Monday. Kid Cruz is scheduled to have his final Preakness work this weekend at Belmont Park.

Kaleem Shah’s Bayern galloped 1½ miles Thursday morning at Churchill Downs after the morning renovation break with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez up.

Five-time Preakness winning trainer Bob Baffert conditions Bayern and he is following a pattern he has used for his past five Preakness starters by having them train at Churchill Downs for a week and a half after the Kentucky Derby and ship to Baltimore the Wednesday before the race.

Baffert’s five Preakness victories are good for a tie for third all-time behind only Robert Walden (seven) and D. Wayne Lukas, who got his sixth last year with Oxbow. Baffert is tied with Thomas Healey.

Lookin at Lucky in 2010 is Baffert’s most recent Preakness winner.

John Oxley’s Illinois Derby (G3) winner Dynamic Impact galloped 1½ miles under exercise rider Marco Cano early Thursdaymorning at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Mark Casse, who has not had a Preakness starter, Dynamic Impact is scheduled to work Saturday at Churchill Downs with jockey Miguel Mena slated to be in the saddle.

Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia galloped 1½ miles under Maurice Sanchez early Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.

After finishing sixth in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1), Ria Antonia was moved from Baffert’s barn to Tom Amoss, who trains a string of horses for Ron Paolucci of Loooch Racing.

“That’s the first time I have had one moved into my barn that close to a Grade 1 race,” said Amoss, who has Ria Antonia scheduled for a Monday work.

However, Ria Antonia was not a total unknown to Amoss.

“I did not see her last fall when she was in the Breeders’ Cup, but I got to watch her train for two weeks before the Oaks when she came out in the 8:30 time slot (reserved for Oaks and Derby horses),” Amoss said. “She was very impressive and that is what I want to see now.”

Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend is slated to have a breeze on Saturday that will be pivotal in trainer Graham Motion’s decision whether or not to enter him in the Preakness.

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California Chrome gets first work since winning Kentucky Derby

Posted on 07 May 2014 by WNST Staff

CALIFORNIA CHROME ON TRACK FOR PREAKNESS STAKES

Social Inclusion Boards Pimlico-Bound Van; Pimentel Has Preakness Mount on Kid Cruz

BALTIMORE, 05-07-14California Chrome, the early favorite for the 139th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, returned to the racetrack during training hours at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning.

California Chrome was accompanied by exercise rider Willie Delgado and Alan Sherman, the son and assistant of trainer Art Sherman, on his way to the racetrack for the first time since winning last Saturday’s 140th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Owned by his breeders Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome paused before reaching the five-furlong gap, taking a couple of minutes to check out the activity before going onto the track. California Chrome stood in front of the clockers’ stand briefly and then jogged one mile.

“Good. Good. Really super,” said Delgado, a former jockey, trainer and exercise rider on the Maryland circuit. “He went out there like he always does. He is his normal self.”

Alan Sherman was similarly delighted.

“It went really good,” Sherman said. “He wanted to train; he was tired of walking.”

Sherman said California Chrome would resume galloping Thursday and maintain that schedule for as long as the California-bred colt remains at Churchill Downs.

“I still haven’t heard about the plane; whether we will go to Pimlico Monday or Wednesday,” Sherman said. “I’d preferMonday. The key now is to keep him happy.”

While California Chrome’s travel plans hadn’t been firmed up, Preakness candidate Social Inclusion hit the road for PimlicoWednesday morning.

The Wood Memorial (G1) third-place finisher boarded a Pimlico-bound van at Gulfstream Park at approximately 10:30 a.m.after returning to the racetrack for the first time since being scratched from Saturday’s Sir Bear Stakes with a bruise in his right front foot. The son of Pioneerof the Nile jogged to the satisfaction of trainer Manny Azpurua and Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Ron Sanchez.

“We’re all set and excited,” Sanchez said. “I was a little concerned Saturday with the bruise, then I was happy (Tuesday) and today I’m excited. He went out jogging today and everything was great. Manny and his guys did a great job.”

Social Inclusion was accompanied on the van by Rontos Racing’s Hey Leroy, the Appleton (G3) winner who is being pointed to the $400,000 Dixie (G2) on Preakness Day.

Plans call for Social Inclusion to walk Thursday morning after his scheduled early-morning arrival at Pimlico, gallop Friday,Saturday and Sunday and breeze on Monday.

Luis Contreras, who rode Social Inclusion in a pair of dazzling victories at Gulfstream and his show performance in the Wood, has the call for the Preakness.

Veteran Maryland jockey Julian Pimentel has retained the mount on Kid Cruz for the 139th Preakness.

Pimentel, 33, a regular in Maryland since the summer of 2006, rode Kid Cruz to victories in the Private Terms on March 8 at Laurel and the Federico Tesio on April 19 at Pimlico. Through Tuesday, Pimentel has 1,298 victories. He is the regular rider for the top turf sprinter Ben’s Cat, owned and trained by King Leatherbury. Pimentel is 17-for-27 on Ben’s Cat and they are scheduled to try for a repeat win in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on May 16.

Kid Cruz, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, has three wins and a second in five career starts. Trainer Linda Rice claimed the colt for Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds out of his second start on Nov. 22. He finished second in an Aqueduct allowance race in January, won the two Maryland stakes and is scheduled to try graded company for the first time in the Preakness.

“He did get a race over the course down there, handled it well,” Rice said. “It’s going to be a big step up in company to run against the Derby horses, particularly California Chrome. It’s a big jump up in competition, but we are hopeful.”

Following the Private Terms, Rice entered Kid Cruz in the Wood Memorial (G1) on April 5 but opted to scratch out of New York’s Kentucky Derby prep.

“I put him in the Wood with the idea that if he did run well it still kept the door open for the Derby because he did not have any points to get into the Derby,” she said. “But he has had a bit of an issue with his right front shoulder with what I believe is a pinched nerve at the base of his neck. So we were treating him for that. He came up a little sore after his breeze into the Wood and I decided to wait and give it some time, so I wasn’t able to run him in the Wood.”

In the Tesio, Kid Cruz came four-wide from off the pace to post an emphatic 3 ½-length victory.

 

In other Preakness News:

Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning with Maurice Sanchez aboard for trainer Tom Amoss.

Sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) last Friday, Ria Antonia is scheduled for a light breeze Monday.

The filly was transferred from Bob Baffert to Amoss on Monday. Amoss trains a string of horses for Ron Paolucci (Loooch Racing), and Paolucci has stated that he wants a Midwest campaign for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner that includes a shot at the Ohio Derby (G3).

Amoss told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Ria Antonia’s Preakness status would be firmed up early next week.

“A decision will be made on Tuesday whether or not we’re going to do that – that will involve how she trains, how she works and how she comes out of her work,” Amoss said. “If the decision is made to go on to the Preakness, it will be a decision that I also stand behind. I’m willing to take that responsibility, because I would not run a horse unless I thought we had a shot to win,” he added. “People who know me and know my reputation, know that’s the way I operate. I can assure you either I’m going to be for it and we’ll do it, or we’re not going to do it.”

Kaleem Shah’s Bayern returned to the track at Churchill Downs on a mild and clear morning to jog a mile under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez for trainer Bob Baffert.

Bayern, who was disqualified from first in the April 26 Derby Trial (G3) for interference in deep stretch, had worked a bullet five-eighths in 58.20 seconds on Monday under jockey Rosie Napravnik.

Jim Barnes, who is overseeing Baffert’s Churchill Downs string, said Bayern would resume galloping Thursday and work againon Monday.

“That is our usual routine to work five days out and then ship on Wednesday,” Barnes said.

John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact, winner of the Illinois Derby (G3) in his stakes debut in his most recent start, galloped 1 ½ miles under Marco Cano for trainer Mark Casse.

Miguel Mena, who was aboard Dynamic Impact for the Illinois Derby victory, is slated to be aboard when the Tiznow colt works on Saturday.

“That was the first time he rode him in a race,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father. “He may have gotten on him last summer when he was helping us out getting on horses.”

Seventh-place Kentucky Derby finisher Ride On Curlin returned to the track at Churchill Downs for the first time since Saturday’s race.

With trainer Billy Gowan on the right and groom Bridget Lambert on the left, Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin walked from Barn 47 to the six-furlong gap where exercise rider Bryan Beccia hopped aboard.

Ride On Curlin backtracked to the finish line and then galloped an easy 1 1/8 miles.

“He was 110 percent; all systems are go,” Beccia told Gowan after the exercise. “He will do the same thing the next two days,” Gowan said. “I will probably work him a slow half when he gets to Pimlico.”

Gowan is hoping there will be a Monday plane to Baltimore and he said Ride On Curlin would not work at Churchill even if there should be no flight until Wednesday.

“I am betting on a plane for Monday,” Gowan said.

Trainer Wesley Ward reported that Pablo Del Monte jogged at Keeneland Wednesday morning and that the Giant’s Causeway colt would work over the weekend for the Preakness.

Pablo Del Monte drew into the Kentucky Derby field from the also-eligible list when Hoppertunity scratched with an injury, but Ward decided to wait for the Preakness instead of having him run from the outside post in a 20-horse field.

In six career starts, Pablo Del Monte has two wins and two thirds. He was third in his most recent race, the Blue Grass (G1,) after setting the early pace and leading into the stretch.

Preakness prospect Ring Weekend, the winner of the Tampa Bay Derby, is scheduled to breeze at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. for trainer Graham Motion.

Trainer Todd Pletcher reported Wednesday that no decision has been made on the immediate future of any of his 3-year-olds.

 

NEARLY 500 HORSES NOMINATED TO PREAKNESS WEEKEND STAKES

While the Preakness is the centerpiece of the spring meeting, fourteen other stakes races and two Maryland-bred starter handicaps will provide a weekend full of excitement for racing fans. A total of 483 horses were nominated to those added-money races. Pimlico will debut a $100,000 trainer bonus next weekend with trainers earning points based on finishes in 15 stakes races.

  • ·        May 16—Black-Eyed Susan, Pimlico Special, Miss Preakness, Jim McKay Turf Sprint, Hilltop, Skipat, Rollicking
  • ·        May 17—Preakness, Dixie, Maryland Sprint, Gallorette, Chick Lang, James Murphy, Sir Barton, The Very One

Trainers will receive points for finishing first (10 points), second (7), third (5), fourth (3) and starting a horse (1 point) in each race. The winner will earn $50,000. Other prize money: $25,000 (second), $12,000 (third), $7,000 (fourth), $4,000 (fifth) and $2,000 (sixth). Trainers must have started five horses in the stakes combined to be eligible.

The $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) and $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) headline the Friday, May 16 card that features six other stakes races. Twenty-nine three-year-old fillies were nominated to the Black-Eyed Susan, including expected starters America, Euphrosyne, Fortune Pearl and Joint Return. Thirty-right runners were nominated to the Pimlico Special, including Moreno, Frac Daddy and Carve.

Thirty-eight fillies were nominated to the $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes. Thirty horses were nominated to the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, including defending champion Ben’s Cat, a winner of 20 lifetime stakes races. Thirty-eight three-year-old fillies were nominated to the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes, while thirty-one fillies and mares were nominated to the $100,000 Skipat Stakes. Twenty-five two-year olds were nominated to the $75,000 Rollicking Stakes and another eleven to the $40,000 Kattegat’s Pride Starter Handicap for Maryland-breds.

The Pimlico racing office will draw the May 16 card on Sunday afternoon.

The Preakness undercard features eight added money races, including three graded. Forty-five top grass specialists were entered in the $400,000 Dixie Stakes (G2). Forty-three fillies and mares were nominated to the $150,000 Gallorette Handicap (G3). The $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) features thirty-five nominations. Twenty-nine three-year-old sprinters were nominated to the $100,000 Chick Lang. Forty-two three-year-olds were nominated to the $100,00 Sir Barton Stakes. Thirty-four turf specialists were nominated to the $100,000 James Murphy. Thirty female turf specialists were nominated to the $100,000 The Very One Stakes. There were twenty-one Maryland-breds on the list for the $40,000 Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap.

The Pimlico racing office will draw the May 17 card on Wednesday, May 14.

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MJC, MRC release equine security procedures for Preakness week

Posted on 06 May 2014 by WNST Staff

MARYLAND JOCKEY CLUB, MARYLAND RACING COMMISSION RELEASE EQUINE SECURITY PROCEDURES FOR PREAKNESS WEEK

BALTIMORE, 05-06-14—The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Racing Commission today announced protocol for horses competing in stakes races May 16-17 at Pimlico Race Course.

The May 16 card features eight stakes races, highlighted by the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2), while the May 17 program has nine stakes races, headlined by the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1), the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.

Every runner competing in the six graded stakes races must be stabled in Barns C, D or E, which are located behind the Pimlico grandstand. Those races are: Preakness, Dixie, Gallorette and Maryland Sprint on Saturday, May 17 and the Black-Eyed Susan and Pimlico Special on Friday, May 16.

The first Preakness starter scheduled to arrive is Social Inclusion, who is expected to be at Pimlico Thursday morning, May 8.

“Ensuring the welfare and safety of horses and jockeys is paramount,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “Credibility and safety are maxims we live by, as evidenced by the Stronach Group’s ten-point plan proposal.  To provide that environment, from the bottom claimer up to our stakes program, is our mission.”

“The Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Racing Commission are partnering in an effort to provide the most secure and safe environment possible for Preakness-week participants,” said Maryland Racing Commission chairman Bruce Quade. “The equine security procedures, along with the additional security steps being taken by the Maryland Jockey Club will also ensure the seamless implementation of the State’smedication protocol. These efforts are part of the continuing program to ensure the integrity of Maryland’s most exciting weekend.”

  • ·        All Preakness Stakes runners are required to be in no later than 12 Noon Thursday, May 15. Blood specimens will be drawn on all Preakness horses that afternoon
  • ·        Security cameras are installed and operational in barns C, D and E beginning when a horse is stabled in the barn
  • ·        Access to each barn will only be permitted at each corner. All persons shall Sign-In when entering barn C, D or E
  • ·        On Saturday, May 17 pre-race exams will begin at 8:00 a.m. Horses are required to be “clean legged” and open for the pre-race exam and are not allowed to be placed in ice until after the exam.
  • ·        Practicing Veterinarians will provide the Racing Commission with a list of treatments scheduled for horses stabled in barns C, D or E prior to the treatment being administered unless a treatment is a documented emergency
  • ·        No practicing veterinarian, other than the veterinarian administering Salix is allowed into barns C, D or E after 6:15 p.m. Friday May 16 unless he has approval from the State Veterinarian and the Stewards or it is a documented emergency
  • ·        Pre-race blood samples will be drawn from all horses entered in all graded stakes races (TOBA requirement). Two blood specimens will be drawn as close to the race as practicable.  The racing commission will have an additional commission vet in the barn area for this purpose
  • ·        A Maryland Racing Commission representative will be present to observe a treatment being provided and collect any needles and syringes for testing

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Ria Antonia added to list of Preakness candidates

Posted on 06 May 2014 by WNST Staff

RIA ANTONIA ADDED TO LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR 139THPREAKNESS STAKES

Kentucky Derby Winner California Chrome Returns to Track Wednesday; Kid Cruz Set for Weekend Work; Social Inclusion on Schedule for ThursdayMorning Arrival

BALTIMORE , 05-06-14Ria Antonia, the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner, was added to the list of candidates for the 139th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) Tuesday morning.

 

If the daughter of Rockport Harbor is shipped to Pimlico Race Course to run in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown on May 17, she will be saddled for the first time by trainer Tom Amoss.  Ron Paolucci’s Loooch Racing Stable and Christopher T. Dunn have transferred their 3-year-old filly from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to Amoss following her distant sixth-place finish behind Untapable in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs last Friday.

 

“She trained this morning with us for the first time,” said Amoss at his Churchill barn Tuesday morning. “She is going to have a light breeze Monday or Tuesday after which Mr. Paolucci and I will discuss the Preakness.”

 

Should Ria Antonia take on the boys, including Kentucky Derby (G1) champion California Chrome, she would attempt to become the sixth filly to capture the Preakness Stakes, joining Rachel Alexandra (2009), Nellie Morse (1924), Rhine Maiden (1915), Whimsical (1906) and Flocarline (1903).

 

Following Ria Antonia’s victory in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita last November, when she finished second by a nose but was placed first through the disqualification of She’s a Tiger, Paolucci announced his intention to point his filly to the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

 

After finishing fourth in her 2014 debut in the Rachel Alexandra (G3) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 22, when she was beaten by more than 14 lengths by Untapable, Ria Antonia was transferred from trainer Jeremiah Englehart to Baffert. She debuted for Baffert with a second-place finish behind Fashion Plate in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 5. In the Kentucky Oaks, she loomed boldly while making a wide run on the turn into the homestretch before weakening through the stretch, finishing 15 ¼ lengths behind the victorious Untapable.

 

While Ria Antonia returned to the racetrack for the first time since her Oaks run Tuesday morning, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome walked for 30 minutes at Barn 20 at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Willie Delgado on the shank.

 

Owned by breeders Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome is scheduled to return to the trackWednesday morning around 7 o’clock for a jog.

 

Alan Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman, is overseeing California Chrome’s Preakness preparations in Louisville before the colt heads to Baltimore next Monday or Wednesday.

 

“They are doing maintenance on the plane and it is a question of when it will be ready,” said Alan Sherman, whose shirt was sporting a new tear compliments of the Derby winner’s teeth.

 

The Shermans maintain a stable of 16-17 horses at Los Alamitos, but for Alan, being with one horse is no vacation.

 

“The last time I had only one horse was when we brought Ultra Blend here for the Breeders’ Cup in 2011,” Alan Sherman said of the filly that finished fourth to Royal Delta in the Ladies’ Classic (G1). “I was here about a week and a half. This is a little more stressful, but a good kind of stress. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

 

And the celebration of the colt’s 1 ¾-length victory has not dimmed, either.

 

“I keep my California Chrome hat on and everywhere we go people are congratulating us,” Delgado said. “Every time I watch a replay of the race, I still get goose bumps. It has not set in yet what he did. It’s unbelievable.”

 

In other Preakness news:

 

Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion has recovered sufficiently from the bruise in his right front foot that had kept him out of a Gulfstream Park stakes Saturday to board a Pimlico-bound van Wednesday morning.

 

“We’re leaving tomorrow morning around 10 and get there early Thursday morning,” said Rontos Racing’s Ron Sanchez. “He’ll jog tomorrow before he leaves.”

 

Social Inclusion won his first two races by a combined 17 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Park before finishing third in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on April 5.

 

Trainer Graham Motion will closely monitor the training of Ring Weekend this week before deciding the Tampa Bay Derby winner’s status for the Preakness.

 

“I think it’s going to depend on what kind of week he has and how he breezes on Saturday,” Motion saidTuesday morning.

 

Ring Weekend galloped 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning at Fair Hill Training Center, Motion’s home base in Elkton, Md.

 

The son of Tapit had been pointing for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill, only to be declared out of the first jewel of the Triple Crown on April 27 due to a fever.

 

“He had the fever for only two days, but it did cost him three or four days of training,” Motion said. “Obviously, everything would have to go very well in order to do it (run in the Preakness). He can’t afford to have a bump in the road.”

Motion reported that Alan Garcia would be the choice to ride Ring Weekend, the Tampa Bay Derby winner, should he run.

 

Kid Cruz, the decisive winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes on April 19 at Pimlico, will have an easy breeze this weekend at Belmont Park – his final timed worked before the Preakness.

 

Trainer Linda Rice said Tuesday that she has not decided who will ride the Lemon Drop Kid colt in the Preakness or when he will be shipped from New York to Baltimore. Maryland-based jockey Julian Pimentel was aboard for Kid Cruz’s victories in the Private Terms at Laurel Race Course March 8 and the Tesio.

 

Kid Cruz, owned by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, took the 1 1/8-mile Private Terms by four lengths and the 1-1/16-mile Tesio by 3 ½ lengths.

 

“He made a last-to-first move in the first one and then had a nice closing kick in the second one,” Rice said. “It doesn’t look like he’s going to have any trouble with the distance of the Preakness and I believe that the Belmont would suit him just fine as well.”

 

Kid Cruz was named after New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.

 

Kaleem Shah’s Bayern came out of a Monday work of :58.20 for five furlongs at Churchill Downs in good order, according Baffert’s assistant trainer Jim Barnes.

 

Bayern, who was disqualified from a victory in the Derby Trial (G3) on April 26 at Churchill Downs for interference in the stretch, walked the shedrow Tuesday morning.

 

John Oxley’s Illinois Derby (G3) winner Dynamic Impact galloped 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning over a fast track before the renovation break at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Marco Cano aboard for trainer Mark Casse.

 

Dynamic Impact will bring a two-race win streak to Pimlico, having broken his maiden at Oaklawn Park prior to his Illinois Derby victory.

 

“We have to give credit to David Adams and the crew that had him at Oaklawn this winter,” assistant trainer Norman Casse said. “We had him here last summer and fall. He was highly regarded, but just not winning. He got to Oaklawn, he had matured and something just clicked.”

 

Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin walked the shedrow for 30 minutes with trainer Billy Gowan handling the first half of the activity and groom Bridget Lambert the remainder as Gowan accompanied another horse to the track at Churchill Downs.

 

Gowan’s phone was plenty busy Monday when the news broke he was replacing Calvin Borel as the jockey on Ride On Curlin following the colt’s seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“I had a lot of agents call,” said Gowan, who chose Joel Rosario to pilot Ride On Curlin in the Preakness. “I thought he would be the best choice. He never has ridden for me and I don’t even know him, but he is the top rider in the country right now.”

 

Ride On Curlin is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday morning with an easy mile gallop slated as the day’s activity.

 

Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and trainer Wesley Ward’s Pablo Del Monte, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby to wait for the Preakness, is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Wednesday May 14.

 

About Pimlico Race Course

Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.

Pimlico Race Course 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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Derby champion California Chrome has Pimlico connections

Posted on 05 May 2014 by WNST Staff

PREAKNESS A JOYOUS HOMECOMING FOR CALIFORNIA CHROME’S EXERCISE RIDER

Willie Delgado Set for Return to Roots With Kentucky Derby Winner; Dynamic Impact Arrives Wednesday; Rosario Named on Ride On Curlin

BALTIMORE, 05-05-14—The 139th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on May 17 will provide a joyous homecoming for Willie Delgado, the exercise rider of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome.

Delgado was trying to grind out a living in Maryland last August while training a small string and exercising horses for another stable when he decided that he needed a vacation.

 

The 46-year-old former jockey ventured to Southern California to visit his brother, Alberto, a longtime Maryland jockey who was riding at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. At the encouragement of his brother, who has ridden more than 2,900 winners, Delgado returned to Maryland to wrap up his business and returned to Southern California in September.

 

“I had a bunch of bad horses. I was galloping for Dove Houghton and training my own. It just never peaked for me with training,” Delgado said Monday morning at Churchill Downs. “I just went back to what I do best – which is galloping horses.”

A couple months after his move to the Southern California circuit, Delgado went to work as an exercise rider for trainer Art Sherman at Hollywood Park upon the recommendation of his brother. He subsequently got the morning call aboard a California-bred 2-year-old whom his brother had ridden to victory in a maiden race at Hollywood Park last May and the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar in late July.

 

“I said, ‘Wow! It’s true what my brother says,” said Delgado, recalling the first time he galloped California Chrome. “My brother said he could run.”

 

About five months later, California Chrome showed the whole world just how much he could run when he captured last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs for Sherman, breeders/owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin and jockey Victor Espinoza.

 

Delgado and Sherman’s son and assistant trainer Alan watched the Derby trackside, cheering on California Chrome and ending up several paths from the outside rail by the time the flashy chestnut colt crossed the finish line 1 ¾ lengths ahead of runner-up Commanding Curve.

 

“I have friends ask me, ‘How does it feel?’ I say, ‘I’ll tell you what, when my daughter was born, it’s right there with that,’” Delgado said. “I’d say it’s a dead heat. It was the most exciting feeling I’ve had when I saw my daughter born. This was just about the same.”

 

Delgado is looking forward to reuniting with his 6-year-old daughter, Savannah, who lives with her mother in Maryland, and celebrating the Derby victory when he arrives at Pimlico Race Course with California Chrome.

 

“As soon as the horse crossed the wire, the first text I got was from her. “It said, “Daddy, I can’t believe you won the Kentucky Derby. I’m so proud of you.’ That’s when I started crying,’” said Delgado, whose father, Alberto Ramos, was a prominent rider on the New England circuit before his retirement in 1995 and whose younger brother, Gilberto Delgado, is currently riding in the Mid-Atlantic region.

 

California Chrome will be returning to his roots, as well. The son of California stallion Lucky Pulpit is out of the Maryland-bred mare, Love the Chase. He will arrive in Maryland no worse from the wear of overwhelming 18 rivals over 1¼ miles Saturday at Churchill.

 

“When I pulled him out of his stall this morning, he never walked like that. He was dragging me around,” said Delgado of California Chrome’s Monday morning exercise. “He was shaking his head like he hadn’t run yet.”

California Chrome has thrived during his five-race winning streak, his exercise rider said.

 

“It’s his power, his demeanor – his power, the way he does things,” Delgado said. “With every race, he’s gotten stronger and stronger.”

 

California Chrome is scheduled to return to the Churchill Downs track for a jog on Wednesday, reported Alan Sherman, whose father returned to Southern California Monday and will reunite with his Derby winner in Baltimore next week. Travel plans have not been finalized for California Chrome. He could arrive next Monday, May 12 or Wednesday, May 14.

 

In other Preakness news:

 

The recent trend of Preakness candidates shipping to Pimlico shortly after the Kentucky Derby will continue this year with Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion arriving on Thursday. John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact is scheduled to arrive next Wednesday.

 

In 2012, trainer Doug O’Neill sent I’ll Have Another to Baltimore less than 48 hours after his Derby victory. O’Neill followed suit with Goldencents last year.

 

Dynamic Impact galloped before the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Marco Cano up for trainer Mark Casse. Winner of the Illinois Derby (G3) in his most recent start, Dynamic Impact worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. Casse said that jockey Miguel Mena will retain the mount for the Preakness.

 

Kaleem Shah’s Bayern, working in company with two-time graded stakes-winning  filly Awesome Baby, drilled five furlongs in 58.20 seconds over a fast Churchill Downs racing surface after Monday morning’s renovation break.

 

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Bayern started two lengths behind and outside of Awesome Baby, who was ridden by Joe Rocco Jr.  Bayern drew to within a length on the turn and finished three lengths in front while posting the fastest move of 19 at the distance for the morning. Fractions were :23 and :34.40 and a six-furlong gallop out was timed in 1:13.40.

 

Bayern finished first in the Derby Trial (G3) on April 26 at Churchill Downs but was disqualified and placed second behind Embellishing Bob for interference in the stretch. Napravnik received a three-day suspension that she is serving this week.

 

West Point Thoroughbreds is part of the ownership of Ring Weekend, a Preakness possible trained by Graham Motion.

 

“I don’t know about any other horses; I’m just training my horse,” Stewart said. “My horse came out of the race good. But it’s tough coming back in two weeks and there are a lot of other races out there.”

 

Joel Rosario, who finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby aboard General a Rod, will have the Preakness mount aboard Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin.

 

Trainer Billy Gowan was not happy with the ride Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel gave the colt during his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Ride On Curlin broke from the No. 19 post and dropped back to last as Borel took the colt straight to the rail.

 

“I told him before the race that he had three-eighths of a mile to work his way over,” Gowan said.

 

Gowan said Ride On Curlin is doing well and would return to the track Wednesday.

 

“He was not tired at all after the Derby. He only ran three-eighths of a mile,” Gowan said. “He was more tired after his seven-eighths work last Sunday.”

 

Dougherty echoed his trainer’s thoughts.

 

“I walked back with him after the Arkansas Derby (G1) and he was tired,” Dougherty said of the runner-up effort. “He wasn’t tired Saturday.”

 

Even though his Derby dream was dashed, Dougherty was able to find one positive going forward with Ride On Curlin.

 

“It is only two weeks (to the Preakness) and you don’t want to leave it all out there on the track,” Dougherty said.

 

Also headed to the Preakness is speedy Pablo Del Monte, the third-place finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1).

 

Ward decided to scratch out the Derby rather than have Pablo Del Monte start from the outside in a 20-horse field.  After the Giant’s Causeway colt worked six furlongs in 1:10.80 Sunday, Ward said he could have been a contender in the Derby.

 

“The way race played out with soft fractions for a Derby and a slow final time, I really think I would have had a great chance to be at least second,” Ward said. “I was speaking to my good friend Paul Shanahan and I told him just that. He said, ‘Listen Wesley, nobody remembers who was second. If you really feel that way and the horse worked as good as he did, maybe we can win the Preakness and that will be forever.’”

 

Linda Rice-trained Kid Cruz, the winner of the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park and the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico in his last two starts, is scheduled to compete in the Preakness. The 3-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid was claimed from the Black Swan Stable by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds for $50,000 at Aqueduct in November. Black Swan later bought back into the Kentucky-bred colt.

 

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said that Robert Baker and William Mack’s Hopeful (G1) winner Strong Mandate will not run in the Preakness.

 

“He’s not going,” said Lukas, who won his sixth Preakness last May with Oxbow. “I am going to wait until Saratoga.”

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Derby winner California Chrome officially confirmed for Preakness

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Derby winner California Chrome officially confirmed for Preakness

Posted on 04 May 2014 by WNST Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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