Tag Archive | "Shug McGaughey"

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Derby winner Orb installed as Belmont favorite over Oxbow

Posted on 05 June 2013 by WNST Staff

NEW YORK (AP) — Back home again, Kentucky Derby winner Orb is the horse to beat in the Belmont Stakes.

Orb was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a field of 14 entered for Saturday’s final leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont Park, and trainer Shug McGaughey is confident his colt can bounce back from his fourth-place finish behind Oxbow in the Preakness.

“He’s been here for three weeks, and I think it has to be a help not only mentally but being familiar with the footing as well,” McGaughey said. “He’s done well here and trained well here. … I’m going to strike a line through the Preakness. It wasn’t his day. It was (trainer) Wayne Lukas and Oxbow and Gary Stevens’ day. We’re going to regroup and hopefully you’ll see the right horse here on Saturday.”

Orb drew the No. 5 post Wednesday, with Oxbow two gates over in No. 7. Revolutionary, one of trainer Todd Pletcher’s record five entries, is the second choice at 9-2. Oxbow is next at 5-1.

“I think Shug has established his horse as the favorite today, and that’s right,” said Lukas, who has won a record 14 Triple Crown races, including the Belmont four times. “But I think he knows he has to take care of business in getting us out of the way, too.”

The field for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont is the largest since 1996, when Lukas won the race with Editor’s Note.

“It’s a great advantage to be on your home court, where you train your horses,” said Lukas, who used to have a Belmont-based stable. “They don’t have to ship in and get settled, and then get over the surface. They’ve already been doing that.”

Orb, under Joel Rosario, navigated his way past 16 rivals in the final half mile of the Derby to win by 2 1/2 lengths. In the Preakness, Orb was unable to find running room outside after breaking from the rail, and Oxbow led wire-to-wire under Gary Stevens.

McGaughey is well-versed in what it takes to deal with the Belmont – one long trip around the spacious oval.

“The jockey is really going to have to read the race – it’s what separates the top riders from some of those that aren’t,” said McGaughey, who won the Belmont with Easy Goer in 1989 and spoiled Sunday Silence’s Triple Crown try. “If you turn down the backside at Belmont, it’s not like turning down the backside at Churchill Downs, or Pimlico or the Fair Grounds.

“You’ve got a long way to go, and big open space through there, and you better be patient. If you’re not, it’s going to get to you.”

Orb comes into the race with five wins in nine starts for owners Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps and Stuart Janney III, while Oxbow’s Preakness win was just his third win in 11 starts for Calumet Farm.

Pletcher is looking for his second Belmont win. He won it in 2007 with the filly Rags to Riches, and Unlimited Budget could make him 2-for-2 with his Belmont fillies if Rosie Napravnik can pull off the upset and become the second female rider to win a Triple Crown race (Julie Krone won the 1993 Belmont with Colonial Affair).

“She’s a big, strong, talented filly. From a physical standpoint, she is going to match up well,” Pletcher said. “My biggest concern is the mile-and-a-half, with her not as strongly bred as Rags to Riches. But she’s trained very well.”

Pletcher will also send out Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Midnight Taboo. Mike Repole owns Unlimited Budget, Overanalyze and Midnight Taboo.

Unlimited Budget, who won her first four starts before running third in the Kentucky Oaks, and Peter Pan winner Freedom Child are co-fourth choices at 8-1.

The last Derby-Belmont winner was Thunder Gulch in 1995, and the last Preakness-Belmont winner was Afleet Alex in 2005. The last rematch of the Derby and Preakness winners was in 2011, when Preakness winner Shackleford ran fifth and Derby winner Animal Kingdom sixth behind Ruler On Ice.

The field from the rail out is Frac Daddy (Alan Garcia, 30-1), Freedom Child (Luis Saez, 8-1), Overanalyze (John Velazquez, 12-1), Giant Finish (Edgar Prado, 30-1), Orb (Joel Rosario, 3-1), Incognito (Irad Ortiz, Jr., 20-1), Oxbow (Gary Stevens, 5-1), Midnight Taboo (Garrett Gomez, 30-1), Revolutionary (Javier Castellano, 9-2), Will Take Charge (Jon Court, 20-1), Vyjack (Julien Leparoux, 20-1), Palace Malice (Mike Smith, 15-1), Unlimited Budget (Rosie Napravnik, 8-1), and Golden Soul (Robby Albarado, 10-1).

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/06/05/2626001/derby-winner-orb-3-1-favorite.html#storylink=cpy

 

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McGaughey “couldn’t be more pleased” with Orb’s Friday work

Posted on 17 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB PRIMED FOR START IN SATURDAY’S PREAKNESS

NAPRAVNIK HAPPY TO BE HOME; DEPARTING READY TO STEP UP

BALTIMORE, 05-17-13 – Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb galloped an energetic 1 ¼ miles at Pimlico Friday morning, letting exercise rider Jenn Patterson and trainer Shug McGaughey know that he’s ready for Saturday’s 138th running of the Preakness Stakes.

“He took a nice little hold of Jenn, was right on with his leads and moved over the track great, so I couldn’t be more pleased with what I saw,” McGaughey said.

Orb has pleased his trainer every day since he captured the Kentucky Derby by 2 ½ lengths. While training at Belmont, where he produced an eye-catching half-mile workout on Monday, and since arriving at Pimlico Monday afternoon, Orb has given his trainer the same signals he gave off during his pre-Derby training.

“I think it’s been every bit as good. I think maybe his work at Belmont was even better. Since he’s gotten down here, he’s really, really settled in well,” McGaughey said. “He’s been eating really well. I’m very pleased with his appearance and everything is on ‘go.’ ”

Orb, who is the even-money favorite for the nine-horse Preakness, has boosted his trainer’s confidence in his chances to add the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown to his resume. McGaughey, however, isn’t counting the winner’s share of the $1 million purse just yet.

“There are a lot of ways to lose, as we all know. Freaky things can happen. I think we’re in the position where we can kind of dictate the race and hope, if we don’t get in trouble, that he can make his run and then see what happens,” McGaughey said. “We hope he doesn’t get in trouble; we hope he handles the track; we hope he handles the kickback of dirt; we hope he handles the day. If he does all that, I would have to think it’s going to take a pretty darn good horse to beat him.”

If there has been anything that could possibly be perceived as a negative for Orb, it’s probably his No. 1 post position that may hold at least the slight potential to get him trapped inside.

“I don’t think it’s a problem. I think he’ll be fine; it’s a long distance,” said jockey Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to victory at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.

Rosario’s flawless ride in the Derby did nothing but boost McGaughey’s faith in his jockey’s big-race ability.

“I don’t know if anyone could have ridden him better. He got him over a little bit to get around the first turn without losing a whole lot of ground. He held his position there, got him to the outside and was very patient with him,” McGaughey said. “Being that far back, you might want to move a little bit quicker than you want to and hang. But he was very patient and he told me he was relaxed and got into the flow of the race very well and ‘was just waiting on me.’ “

McGaughey said he wouldn’t give Rosario detailed instructions on how to ride Orb in the Preakness.

“I’m a man of very little instructions, because you never know what’s going to happen once the gate opens,” he said. “We will talk a little bit, but the biggest thing I’ll tell him is, ‘Ride him with confidence.’ ”

Winning the Kentucky Derby for the first time realized a career-long dream, but McGaughey isn’t ready to rest on his laurels.

“I think winning the Derby does take a little pressure off you,” he said. “But I also think that we’re excited about giving him a whirl tomorrow afternoon and see if we can’t get it done so we can go on to the next step.”

 

MYLUTE – Jockey Rosie Napravnik started her career in Maryland, rode her first winner at Pimlico and returns to Old Hilltop as one of the top stories of the 138th Preakness. The local favorite, now one of the leading riders in the country, followed Derby-winning trainer Shug McGaughey and winning jockey Joel Rosario to the podium for the Friday morning press conference at the Pimlico Stakes Barn.

“Preakness or not, I’m so excited to be home,” she said. “I had a terrible trip coming in last night, but I was driving home at 11 o’clock just excited to be here. To come and ride the Preakness is really a dream come true. I’m really happy to be here.”

Napravnik, 25, moved to trainer Holly Robinson’s farm in Sparks, Md., in the summer of 2004 and started exercising horses. She won her career debut aboard Ringofdiamonds for trainer Dickie Small on June 9, 2005. Nearly eight years, another 1,543 wins and more than $49 million in purse earnings later, she is ready for her first ride in Maryland’s signature race.

While most jockeys would call a Kentucky Derby victory the most important achievement, Napravnik said for her the Preakness is in the discussion.

“I would say they are head-and-head,” she said. “The Derby would mean so much for my career and to so many people. The Preakness would really be a great personal accomplishment. I don’t know which would be more exciting. I haven’t won either yet, so I’ll let you know when it happens.”

Napravnik will be the third female rider in Preakness history and the first since Andrea Seefeldt finished seventh in 1994. At the press conference, she fielded a question about being a female rider.

“I guess it will always be asked. I’m glad to be here,” she said. “I’m not doing this because I’m a girl. I’m not trying to win the race because I’m a female jockey. I just want to win the race.”

The Preakness will be Napravnik’s third ride on Mylute. They won an allowance race together at Fair Grounds in December and finished fifth in the Derby, 3 3/4 lengths behind Orb. Mylute, the 5-1 second choice on the morning line, drew the No. 5 post in the nine-horse field. Orb has the rail.

One of the first questions she was asked at the press conference was, “How do you beat Orb?”

“We followed him last time in the Derby,” she said. “We do have a little bit of an outside advantage on him, We’ll have to see how the race sets up and we’ll have to move forward a couple of lengths. I do think that Mylute is moving forward.”

Napravnik smiled at the follow-up: How good is Orb?

“He seems like a very good horse and one that is moving forward, as well, but Mylute is definitely coming along, too,” she said. “He’s a little bit of a slow learner, but I think he’s really waking up and improving as a race horse. He’s really getting that competitive drive and he’s got a powerful move.”

Napravnik knows Pimlico and said it will suit Mylute’s closing style.

“I think that this track is stereotypically called a speed-biased track, but, honestly, I’ve ridden on this track a million times and I really think that it’s a fair track,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to be any disadvantage to us coming from behind and it’s a very long stretch.”

Still, she said that her familiarity with Pimlico does not give her a serious home-track advantage.

“Jockeys, in general, we adjust all the time to new tracks,” she said. “I don’t think it’s such a huge deal, but obviously being very familiar with the track is probably an advantage. I’ve ridden this race course a million times and won plenty of races on it. At least for me, it’s not something I have to get to know.”

The Derby experience gave Napravnik a better understanding of how to handle Mylute on Saturday.

“A lot of people had said he broke bad, which is not true,” she said. “He broke fine with the group, but he just dropped back. If there is anything I would change is maybe not be quite as far back. He’s got a great running style. He’s very relaxed. He’s very easy to ride. You can move him in or out, wherever he wants to go.

“What I really learned about him is that his class is kind of coming out and he’s really improving. I’m really excited about this race.”

 

DEPARTING – Illinois Derby (G3) winner Departing was on the fast track at Pimlico at 6:30 Friday morning for a 1 ½-mile gallop under exercise rider Trina Pasckvale.

“He was very relaxed and gradually picked it up on his own and got stronger the last half-mile,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said. “I wish we had taught him that, but that’s him. He does it on his own.”

Departing may go to the track Saturday morning during the training period between 5-5:30 that will be reserved for Preakness horses.

“I think I might jog him a mile and try to keep him in a routine,” Stall said. “The race isn’t until after 6 and it is a very long day.”

On Thursday afternoon, Departing schooled in the paddock with horses from the fourth race and passed with flying colors.

“That was fine,” Stall said. “They (Departing and Miss Preakness entrant Tread) stood like soldiers.”

Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Departing will break from post position 4 under Brian Hernandez Jr., who has been aboard the gelding for all five of his starts.

The lone loss was a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2), a race in which the winner, Revolutionary, ran third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), runner-up Mylute was fifth in the Derby and fourth-place finisher Golden Soul was second in the Derby.

Stall had equated Departing’s Louisiana Derby effort to a college player going to the NFL. Was Departing NFL material after the Louisiana Derby?

“Definitely, and he showed it in the Illinois Derby,” Stall said of a race Departing won by 3 ¼ lengths after breaking from the No. 13 post. “In retrospect, looking at how the horses performed coming out of the race, that was an NFL game. We handicapped the race coming in and looked at Revolutionary. He was not an (Aqueduct) inner track horse. You could throw that out the window. (Trainer) Todd (Pletcher) had him down in Florida for eight weeks. He was a dirt horse.”

Departing will be Stall’s first Preakness starter since Terrain ran seventh in 2009, finishing eight lengths behind Rachel Alexandra. Like Departing, Terrain did not run in the Kentucky Derby.

“It was a 20-horse field (for the Derby) and he had finished fourth in the Blue Grass,” Stall said. “We had already made plans for the Preakness before Jess Jackson bought Rachel Alexandra.”

Stall has made a couple of trips back to Pimlico since the 2009 Preakness, winning the William Donald Schaefer (G3) in 2010 with Blame and repeating in 2011 with Apart.

Blame’s victory started a campaign that culminated with a triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) over the wildly popular mare Zenyatta. On Saturday, Stall will be in a similar spot trying to knock off Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

“I am sure all the riders will be keeping an eye on Orb,” Stall said. (Trainer) Shug (McGaughey) said he wanted a target on his back and he’s sure got one. This will probably be the shortest field for a Triple Crown race and the craziest races and weird things can happen in short fields.”

Orb will break from the No. 1 post position and sometime in the race, Joel Rosario on Orb may have to get off the rail.

“There can’t be any ushers out there tomorrow,” Stall said with a laugh.

Stall was asked what he would like to see from Departing in Preakness 138.

“I want to see Brian have a handful of horse,” Stall said. “There are three to five of them who figure to be in front early with us being behind them.”

Stall expects horses such as Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday to perform better Saturday than they did at Churchill Downs, as well as Will Take Charge, who had a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby in his first race in seven weeks.

And then there is Orb.

“I know Orb will run his race and it is not like him to take a step back,” Stall said. “We need to take a step forward. I am confident he (Departing) will run well. The rest of it is out of our control. Orb has found his level; now it is a matter of how high we can go.”

Departing will attempt to become the eighth gelding to win the Preakness. The two most recent geldings to prevail came 10 years apart, Prairie Bayou in 1993 and Funny Cide in 2003.

 

GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill broke up his regular routine Friday morning and sent the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner out nearly two hours before his usual Pimlico appearance for a one-mile maintenance gallop shortly after 7 a.m. The result was the same as it’s been all week.

“He looked great,” said O’Neill, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another for a victory in last year’s Preakness.  “He’s had a terrific week. This track in the morning is almost like a training center. It’s so tranquil and quiet. We enjoyed it last year, and so far, so good this year.”

Owned by W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s RAP Racing, the $62,000 yearling purchase has proven an outstanding investment. A three-time stakes winner, the Into Mischief colt already has bankrolled $1.25 million with four victories from seven starts.

The downside to Goldencents is his dismal 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby over a sloppy, sealed racetrack at Churchill Downs. He was listed at odds of 8-1 in the morning line for the Preakness after drawing the No. 2 post position in the field of nine.

“We haven’t closed our eyes and just said, ‘Oh, we’ll do the exact same thing that we did going into the Derby,’” O’Neill said. “We tweaked a few things and I just think with the track looking like it’s going to be a nice, safe, fast track, that’s one less excuse, too. But when they throw in a head-scratcher, the next time, as confident as you may be, it’s tempered a little bit.”

A colt with great tactical speed, Goldencents had been in every other race he’d started, his close fourth in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita being the worst performance before his Derby flop.

“He gallops at a real high cruising speed and we kind of reeled that in before the Santa Anita Derby,” said O’Neill, who decided not to conduct a formal workout between the Derby and Preakness. “Now we’ve kind of gone back to our original way of preparing him and we’ll see what happens. He looks really, really good and I’m excited about him. I think he’s going to run a big race.”

Part-owner Dave Kenney was here last year as part of O’Neill’s much larger post-Derby entourage, and although he didn’t have any stake in I’ll Have Another, he did get a taste of the Preakness flavor.

“The experience has been great,” said Kenney, who owns a large transportation dealership in Southern California and counts multiple-stakes winner Richard’s Kid among his many thoroughbred holdings. “We’re anxiously excited about the race. The people at the Preakness have just been phenomenal to us. They’re gracious hosts, and hopefully we can get a little different result than the last big race.”

Jockey Kevin Krigger, who has been aboard all seven starts for Goldencents, will try to become the first African-American rider to win the Preakness since Willie Simms captured the 1898 edition with Sly Fox.

 

GOVENOR CHARLIE – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is satisfied that his Midnight Lute colt belongs in the 138th Preakness, in which he is one of the new shooters ready to take on Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner.

Baffert knows a little bit about the Preakness, a race he has won five times from 13 starters since 1996. He was second with Bodemeister last year and third with Congaree in 2001.

“Can he beat Orb? We don’t know, but I think he could run 1-2-3,” Baffert said Friday morning. “I feel if I can run 1-2-3 then I have a chance. I want to be competitive.”

Govenor Charlie missed some training time in April with a minor foot bruise and was kept out of the Kentucky Derby. He showed that he was in top form with an impressive six-furlong breeze Monday at Churchill Downs and Baffert decided to send the colt to Baltimore.

“When he did what he did, we were waiting for something like that,” Baffert said. “When you go that fast, 1:10 4/5 at Churchill Downs, out in 1:24 4/5, with Fed Biz, well, the light just went on.”

Govenor Charlie is a Mike Pegram homebred, a descendent of some of the owner-breeder’s top runners, Hall of Famer Silverbulletday and Derby-Preakness winner Real Quiet. The colt was slow to develop and didn’t make his debut until Jan. 19. He broke his maiden in his second race, at a mile in mid-February and became a Derby prospect with a runaway victory in the Sunland Derby (G3) in March

“He was actually a surprise to us because he was this little bulldog-looking horse,” Baffert said. “When I stretched him out that’s when he really showed a big race and then he ran fast, broke the track record at Sunland.

“And he’s got that family, Silverbulletday. It’s just champion, champion, champion. There are champions all over that pedigree. Yet, he doesn’t look like her. He’s got a lot of Storm Cat.”

Govenor Charlie’s dam is Silverbulletway, an unraced daughter of Storm Cat and Silverbulletday. Midnight Lute, was sired by Real Quiet out of the Dehere mare Candytuft.

Orb, who won the Derby by 2 1/2 lengths, has trained well for the Preakness and is the even-money favorite in the morning line. Baffert was asked whether it was too early to anoint Orb a legitimate threat to sweep the Triple Crown.

“He’s got to get by this one. You can’t get ahead of yourself,” Baffert said. “I think it’s a very competitive race. A lot of horses that didn’t run well in the Derby come back and run well. I’ve seen that.”

Baffert said other Preakness runners have looked good to him and that he was impressed by Itsmyluckyday’s appearance.

Govenor Charlie, who will be ridden by Martin Garcia, drew post No. 8 and is 12-1 in the morning line.

“I’m a long shot and I should be a long shot,” Baffert said. “I think we’re all thinking about what kind of horse Orb is. Is he a super horse? He’s a very good horse. When you win five in a row, you’re a really good horse. The way he does it, he doesn’t have to be on the lead and that’s a big difference. If he was a front-running horse, then it makes it tough.”
ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Eddie Plesa Jr. looked on as Itsmyluckyday’s coat glistened in the morning sun following a bath outside the Preakness Stakes Barn Friday morning. The veteran South Florida trainer liked what he saw, just as he liked what he saw at the 2012 Ocala Breeders’ March sale.

“I liked the pedigree and I liked what he would become as far as growing up. You can look at horses and you can envision what they’re going to turn out to be. That’s part of the process,” Plesa said. “He certainly exceeded my expectations.”

When he purchased Itsmyluckyday for his wife, Laurie, and the Trilogy Stable for $110,000, Plesa didn’t exactly envision that the son of Lawyer Ron would develop into a Kentucky Derby and Preakness starter.

“For someone to say that, you’re telling a little story. Way, way, way back in your mind, you might say, ‘I hope.’ But I didn’t look at him and say, ‘My Derby horse!’ ”Plesa said. “I liked the pedigree and I liked what I saw, and we were lucky enough that he fell into our price category.”

Itsmyluckyday, who went to the track for a routine gallop Friday morning, finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby over a sloppy track that his connections blame for the subpar performance. His only “off” track experience produced a four-length victory in a minor stakes at Calder last year.

“People look to Calder and you can’t compare them. Calder’s like no other racetrack when it’s sloppy. It’s a sand racetrack and when it rains, it tightens the racetrack up. There might be puddles on top and it might splash back at you, but as far as firmness for the horse, it’s firmer when it rains than when it doesn’t rain,” Plesa said. “The slop line at Calder…people who put credence into it are doing wrong.”

Plesa said he was hoping for a fast track, over which everyone would get a fair chance.

 

OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – With two Hall of Famers keeping watch over him Friday morning, Titletown Five seemed to be getting an inordinate amount of attention for a potential 30-1 shot in the field for Preakness 138.

“I feel good, just being in it,” said NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, the ex-Green Bay Packer and part-owner of the colt who represents the “Five”  in Titletown Five. “I’ve been here many times. This is the first time one of the horses I own is in a race of this magnitude. I’m going to be very interested in watching him run. We’re gonna make a run somewhere.”

Hornung, who is the same age (77) as his Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, knows he may not have many more chances like this on racing’s big stage. And as a native of Kentucky Derby hometown Louisville, Hornung has always had more than a passing interest in horse racing, even when he was setting records on the gridiron at Notre Dame and helping the Packers win an NFL championship in 1965.

“I’ve been to the Derby many times; I’ve been here many times; I’ve been to New York and Saratoga many times,” said the former “Golden Boy,” who along with ex-teammate Willie Davis and Lukas comprise the majority of the Tiznow colt’s ownership. “This is a real thrill for me to be involved.”

Titletown Five is a colt that he and Lukas had high hopes for as a 2-year-old, but following his maiden victory at Churchill Downs in October, the $250,000 purchase was found to have bone chips in a front knee that required surgery.

“If  Titletown Five didn’t get that chip in his knee, he was going to be one of the really good horses,” Lukas said. “I was devastated; he’d won by nine or 10 lengths. He’s sound, but we lost the whole winter conditioning and everything.”

Titletown Five is winless in three starts this season, but it does bear mentioning that as a 2-year-old he got the best of  Kentucky Derby winner Orb in a maiden race at Saratoga.

“He beat Orb,” said Lukas, who is seeking his sixth Preakness win with a three-horse contingent that includes Oxbow and Will Take Charge. “It was early in his career and he’s (Orb) a late-developing horse, but we still beat him.”

Hornung was there that August afternoon when Titletown Five finished second and Orb was third in one of Saratoga’s key maiden races of 2012.

“It gives me an idea that we’ve got a good horse,” Hornung said. “I think we can do it if we run our race. If you do it once, you can do it again.”

Lukas pronounced all three horses ready for the assignment after Friday morning gallops at Pimlico. Julien Leparoux will be aboard Titletown Five for the first time Saturday.

“I was really pleased with what I saw today,” Lukas said. “They’ve gotten better every day since they got here (Tuesday).”

Two more Hall of Famers, jockey Gary Stevens and Mike Smith, will have the mounts on Oxbow and Will Take Charge, respectively. Between them, they have won the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown three times, Stevens won aboard Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001) and Smith with Prairie Bayou (1993).  Stevens was retired when Oxbow began his racing career at Saratoga last August.

“When I saw Gary around January or February he was fit and I thought he looked better on a horse in the morning than prior to his retirement when his knees were bothering him,” Lukas said. “He just looked better and seemed in a better place. There’s no doubt about his talent, so I said to him, ‘Gary, I’ve got a couple 3-year-olds that are coming along. Watch them, and if one of them looks like it’s going to be good enough, I’d have no problem putting you on.’”

Still, Stevens was attempting a comeback at the age of 50 in a sport where most of the competitors were 20 or 30 years younger.

“He started winning a few races at Santa Anita and I thought, ‘Hell, let’s go,’” Lukas said. “I was telling somebody else who was criticizing me for putting him on: ‘You know any other combination that’s got seven Derbys between them?’

“Mike Smith has been good for us, too. The experience thing is huge in these races. It really shows up in these big ones – pressure. These young guys they say, ‘Aw, it doesn’t bother me,’ but it bothers them. And this may be more of a jockey’s race than the other two. I think they better have their heads screwed on here.”

With saddling a third of the field, he feels good about his chances.

“I only like to come here if I’m competitive,” he said. “I think we are. Orb’s the best horse, let’s face it. This year it’s exciting for me. I’ve got a lot of passion for it.”

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Baltimore owner Janney visits Orb at Pimlico

Posted on 16 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY HERO ORB TO CARRY MARYLAND PRIDE IN PREAKNESS

AMOSS TENDS TO FAMILY, MYLUTE; DEPARTING SETTLES IN 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Orb has history of winning from rail

Posted on 15 May 2013 by WNST Staff

ORB STRONG MORNING-LINE FAVORITE FOR SATURDAY’S PREACHINESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

POST POSITION DRAW QUOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Lukas’ Preakness horses to arrive in Baltimore Tuesday afternoon

Posted on 14 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB BRED TO GO THE DISTANCE FOR PREAKNESS

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baffert is scheduled to travel to Baltimore on Thursday.

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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Derby winner Orb arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

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Derby winner Orb arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

Posted on 13 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB ARRIVES AT PIMLICO FOR PREAKNESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orb will likely be heavily favored in the Preakness.

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

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

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

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Orb “magnificent”, Vyjack out of Preakness

Posted on 13 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY HERO ORB ‘MAGNIFICENT’ IN WORKOUT FOR PREACHINESS

GOVENOR CHARLIE, MYLUTE, LUKAS DUO BREEZE IN KENTUCKY

 

BALTIMORE, 05-13-13 – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb made a strong impression at Belmont Park Monday morning during a four-furlong tune-up for Saturday’s 138th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.

“I thought it was nothing short of magnificent,” trainer Shug McGaughey said after Orb made his sharp workout under exercise rider Jenn Patterson look effortless.

The son of Malibu Moon was timed in 47.18 seconds for the half-mile after breezing the first quarter of a mile in 24.47 seconds. Orb galloped out five furlongs in 59.54 seconds.

“He broke off very relaxed and finished up unbelievably, just on his own. I was shocked when I looked down at my watch and saw he worked from the eighth-pole to the wire in 11-and-change,” said McGaughey, who revealed that the work sent chills up his back. “He was covering the ground as good as a horse could cover it. He galloped out fine, dropped his head and walked home.”

Leading up to his commanding 2 ½-length Kentucky Derby victory on May 4, Orb produced a strong half-mile workout in company at Churchill Downs that also received rave reviews.

“All in all, I was just as impressed with this work as I was with the one in Louisville. It was a cool morning here and the track had a little bounce to it, because it had a little moisture in it from the rains over the weekend, and it was in terrific shape,” said McGaughey, whose colt turned in the fifth-fastest clocking of 96 recorded at the four-furlong distance. “But the way he went and the way he finished, well in hand, and came back, it was very, very visually impressive to me, and I couldn’t be happier with what I saw.”

Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s home-bred colt was loaded on a van shortly after 10 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Pimlico in mid-afternoon. Orb will occupy Stall 40 in the Preakness Stakes Barn, the stall that is traditionally reserved for the Kentucky Derby hero.

 

GOVENOR CHARLIE – Mike Pegram’s homebred colt showed that he has recovered from the minor problems that kept him out of the Kentucky Derby with a sharp six-furlong work in 1:10 4/5 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was satisfied with the performance and said a final decision on whether to run in the Preakness will be made Tuesday. Govenor Charlie, winner of the Sunland Derby (G3) on March 24, is booked on a flight from Louisville, Ky. to Maryland on Wednesday.

“He worked good enough to run,” Baffert said. “I think today we’re caught up for the little time that we lost.”

Govenor Charlie was found to have a bruise in a hind foot in April, was examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital and subsequently missed two workouts. Baffert then decided he was not ready for the Derby.

The work Monday was his third since returning from the break in training and was the fastest of four at the distance. Working in company with Fed Biz, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Govenor Charlie turned in split times of :11 4/5, :23 4/5, :35 and :58 1/5 under Ricardo Santana Jr. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5.

“That’s him,” Baffert said. “When he starts working like that, it means he’s doing really well.”

However, Baffert said he wouldn’t commit the son of Midnight Lute to the Preakness until Tuesday.

“I have to see how he comes out of it,” Baffert said. “He went very, very well. That’s a call that I have to make.”

 

MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute, the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, worked a half-mile in 49 3/5 seconds over a fast surface at Churchill Downs shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m.

Working on his own and with jockey Rosie Napravnik up, Mylute jogged once around and then galloped once around with a pony before producing fractions of :12 4/5, :24 4/5 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:04 2/5. The half-mile time was the 20thfastest of 40 recorded at the distance for the morning.

“It was a good breeze and the track was in excellent shape,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “This was similar to what he did before the Kentucky Derby but just a bit faster, and I hope that is a product of him being ready to roll.”
OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Five-time Preakness-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent Oxbow and Will Take Charge, his sixth- and eighth-place Kentucky Derby finishers, respectively, to the track for four-furlong workouts Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

After the renovation break, Oxbow, ridden by jockey Gary Stevens, came out to work a half-mile in 49 4/5 seconds, the 22ndfastest of 40 for the morning at the distance. The son of Awesome Again posted fractions of :12 3/5, :24 3/5 and :37 3/5  before galloping out five furlongs in 1:03 3/5.

Earlier, Will Take Charge, who is scheduled to be ridden by Mike Smith, worked a half-mile in 48 2/5 seconds under exercise rider Rudy Quevedo. Will Take Charge posted fractions of :12 3/5, :24 1/5 and :36 for the work that ranked sixth fastest of 40 at the distance.

Titletown Five, who will be ridden in the Preakness by Julien Leparoux, was the first Lukas horse on the track Monday and he open-galloped 1 ¼ miles with a blowout down the stretch that was not recorded by clockers. Quevedo was aboard.

“We varied them a bit, but it was pretty much what I wanted,” said Lukas of Oxbow and Will Take Charge. “Coming off a tough race in the mud (in the Derby), the tendency sometimes is to do too much.”

Stevens, a two-time Preakness winner, liked Oxbow’s work.

“Time was not a factor and this was more about his mind and keeping him relaxed for the trip (to Maryland) tomorrow,” said Stevens, who tasted Preakness success with Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001). “The main thing is to keep him happy. I think I am sitting on the right horse with the right style.”

Stevens envisions a different pace scenario from the Derby, in which Palace Malice led the field through the mud in fractions of :22.57, :45.33 and 1:09.80.

“I do not think the pace will be the same,” Stevens said. “You may want to forgive some of the horses for their races in the Derby. I thought Goldencents would be with us on the lead and he was outside of us and getting all the kickback. At the five-eighths pole, I could see that Kevin (Krigger on Goldencents) was not comfortable and he could not go inside, because that is where I was, and he had two horses on his outside.

“I think you can throw that race out and I respect all of the opposition.”

Lukas said his Pimlico contingent would start loading at the barn at 3 a.m. Tuesday and expects to be at Old Hilltop around 4 p.m. The Hall of Fame conditioner will be on the van with his horses.

“I go with them whether we fly or go by van,” Lukas said. “I just like to be with them.”

 

DEPARTING – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing walked the shedrow at Barn 45 at Churchill Downs Monday morning, a day after working a half-mile in 50 2/5 seconds.

Trainer Al Stall Jr. said the Illinois Derby (G3) winner came out of the work fine and is scheduled to return to the track Tuesday morning to gallop a mile. Brian Hernandez Jr., who has been aboard Departing in all five of his starts, has the Preakness mount.
GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill stood on the deck outside the press box at Pimlico around 8:45 on a brisk Monday morning to get an overhead view of his Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner going through a spirited mile gallop under jockey Kevin Krigger.

“I thought he went really well,” said O’Neill, who won last year’s Preakness with Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another. “Kevin was kind enough to come over here after Churchill and get to know him even better – even though he knows him so well. Coming down the lane, Goldencents was so comfortable and he was reaching out great. I just loved what I saw today.”

O’Neill had originally planned to give the son of Into Mischief a workout at Pimlico after his poor performance in the Kentucky Derby (an eased-up 17th), but on Sunday he decided to use the same training regimen he had with I’ll Have Another and gallop into the race.

“I think he trains as hard as a lot of horses work,” said the 44-year-old Michigan native, who had the only Preakness contender on the grounds as of Monday morning. “He puts in a good effort every day, so in my mind there’s just no need – unless we have some weather issues or something like that. The goal was: if he could gallop comfortably every day, that’s what we would do, and so far, so good.”

O’Neill, who sent 12 horses to Pimlico, including Goldencents, shortly after the Derby, said he doesn’t expect part-owner Rick Pitino to be present for the Preakness, but his son, Richard, is planning to attend. Pitino, who coached Louisville to the NCAA basketball title in March, owns five percent of Goldencents with W.C. Racing and Dave Kenney.

Goldencents was the third choice in the wagering in Kentucky off his impressive victory in the Santa Anita Derby, but he was really not a factor after the first half-mile or so at Churchill Downs.

“When we got to the three-eighths pole the race changed for him completely,” said Krigger, who came directly to Pimlico with the colt after the Derby. “He went from just sitting comfortably to just not giving me the effort that he usually puts out. When we got to the five-sixteenths pole he just started regressing more for whatever reason it was, and I just decided, instead of harassing him and causing him to struggle on the sloppy track, to protect him and wrap up on him and brought him home.”

Last year, I’ll Have Another was the target; this year O’Neill comes to Baltimore as the hunter, seeking to stop Orb’s quest to add the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

“It was a great feeling last year being the hunted, but a hunter’s not bad,” said the Southern California-based conditioner, whose Triple Crown bid with I’ll Have Another was thwarted by an injury that forced him to scratch the day before the Belmont Stakes (G1).  “Just being here is a real honor, and I give great thanks to the horse and the owners. This (the Preakness) is just an experience you want to be part of.”

Goldencents has already earned $1.2 million with four victories from seven starts, and O’Neill is drawing a line through the Derby.

“I think it was kind of a demanding track, and it just wasn’t to our liking,” he said. “I think we’re going to see a much better result Saturday.”

 

ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Itsmyluckyday came out of his half-mile workout at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon “100 percent,” reported trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. Monday morning.

“He was acting like nothing happened,” said Plesa of Itsmyluckyday’s behavior when he checked on his Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner Monday.

The son of Lawyer Ron worked between Sunday’s third and fourth races at Monmouth, breezing four furlongs in 47 1/5 seconds.

Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to van to Pimlico at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

 

VYJACK – Trainer Rudy Rodriguez informed Maryland Jockey Club officials Monday morning that Vyjack, the 18th-place Derby finisher, will not be entered in the Preakness Stakes.

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

Posted on 10 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB CONTINUES TO LOOK GOOD FOR PREAKNESS STAKES

Itsmyluckyday Scheduled for Work; Goldencents Gallops at Pimlico 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Derby winner Orb to ship to Baltimore Monday

Posted on 09 May 2013 by WNST Staff

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bob Baffert-trained Govenor Charlie also jogged at Churchill.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

NEARLY 500 HORSES NOMINATED TO PREAKNESS WEEKEND STAKES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Derby winner Orb works at Belmont in preparation for Preakness

Posted on 08 May 2013 by WNST Staff

DERBY WINNER ORB RETURNS TO RACETRACK TO PREP FOR PREAKNESS STAKES

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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