Tag Archive | "preakness"

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Pimlico announces handles up for 2014 meet

Posted on 10 June 2014 by WNST Staff


BALTIMORE, 06-10-14—The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its spring meeting at Pimlico Race Course last weekend with the average daily handle 4.7% higher than 2013. The average daily handle increased from $4.5 million to $4.7 million with one fewer day of live racing. Easter fell during the spring stand this year.

“We had a strong finish with our numbers up 14 times during the last 16 days of the meet,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “Despite running one fewer day, we had more total runners this year so the racing department deserves a great deal of credit.”

The 2014 meet featured 2,689 runners in 344 races (7.82 average), while last year’s spring stand included 2,683 starters in 359 races (7.47 average).

Preakness weekend was a major success as nearly 160,000 fans attended the Black-Eyed Susan (34,736) and Preakness day (123,469) cards at Old Hilltop. During the two days, there were 26 high-quality races, including the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), and performances by eleven musical acts in the famed infield.

“We would have shattered the Black-Eyed Susan Day attendance and handle records set a year ago if not for the two inches of rain that hit Baltimore that morning which caused six races to come off the turf and discouraged attendance,” added Chuckas. “But I am still proud of what we have done to improve the Preakness weekend and will continue to find ways to sustain the momentum through the end of the meet and beyond.”

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Third place Preakness horse Social Inclusion to depart for Belmont Sunday

Posted on 24 May 2014 by WNST Staff



BALTIMORE, 05-24-14—Social Inclusion, who finished third in last Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1), galloped a mile at Pimlico Race Course Saturday morning after the renovation break. The Manny Azpurua trainee leaves for Belmont Park Sunday morning.


Owner Ron Sanchez has not decided whether the son of Pioneerofthe Nile will run in the Belmont Stakes (G1) or the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes in two weeks.


The Pimlico spring meeting will conclude that afternoon with an 11-race card. First post will be 12:45 p.m.

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California Chrome departs Pimlico for Belmont

Posted on 20 May 2014 by WNST Staff


BALTIMORE, 05-20-14—Dual classic winner California Chrome left Pimlico Race Course at 6:14 a.m. for what is expected to be a 4-hour van ride to Elmont, NY. Trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, California Chrome is eligible to become Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion in the 146th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) June 7 at Belmont Park.

“He looks great,” assistant trainer Alan Sherman said 45 minutes before the California Chrome boarded the Brook Ledge van. “I just went in there checking on him and he was biting me and pushing me around. He licked the bottom of his feed tub clean, so he ready to go.”

The modestly bred California-bred colt will seek to join the company of Triple Crown champions Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977), Secretariat (1973), Citation (1948), Assault (1946), Count Fleet (1943),Whirlaway (1941), War Admiral (1937), Omaha (1935), Gallant Fox (1930) and Sir Barton (1919).

California Chrome followed up his May 3 Kentucky Derby (G1) victory with a 1 ½ length score in the Preakness Stakes (G1)Saturday afternoon.

“It is just an amazing experience,” added Sherman. “Every time I watch the Preakness replay I darn near cry. It has been a great experience. None of these horses have run a mile and a half so it is an unknown for everybody. This horse has a high cruising speed and I think he’ll be fine but the track at Belmont is completely different than it is here at Pimlico or Churchill. I know one thing, he will try hard.”

California Chrome was led out of the Preakness stakes barn by exercise rider Willie Delgado. After posing for pictures, he boarded without incident at 6:04 a.m.

“I think he enjoyed the couple days of relaxation,” Sherman said. “I probably don’t realize how big of a zoo it is going to be up there in New York. I have never gone through anything like this.”

Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin accompanied California Chrome on the trip leaving Social Inclusion as the only remaining Preakness runner left on the grounds. He is expected to depart for New York Sunday.


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Ride On Curlin will take another shot at California Chrome in Belmont

Posted on 18 May 2014 by WNST Staff




CALIFORNIA CHROME – Trainer Art Sherman widened his smile and nodded at the question of the morning Sunday after California Chrome added Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) to his win in the Kentucky Derby : Have you been thinking about the Triple Crown?

“I sure have,” Sherman said. “I’m thinking what the journey is, one more shot. I’m going to have a lot of fresh shooters waiting for me in New York.  He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He really doesn’t have a lot to prove. He’s been a super horse for us. He’s one of those horses that you’re going to have to outrun to beat him. Maybe they won’t be able to beat him. I’m looking forward to that race.”

California Chrome will try to become the 12th Triple Crown winner – the first since Affirmed swept the series in 1978 – in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 7. The colt will walk the shedrow Pimlico at 7 a.m. Monday and ship from the Preakness Stakes Barn at Pimlico to Belmont Park at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Sherman said he thinks his colt can complete the sweep in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, which has stopped 11 horses that won the Derby and Preakness since Affirmed. A 12th Derby-Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another in 2012, was found to be injured the day before the Belmont Stakes and was scratched.

“I do,” he said. “I have a good feeling about it. I’m really confident going into this race. After watching him run yesterday with two weeks (between races) and showing the courage that he had, they better have their running shoes on. I don’t care how many fresh shooters they’ve got there;  he’s the real McCoy.”

Sherman said California Chrome, a winner of six straight races, should be able to handle the Belmont distance.

“I really think a mile and a half is no problem at all for this horse,” he said.  “I know when I was at Los Alamitos he galloped two miles every day and the second time around there he was in another gear. He looked better to me the second time around than the first.”

However, he said jockey Victor Espinoza will have to be careful in the Belmont.

“To last that long you’re going to have to take a hold of your horse the first part of it,” Sherman said. “He’s an easy horse to rate. If you want him to go in :48, he goes in :48. If you want him to go in :46, he’ll go in :46. I don’t think he needs to carry his race with him. Whatever the pace is, perfect, he can ride him that way.”

Much like he did after the Derby, Sherman, 77, said he will return to his California home Monday to tend to his stable based at Los Alamitos, while his son and assistant trainer, Alan, manages California Chrome for the next two weeks. Art Sherman said he expects to travel to New York about a week before the Belmont Stakes.

During a meeting with the media outside the stakes barn, Sherman said the horse came out of the race well, that he is in favor of lengthening the time between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes from five to nine weeks, and that he expects the colt’s owners, Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, to question New York’s rule against the use of nasal strips used to improve breathing by opening the nasal passages.

Sherman was surprised to learn that New York State does not allow nasal strips and said it might present a problem.

“Now that’s going to be interesting,” Sherman said. “This guy, Perry Martin, he might not run if they say you can’t run with a nasal strip. He’s very funny about things like that. The horse has been on a six-race winning streak with nasal strips. I don’t know why they would ban you from wearing one, but we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there, I guess.”

By late morning, the New York State Gaming Commission issued a statement saying that it is up to the stewards to approve the use to nasal strips.

The statement from New York’s racing regulators:

“Neither the New York State Gaming Commission nor the Stewards at the New York Racing Association have received a request to use nasal strips in the June 7 Belmont Stakes.

“If a request to use nasal strips is made, the decision on whether to permit them or not will be fully evaluated and determined by the Stewards.

“This is in accordance with the Commission’s Thoroughbred Rule 4033.8, which states: “Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race.”

California Chrome’s chestnut coat shone in the morning sun a dozen or so hours after he posted a 1 1/2-length victory over Ride On Curlin in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Sherman said the horse seemed fine and was pulling Alan as they walked the shedrow.

Under Espinoza, California Chrome stalked the pace for six furlongs, moved to the front in the second turn and scooted away from the others at the top of the stretch.

“They took pretty good shots at him and he was in a longer drive than I’ve ever seen him,” Sherman said.  “Victor said he had to ask him at the half-mile pole to stay in there when that horse (Social Inclusion) wheeled up alongside of him. He could see that he was trying to push him down there a little bit so he let him run a little earlier than he usually does. He kept up a half-mile run. Usually he just runs the last quarter of a mile. That impressed me a lot, coming back in two weeks. I said, ‘Man, this horse has got to have a big heart. He really does.”

The gap between the Preakness and the Belmont is three weeks and Sherman said it’s time that the Triple Crown schedule is adjusted.

“I think they should change that rule and make it to where it’s about a nine-week program,” he said. “I think you’d have a lot more shooters in that race (the Preakness). You’d have a lot more Derby horses that would try it. Now you only get two or three Derby horses that go.

And Sherman said he is favor of prohibiting fresh horses from entering the series after the Derby. It’s now quite common for horses that were beaten in the Derby to skip the Preakness and run in the Belmont.

“To me, if you’re going to the Triple Crown, go for the Triple Crown. Don’t pick your spots,” he said.  “Let everybody be in the same situation and do it.  The Triple Crown is the Triple Crown. If you’re good enough horse to do it, let’s go. Make it fair where you don’t have to pick and choose your spots. I think that shows what kind of horse you’ve got.”


RIDE ON CURLIN – Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin walked the shedrow for 40 minutes in the Preakness Stakes Barn with trainer Billy Gowan Sunday morning following his solid second-place performance behind California Chrome in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

“He came out of the race unbelievably good,” said the 48-year-old Louisiana native, affectionately known as ‘Bronco Billy.’ “He ate everything in his feed tub; he’s bouncing around here and his legs are ice-cold. I like getting a little frostbite on my hands when I feel them legs. I couldn’t ask for it any better.”

Gowan said he will continue his Triple Crown tour at Belmont Park to try Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome one more time in the Belmont Stakes. He will attempt to accomplish the same feat his dam’s (Magical Ride) grandsire, Victory Gallop achieved in 1998 when he upset Real Quiet’s Triple Crown bid.

The son of Curlin will remain at Pimlico until Tuesday, when he is scheduled to board a van bound for Belmont Park, along with the Derby and Preakness winner. Under new rider Joel Rosario, Ride On Curlin came from last out of the 10-post and passed the entire field except California Chrome. The losing margin was a diminishing 1 ½ lengths.

“I thought he ran huge,” Gowan said. “He trained great all week and he ran just like I thought he would, if you want to know the truth. He gave him a great ride. At the eighth-pole I thought, heck, we might have a shot. But you have to give a lot of credit to (California Chrome). He doesn’t ever quit. Ours didn’t either; he just couldn’t get to him.”

The Preakness was the 11th career start for Ride On Curlin, a bargain basement buy at $25,000 for former Louisville furniture chain store dealer Daniel Dougherty.  Still seeking his first stakes victory, Ride On Curlin is Dougherty’s only horse in training and the star of Gowan’s four-horse stable. Gowan picked out the colt in the 2012 Keeneland September Sale.

“I’ve been excited about that pedigree since the day I looked at the page myself,” Gowan said. It’s a lot of self satisfaction just knowing we could do this – just pick one out, train him, get him up here and make it all the way from the sale ring to here. It’s very gratifying.”

Gowan said it’s been “great fun” being part of this entire Triple Crown scenario.

“Hey, I’m a racing fan, too,” he said. “If I can’t win the Belmont, I dang sure want to see a Triple Crown.”


SOCIAL INCLUSION:  Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion emerged from his third-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) in good order.

“He ate everything and he’s happy. He didn’t show that he was tired at all,” Rontos Racing’s Ron Sanchez said Sundaymorning.

Social Inclusion is scheduled to remain at Pimlico until Friday before shipping to Belmont Park for a probable start in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 7.

“The Belmont is in the picture, but we’ll see what’s good for the horse. We’ll look at all the options we have,” said Sanchez, who mentioned the Met Mile (G1) and the Woody Stephens (G2) on Belmont Stakes Day as options. “It’s early, but we’re going to New York, definitely.”

The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, who made only his fourth career start in the Preakness, was regarded as the likely pacesetter in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. However, the Manny Azpurua-trained colt was forced to race off the pace after experiencing early trouble.

“We’re very happy that he ran with his heart,” Sanchez said. “He didn’t really have a clean trip. He had a little trouble in the starting gate, in his stall, and after that he didn’t break well. He bumped twice with California Chrome and on the first turn he got the worst of the bumping. The horse stalked the pace and made a good run, but California Chrome took off.”

Wide on the backstretch, Social Inclusion pulled alongside California Chrome leaving the backstretch and the pair swept around tiring pacesetter Pablo Del Monte on the turn before entering the stretch, where California Chrome kicked away to victory. Social Inclusion tired but held on to third money.

“We’ll try again. He’s getting mature. We’re very proud of him,” said Sanchez, who is planning a mini-vacation in Ocean City, Md., where he lived during the ‘90s. “We’ll see what happens in his next race. We’ll work on the gate problems and see what options we have and go forward.”


GENERAL A ROD: Trainer Mike Maker said that General A Rod came out of his fourth-place Preakness finish “in good shape” but couldn’t make a definitive statement about the colt’s chances of being only the third horse to run in all three Triple Crown events this year (California Chrome and Ride On Curlin are confirmed for the Belmont Stakes).

Jack Wolf, managing partner of Starlight Racing, said Sunday morning that his group will confer with representatives from co-owner Skychai Racing later this week and decide on the colt’s future.

“I would like to run him in the Belmont,” Wolf said. “I’m a racing fan first and an owner second, and I’d like to see a Triple Crown. I’d like to win the Belmont, too.”

The son of Roman Ruler was only a head from finishing third in the Preakness behind show finisher Social Inclusion. The Gulfstream Park Derby winner finished eight lengths behind Preakness winner California Chrome.


RING WEEKEND: Trainer Graham Motion was “quite happy” with the way St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’Ring Weekend came out of his troubled fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness.

The Tampa Bay Derby winner (G2) bumped with Bayern after the start and had to be steadied going into the first turn.

“I think, perhaps, with a cleaner trip he could have been on the board,” said Motion, whose colt was vanned back to Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Saturday evening. “I was very pleased with the way he ran, and I think he showed he belongs with those horses.”

No decision has been made concerning Ring Weekend’s next start.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Terry (Finley, managing partner of West Point Thoroughbreds). There’s always a possibility of doing the Belmont, but there are going to be a lot of options for him this summer that I think he’d be very competitive in,” Motion said. “So, we’ll have to get together and decide what makes the most sense.”

Motion was impressed with California Chrome’s performance.

“I think he handled everything so well. He’s a real pro. He’s a good enough horse that he doesn’t get himself in trouble. Perhaps, that’s the kind of horse we need to have a Triple Crown winner,” Motion said.


PABLO DEL MONTE – Trainer Wesley Ward said his homebred colt Pablo Del Monte was headed home to KentuckySunday, where he will be freshened for a summer campaign.

Under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez, Pablo Del Monte led the field through six furlongs in 1:11.06, before being overtaken and finishing sixth.

“I was very happy with his effort and proud of him,” Ward said. “I thought we would have run a little better, but he certainly wasn’t going to beat the winner regardless. What a phenomenal horse. I’m so excited to be involved with a possible Triple Crown hopeful. It’s a great story.”

Ward said he and his co-owners, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, talked about aiming their colt to middle distance type races of seven furlongs and a mile. He said that after Pablo Del Monte returns from some time off, he will be prepared for the seven-furlong King’s Bishop (G1) at Saratoga Race Course.


DYNAMIC IMPACT – John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact, who finished seventh in Saturday’s Preakness, was boarded on a van bound for Baltimore-Washington International Airport for an early Sunday morning flight to Louisville, Ky.


KID CRUZ – Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable’s Kid Cruz came out of his eighth-place Preakness finish in good shape and was boarded on a van headed home to Belmont Park shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

“He came out well and everything was good this morning,” said trainer Linda Rice, who remained behind for the sales in Timonium this week. “We will fight again.”

Whether that’s against California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks is still an uncertainty, Rice said.

“I’d say we’re about 50-50 right now,” said the first woman to ever win a Saratoga Race Course training title. No woman trainer has ever won a Triple Crown race.

Rice said she would meet with the colt’s owners   sometime soon and make a final determination.

Kid Cruz has had only six career starts, three of them victories, but Rice is confident that the son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid has his best races in front of him.

“He’s still catching up,” she said. “He just had too much to do yesterday. We know he’s got talent.”


BAYERN – Kaleem Shah’s Bayern, who finished ninth in Saturday’s Preakness, boarded an early Sunday morning flight to Louisville, Ky.


RIA ANTONIA – Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia exited from her last-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness in good health.

“She’s in good shape,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “We’ll regroup and find another spot.”

Ria Antonia, the only filly in the 10-horse field, was boarded on a Tex Sutton flight to Louisville, Ky. early Sunday morning.

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California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid potentially in jeopardy due to nasal strip

Posted on 18 May 2014 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE (AP) — Trainer Art Sherman says California Chrome might not pursue a Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes if New York officials won’t allow the colt to wear a nasal strip.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner has worn one during his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin suggested it. Sherman said Sunday he will talk to New York racing officials and the horse’s owners.

Some horses, like humans, wear nasal strips to assist breathing.

Two years ago, I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness while wearing nasal strips. New York officials told his team the colt couldn’t wear one in the Belmont. The issue became moot when I’ll Have Another was scratched the day before the race because of a leg injury.

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Preakness record 123,469 see California Chrome take second leg of Triple Crown

Posted on 17 May 2014 by WNST Staff


Derby Winner Continues Quest to Become 12th Triple Crown Champion

BALTIMORE, 05-17-14 – California Chrome continued on his quest for a Triple Crown sweep Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, scoring a dominating victory in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) to the enthusiastic approval of a record crowd of 123,469.


Two weeks after capturing the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 1 ¾ lengths, the California-bred 3-year-old colt received yet another heads-up ride from jockey Victor Espinoza on his way to a 1 ½-length triumph over Ride On Curlin in the 139th running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.


Trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, California Chrome is eligible to become Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion in the 146th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) June 7 at Belmont Park. The modestly bred California-bred colt will seek to join the company of Triple Crown champions Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977), Secretariat (1973), Citation (1948), Assault (1946), Count Fleet (1943),Whirlaway (1941), War Admiral (1937), Omaha (1935), Gallant Fox (1930) and Sir Barton (1919).


California Chrome, a strong 1-2 favorite in a field of 10, broke alertly and gained stalking position behind early pacesetter Pablo Del Monte. After Ria Antonia, the lone filly in the field, made an early move to challenge the pacesetter heading into the first turn, California Chrome settled in third around the turn and on the backstretch. Social Inclusion, the 5-1 second betting choice ridden by Luis Contreras, made a move outside California Chrome heading into the far turn, prompting Espinoza to ask his horse for some run. The favorite swept past the pacesetter on the turn into the homestretch, engaged to his outside by Social Inclusion, and spurted away in early stretch, never to be challenged again.


California Chrome crossed the finish line clear of Ride On Curlin, who rallied from far back under Joel Rosario to finish second, 6 ½ lengths clear of Social Inclusion. The running time of 1:54.84 for the 1 3/16 miles of the Maryland Jockey Club’s signature race was the fastest since Big Brown was timed in 1:54.80 in 2008.


The Preakness highlighted a 13-race program with nine stakes, including four graded stakes, generating an all-sources handle of $83,786,363, including the $53,655,673 wagered on the Middle Jewel.


The Preakness Day Celebration included performances by Grammy Award winner Lorde and hip-hop icon Nas in the infield.


“It was another fantastic day with the record attendance under ideal conditions,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “We pride ourselves in our hospitality and extend an invitation to Sherman Racing to stay here at Pimlico for as long as they want as the team prepares California Chrome to the Belmont Stakes and a date with destiny.”



Winning Trainer Art Sherman (California Chrome): “He broke great and had a perfect trip. I was so happy when I saw where he was able to set him. Right now he’s really on his toes and doing good. He’s a remarkable horse to come back in two weeks and win. I know he’s not the only horse that ever did that, but it’s tough on a horse to come back in two weeks. I appreciate everyone involved in my team. They did a hell of a job. Both my sons are here. It’s very emotional.

“To me, this race was even a little tougher for me knowing that I’m coming back in a little shorter distance than I normally ever run them and the time I give them to rest between races. I was a little concerned about that, but he’s got a big heart this horse – big.

“Wow. I’ll tell you it’s quite a thrill. I know we had to run harder in this race.  For me, just watching him perform, coming back in two weeks, I was a little concerned.
But I’ll tell you one thing: he’s a real race horse. I’m hoping that the mile and a half is up his alley, too, because he’s a very good horse.

“Oh, you’ve got to have a tear. I’ve got my whole family here. We worked hard all year and Victor (Espinoza) rode him perfect. It’s a dream for any trainer to do this.

“I couldn’t tell how much horse he really had. It was hard for me to get a good view because people were jumping up and down in front of me. But when I looked up at the board, I could see him starting to move away and I felt really good then.”


Winning Jockey Victor Espinoza (California Chrome): “It was not easy, but we got it done. I’m excited and looking forward. I had to start early because the outside horse was pushing me. I thought I had the perfect position, but when the outside horse attacked me, I had to open it up at that point. It was tough today. This race was a little complicated. I saw another horse take the lead, I’m second, then (Ria Antonia) wants to go. I have to steady, steady and I have to hope and make the right decision and hope for the best. Then, I’m sitting third and I think it’s perfect.”


Trainer Billy Gowan (Ride On Curlin, 2nd): “I thought it was awesome. California Chrome ran a great race and he’s a great horse. My horse ran a great race. He was in a good spot down the back. Joel (Rosario) said he got shut off for a second, but he came running in the stretch and gave me a heckuva thrill. I’m really proud. I like the horse; I like everything; I like the Preakness. I think we have to go to the Belmont if he comes out of the race good.”


Jockey Joel Rosario (Ride On Curlin, 2nd): “We had a good race. My horse ran really well. I thought that I had him and we were going strong, but if I got beat, I wanted it to be California Chrome, because he is a great horse. I know my horse is too.”


Owner Ron Sanchez (Social Inclusion, 3rd): “My horse, I would have liked to have seen him on the lead, but that didn’t happen today. I’m proud of my horse. He ran well. Right now, we’re going to the Belmont.”


Jockey Luis Contreras (Social Inclusion, 3rd): “He acted up a little bit in the gate, but it was no big deal at all. The horse ran a really big race today. I can’t tell you how happy I am with this horse. We will get them the next time.”


Trainer Mike Maker (General a Rod, 4th): “He ran well. He may have been a little crowded down the backside. Whether or not that affected anything, we’ll find out.”


Jockey Javier Castellano (General a Rod, 4th): “It was a beautiful trip until the three-eighths pole when I checked him bad. I’m not sure if I could have beat California Chrome, but that sure cost me.”


Trainer Graham Motion (Ring Weekend, 5th): “He got a decent spot but he just didn’t have a real clean trip. A horse stopped in front of him. I don’t think it cost him a lot but it might have cost him a position. I was very pleased with him. I thought he was very game. I thought he ran very competitively. I just wish he’d had a clean trip and then you wouldn’t have any question. We’ll talk about it (Belmont Stakes), definitely. I was very pleased with how he ran today.”


Jockey Alan Garcia (Ring Weekend, 5th): “We had an unbelievably rough trip. We had trouble right from the start, getting bounced around. But he did everything he could.”


Trainer Wesley Ward (Pablo Del Monte, 6th): “He got away good from the gate but then Calvin (Borel) on Ria Antonia put her right with him. I wish we could have gotten away with a 48 (second) half. I would have felt a lot better.”


Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez (Pablo Del Monte, 6th): “He wanted to go for the lead and got over good to a spot. He ran his race.”


Trainer Mark Casse (Dynamic Impact, 7th): “I think we beat three or four horses. We have no excuses. He just didn’t run fast enough.”


Jockey Miguel Mena (Dynamic Impact, 7th): “We got a nice trip and a clean break and got around the turn good. But he struggled a little with the racetrack, but he came running at the end.”


Trainer Linda Rice (Kid Cruz, 8th): “I was a little disappointed, but he was running at the end of it. He just had too much to do. I’m also thrilled that we have a Triple Crown in the making, so that’s really good for racing. I think we still may go after the Belmont because the distance is in his favor. This was a pretty good challenge for him and he did pretty well.”


Jockey Julian Pimentel (Kid Cruz, 8th): “We were really far back on the outside. It took so long to get going. When we started going, he got going pretty good down the lane, but it was just too late.”


Trainer Bob Baffert (Bayern, 9th): “I got a horrible trip. That was a horrible trip. He took a half-step and got bumped. (California Chrome) is something. He’s a cool customer. He does everything right. He’s fast enough to stay out of trouble. Victor rides him with so much confidence. He knows when he has to move into a spot. He has so much acceleration.”


Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Bayern, 9th): “It was very rough. The horses on either side of us sandwiched us so tight we were practically off the ground. We got into a decent position and he still made a run to the quarter pole.”

Trainer Tom Amoss (Ria Antonia, 10th): “Disappointed, but she looks good.”


Jockey Calvin Borel (Ria Antonia, 10th): “My horse ran OK today. We didn’t have any real trouble. She’s a nice horse, but she just didn’t have it in her today.”

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California Chrome owner Coburn: “The hospitality (Maryland has) shown us is top shelf”

Posted on 17 May 2014 by WNST Staff





THE MODERATOR:  We have Victor Espinoza, and we’ll have Steve Coburn and Art Sherman coming in as well.  Victor,  congratulations.  Well done.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Thank you, sir.


Q.  Did you start him earlier than in the past?  If so, is there any reason you did that?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I had to because the outside horse, he was pushing me.  He made me move at the half mile post.  I really don’t want to.  I want to wait as soon as possible.  I thought I was in a perfect position, and I just wanted to wait as long as I can.

But when the outside horse attacked me, and I had to just let it go, slowly.  I don’t want to make a strong move at that point.  But turning for home, he really got after me, and I had to just open it up at that point.


Q.  Does this feel different for you from winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown?  If so, how come?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It was tough today.  It was tough because this race was just a little complicated.  I bounced out of there running out of the gate, and I saw one horse and I was in the right (Indiscernible).  I saw somebody else come by the turn, and he just like trying to go with the other one.  And I had to just like go steady, steady and wait.  And all of those things, I had hope to make the right decision, let the horse clear me and sit in behind him, without even irritating California Chrome.  In a tenth of a second I had to make that decision, and hopefully the best.  After the other horse got cleared, so I sit 3rd and I thought it was perfect.  As soon as I think that, in a half mile, here he comes the other one.  They attacked me too soon.  There he goes.  Wow, this is crazy.  It was a big challenge for me.  I was telling somebody, I don’t even know who I was talking to, like this race it was more tiring mentally than physical because all of the things going on early in the race, wow, I didn’t expect that.


Q.  You said you wanted a second chance at the Triple Crown.  You have one now.  What does it mean to you?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It means a lot, and I’m ready.  I’m ready for it.  Hopefully California Chrome comes back good.  It’s tough, but I’m just glad to have my second chance in my career. In a million years I didn’t think I was going to have a second chance.  I was very close for once.  But it will work out.  Life goes on, and over a decade, here we go.  I’m here again.


Q.  Has this been the toughest race for you, and why?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  This Preakness was tough.  I’m telling you.  There are some horses, some fresh horses, and they attacked me very soon that I won.  And the way this race was set up, it was just kind of complicated.  I mean, I’m just glad that I don’t study the form, because it will work out the way the form looks.  The way you think the horses are going to go, everything is different.  But I never have a plan how I want to ride this horse.  Every race that he runs.  Many people ask me how are you going to ride him, and I wish I knew.  Some maybe thought that I’m not going to tell the truth, but it is the truth.  I go like a blind guy how I’m going to ride him.  I make my decisions during the race.

THE MODERATOR:  Art Sherman has joined us now, the trainer for California Chrome.  We have a question for both Victor and Art.


Q.  What did you learn from your first run at the Triple Crown in regards to the hype and all the things off the track that go with it?  What did you learn from that?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I learned a lot.  I think the first time I’d been there I was kind of like, you know some things I was not ready for.  Some things that I did that I shouldn’t have done, or some things that I had done that I’m just glad that I did.  But now I have a second chance, so I probably will enjoy myself a little bit better, and go day by day.  Because as long as California Chrome comes out good and is ready for the next step, I’ll be ready too.


Q.  Are you somewhat amazed this horse is able to respond to every challenge, and do you think he can do it again?

ART SHERMAN:  After watching him today, and coming back in two weeks which I never usually run a horse that quick back, and now I’ve got three weeks, a mile and a half, it’s quite a challenge.  I’ll tell you.  You have to have a very good horse to win these three races, and I’m hoping I’ve got one right now.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It’s not easy.  If it was easy a lot of horses would have won the Triple Crown, you know?  30‑something years, it’s just crazy.  It has to be a super horse to win that.  It’s so close to the races.  They lose so much energy.  Hopefully California Chrome comes back good, and he is the one who hopefully can do it.


Q.  Because the race is now a mile and a half, does it change how you train the horse?

ART SHERMAN:  Well, it will be because we’ve got a new surface.  I’ve got three weeks now.  He’ll probably just work an easy half a mile up to this race, and I can just play it by ear and see how fast he recovers and when I will work him back.  But he will work before that Belmont.


Q.  (Indiscernible)?

ART SHERMAN:  (No Audio) in my career.  A Triple Crown winner, if you had said that to me at the beginning of the year, I would have said, “Are you crazy?”  Now that I’m getting closer, I’m elated, really big time.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It would probably be something I’ve never dreamed in my life just to win the Triple Crown.  I don’t even know what to say right now.  I’m just having fun and enjoying the Preakness right now and waiting for the Kentucky Derby.  So I’ll think of that later when I get close to the race.


Q.  The question for Victor, is this a victory for the fans who have supported you so much?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Absolutely.  You know, they’ve got my support.  (No Audio) all the jockeys that have helped support me, every human being that’s helped me.


Q.  I wonder if you can walk us through your view of the race, and the level of confidence?

ART SHERMAN:  I didn’t see it really clear, to be honest with you.  I know I’ll get a chance to see it a lot better.  Everybody was standing up in front of me, and I had a camera point blank in my face, but I got a chance to see the board, you know what I mean?  I knew when I saw him break, I was very happy.  I knew going into the first turn Victor was in that position.  As a former rider, he had to make a decision.  So whether to go on or get in behind horses, he got a chance to move him out.  When I saw him at the half a mile pole having dead aim on the leaders, I said, now, Victor, we’re in the driver’s seat.


Q.  Art, can you describe your emotions when the race ended as compared to the Derby?  Was there the same elation or was there relief today because you won the second leg?

ART SHERMAN:  Well, every race to me, the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, you know, I’ve never won at million dollar races.  I was always kind of a claimant type of trainer.  Now I’m up there with all the big boys, and I’m saying, wow.  I said it’s just an honor being blessed to have a horse like him.


Q.  Victor, when you turned for home, did you have as much horse as you had in the past when you’ve made the move?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Yes, I had.  Oh, no, I had to move early today.  I had to start moving in the half‑mile pole, which is tough for a horse to start moving early and keep going all the way to the end.  It’s not easy.  And today, California Chrome proved he can move.  Even if he’s a little early, he still has it.  I don’t know how much still has, but I’ll make sure I get him to the wire first today.


Q.  Same feeling?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Same feeling.


Q.  I believe this is the sixth straight win for California Chrome.  What has been the number one ingredient for that winning streak right now?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I think the way I ride him.

ART SHERMAN:  I’ll drink to that.

THE MODERATOR:  We can probably end that right there  (Laughing).  Great answer though.


Q.  When will you be at the barn tomorrow so the media can talk to you tomorrow morning, and when are you thinking about taking the horse out of here?

ART SHERMAN:  I think he’ll probably have a couple of days here to unwind and just be a horse.  You know what I mean?  Even though it’s not that far a van drive, he needs to just ‑‑ he’s going to be tired in the morning.  I’m going to be there early like I always am.


ART SHERMAN:  Give him a little kiss for myself.  I tell you, he’s my superstar, I can tell you that.


Q.  So no plans etched in stone as to the time you’re going to take him out?  6:00 a.m. you’ll be there tomorrow?

ART SHERMAN:  He’s not going to be out.  He’ll be probably walking before you guys get there.


Q.  How is it dealing with all the outside distractions pulling at you both before the race and now after the race?

ART SHERMAN:  Well, I’m kind of getting used to it.  After I won the Kentucky Derby, I said, wow, all of a sudden I feel like Willie Nelson the old rock star coming through the airport.  So I’m getting kind of used to it.  Sometimes I need to take my little siesta for about an hour.  I call it just charging my battery a little bit, and then I’m okay.


Q.  How hard did you ride him today?  You were pretty easy on him at the stretch at Churchill.  How much did you have to dig into him today?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I had to a little bit more than Churchill.  The only reason because the race today was a little bit complicated.  The horse on the outside they attacked me very soon, early move at the half a mile pole.  So it’s way, way too much for him.  But I had to continue to go not really hard but more than the Kentucky Derby.

THE MODERATOR:  Victor, thank you.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Thank you all, and thank you for everything.

THE MODERATOR:  On behalf of the Maryland Jockey Club and all the fans, thank you for your class all week.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Thank you to all the guys around here and everybody from Pimlico.  They’re awesome.  Thank you all.

THE MODERATOR:  Steve, congratulations on behalf of the Maryland Jockey Club.  Congratulations on a spectacular performance.

STEVE COBURN:  Thank you very much.


Q.  You’ve always had a great feeling about this horse.  You keep predicting wins and he keeps winning for you.  What’s next?

STEVE COBURN:  The Triple Crown.  You know what?  I don’t mean to be bold or cocky or arrogant because I’ve said this.  I’ve said it a hundred times if I’ve said it once.  When I saw this colt, when I saw this baby when he was a day old, I told my wife, Carolyn, this horse is going to do something big.  I don’t know what it is, but we’re going to stay in the game to make sure this colt gets to be the best that he can be.  I’ve been a firm believer in that ever since, and he’s not proven me wrong.  This is a nice horse.  He loves people.  He loves what he does, and that’s why he’s America’s horse, because in my opinion, this horse, what he’s doing for two guys that work their butts off every day just to put beans and bacon on the table, this horse has given everybody else out there the incentive to say, you know what?

We can do it too.  We can do this also.  It may not be a race horse.  It may be the idea that they have in their head or a new product or whatever the case may be, but we just hope that this horse is letting America know that the little guy can win.  The little guy can do it, because this is the little guy here.  Have you ever seen him?  He’s only about that tall (laughing).

But honestly, folks, I don’t know how to explain how I feel within my heart and soul.  It’s hard for me because I get very emotional about it.  But I honestly believe this horse is America’s horse.  He’s giving everybody that little light bulb when it clicks on, say you know what?  We can do this.  We can do this with just a little bit more try.  We can do it.  I’ve always told my wife, I said when I die, on my headstone put my name and say a man that loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and he always had try, period.


Q.  Can you imagine the kind of reception you’re going to get when you get to New York?

ART SHERMAN:  All I know is my wife already bugged me she wanted to go see a play downtown, so I know I’m in trouble right away.

STEVE COBURN:  So your wife’s been talking to my wife, right?

ART SHERMAN:  That’s right.


Q.  Steve, how about you?

STEVE COBURN:  I’ve never been to Kentucky.  It was always on our bucket list to go there.  Not necessarily for the Kentucky Derby, but just to go to Churchill Downs.  We went to Kentucky as the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, and we did.  We came to Maryland with the favorite to win the Preakness, and we did.  I think I’m going incognito to New York.  I’m going to go buy me some dreadlocks, and some Billy Bob Ts, and I’m sliding in the back door (laughing).

But you know what?  Dave Picker from NBC Sports, he told me, when you get there, you call me and we’ll show you a good time.  So, Dave, you know you’re on the hook right now.


Q.  Can you get some dreadlocks for Art?

STEVE COBURN:  They’re on the way.


Q.  Can you take us through your emotions watching the race?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, honestly, when he broke good, and he held his line, I had so many cameras in my face, I didn’t even get to see the race.  Carolyn says he’s in the lead.  I said where is he.  She said he’s in the lead.  He’s going to win the race, and then I saw him, I said he’s winning the damn race (laughing).  I had so many cameras in my face that I actually couldn’t see the race.

But you know what?  Ladies and gentlemen of this wonderful, wonderful state, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you’ve done for us.  We’re just everyday people.  We go to work every day.  What you’ve done for us, I cannot express how much I appreciate it.

I looked in the mirror this morning, and I thought I had me like a royal birthmark on my butt.  But I didn’t, because you people have been treating me like I’m royalty here.  So thank you, Maryland.  Thank you so much.


Q.  As crazy as it sounds, can you look back now and think that turning down the $6 million was a good decision?

ART SHERMAN:  Actually, he knew more than I did, and now the horse is worth $30 million.

STEVE COBURN:  That’s my boy.


Q.  So the answer is an emphatic yes?

ART SHERMAN:  A big yes.


Q.  In retrospect now, the $30 million you talked about winning the Triple Crown tonight ‑‑ the deal you turned down for $30 million, $6 million, whatever it was, was it the best business deal you didn’t make?

STEVE COBURN:  Not only yes, but hell yes.  No, honestly, we were here yesterday, and the man I said not only no, I said hell no.  And he shook my hand and I said I respect what you did.  So that tells me this man actually believed in us because we knew we had a good horse.  This horse wouldn’t be who he is today without the trainer, Art Sherman.  The exercise rider, Willie, and Raul, because Raul sleeps with this horse more than he sleeps with his wife.

So, Raul, thank you.  I love you.  You’re doing a great job.  Art, you have a lot of competition in front of you.  So when you see Raul, you tell him I said thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I’ll see him in the morning, actually.

But, yeah, it is what it is.  I can’t explain it.  But we’re not Dumbass Partners.  We’re Dumbass Partners family right now, and we’re sharing this with the world.  We just want everybody to know that thank you, thank you so much for just believing in us and in this horse because he is a very special horse.


Q.  You keep talking about going to work every day.  At what point do you quit your job and live off the income?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, I’m only 61, so I’ve got at least four more years to work, and I will show up every day because I cannot do this to my family, which is the people that I work with.  I could not walk away from them simply because I don’t want to put them in a bind.  I could do it, but I’m not going to do it because that’s not the type of person I am.  I am me.  I get up.  I go to work every day.  For somebody that has been fortunate enough as I have to have this happen to them, I can understand that they want to just get out the door and say, I’m done.  I can’t do this because I cannot put my company in that situation.  Because I work.  I work.  I love my job, and I work.         So I’ll be there until I’m able to retire.  Try to get me some social security.  Right now I can’t get it.  I’m only 61.  Now my wife retired, thank goodness.  I never knew I had so many underwear.  She had been washing my drawers for a long time.  I’ve got a lot of clean drawers.  Okay, all right, honey, we’re done.


Q.  In all seriousness, can this horse win the Triple Crown?

ART SHERMAN:  I tell you, I wouldn’t want to be in anybody else’s shoes right now.  I think the horse is a phenomenal horse.  I know right now we’re running on a high.  But I think when we get to Belmont this horse is going to run big.  I really do.


Q.  Why is Mr. Martin not here?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, all I can say is my partner, Perry Martin, is a very private person.  And Perry, I hope you’re listening to this because, you know what?  We love you, and we really wanted you to be here.  But I can understand why he’s not here.  The hospitality we received at Churchill Downs wasn’t very good, and Perry Martin, he decided that he and his family were going to watch the race some place within the world ‑‑ I can’t tell you where it’s at because I don’t even know where in the hell it’s at ‑‑ and then go have a good supper.

So, Perry, I hope I did you proud, because you saw me crying on camera.


Q.  There is a question in regards to the Churchill Downs comment you made to NBC?  You said Churchill Downs could take a lesson from the Maryland Jockey Club.


STEVE COBURN:  Yes, and I’m serious about this.  I’m serious as a heart attack.  Because you know what?  We got to Churchill and not only did I complain, but there were other trainers and owners and even the jockeys were complaining about the way they were treated.  I’ve said this once, I’ve said it 50 times, Churchill Downs needs to call Maryland to get a lesson in hospitality.  Because these people right here, they’ve treated us like we’re royalty, and I can’t say thank you enough.

We’ve got a gentleman out here, his name’s John.  That’s our driver.  John, say hi to the folks.  There is John.  He’s saying hi to the folks.  But you know what?  We’re not royalty.  We don’t expect to be treated like royalty, but the hospitality that these folks in Maryland have shown us is top shelf.  I’m talking above top shelf liquor.  I’m talking top shelf.

So, thank you, Maryland.  Thank you for everything you’ve done for us, and hopefully we’ll be back next year for the Black‑Eyed Susan, because California Chrome has a foal sis.


Q.  Do you think Perry will be able to make the Belmont?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, you know what?  I know a lot of people that can throw a good loop, and we’ll drag his butt to Belmont if he doesn’t want to show up on his own, so I’m hoping he will.  I really am.  Because he needs to be ‑‑ he’s missing out on a lot of fun.  He really, really is.  I know how him and Denise are, and I’ll talk to him.  I can’t guarantee nothing, but I’ll talk to him.


Q.  Do you think he missed out here for not being here?

STEVE COBURN:  You know what?  I can’t answer that for him.  All I can say is Perry, you’re missing a hell of a party, buddy.  You really are.


Q.  Did you talk to Perry right after the race?  If so, what did he say?

STEVE COBURN:  I have not talked to Perry yet.  My phone’s turned off, but I’m sure that when I turn it back on, there are going to be a lot of buzzes coming on that thing.  Perry and I, we talk a lot.  It’s back and forth.  It’s like, hey, partner, how you doing?  Fine.  How you doing?  It’s very casual.  We have a great relationship with Perry and Denise.  When we get together, my wife Carolyn and I, and Perry and Denise, it’s us.  I don’t know what else to tell you.  But Perry, we need to go to New York, New York, New York.


Q.  Is it fair to say that Perry isn’t here because of the way he was treated at Churchill?

STEVE COBURN:  You know what?  I can’t answer that for him, but I think it had a lot to do with it.  Because he had his mother who is 84 years old, trying to get everything done for her so she could be in the winner’s circle and so on and so forth.  There were people doing what they could to help us, but apparently they didn’t do quite enough.  But I can’t answer that for Perry.  I honestly believe that it was a bad, bad day at Churchill.  Even though we won, it was a bad day for my partner and his family.


Q.  How much does this sport need a Triple Crown winner?

STEVE COBURN:  This sport of horse racing ‑‑ okay, let me back up here a little bit.  We went on the number system as far as not money, based on points, right?  And in my opinion, in my opinion there are trainers out there that train horses just to upset the apple cart.  I honestly believe that there are a lot of good horses running out there, and 19 of them started in the Kentucky Derby.  I honestly believe that they need to change this sport to where those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby are the only 20 eligible to run in all three races.  If you bow out in the Preakness, you don’t come back for the Belmont.

I honestly believe that if the Triple Crown is not won this year by California Chrome, I will never see it in my lifetime because there are people out there trying to upset the apple cart.  They don’t want a Triple Crown winner.  They want a paycheck.  So that’s my honest opinion.  If they don’t like it, I don’t care.  But that’s my opinion.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, folks.

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California Chrome trainer Sherman says throat issue “not a big deal” on Preakness eve

Posted on 16 May 2014 by WNST Staff


CALIFORNIA CHROME – The connections of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome said again Friday morning that their colt is healthy and ready to compete in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.

California Chrome coughed after training Thursday morning and he was examined by trainer Art Sherman’s veterinarian, who discovered that the colt had a small blister in his throat. The homebred colt owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin had a similar blister prior to his victory in the Derby.

Alexis Garske, a spokeswoman for Sherman Racing, said that when the blister – described as a common, minor irritation – was found in Kentucky after the Derby, blood tests were done and the colt’s airway was scoped. Those examinations showed that the colt was fine and able to continue training. Garske said Friday that California Chrome was not scoped and did not have his blood tested in Maryland this week.

California Chrome is being treated with a glycerin throat wash.

“California Chrome is fine. His throat is fine. He had a little tickle,” said Sherman’s son and assistant trainer, Alan Sherman. “He is not scratching from the Preakness. He is fine. I don’t know why it was blown out of proportion.”

Art Sherman said the blister is a routine matter and not a cause for concern.

“Sometimes they get a little scratchy,” Art Sherman said. “It’s not a big deal, as long as their blood comes back good and they eat up everything. It’s just something that horses do have. If you scope a lot of horses after a race you’re going to see all kind of little stuff going on. None of them are really perfect. Going a mile and a quarter, if you scope them afterward, you’ll see dirt down their throats. It’s just imperative when you race horses.”

California Chrome went to the track shortly after 6 a.m. Friday and galloped two miles in the rain under exercise rider Willie Delgado. The exercise was moved ahead by approximately 30 minutes because a heavy round of showers was expected to arrive later in the hour.

“I thought he looked good,” Art Sherman said.

The Shermans have enjoyed their time at Pimlico while meeting the connections of other Preakness runners.

“It’s been fun and we’re trying to be relaxed into this race,” Art Sherman said. “When you run a 3-5 shot, you’ve got a lot more pressure on you knowing you’re going to be the favorite, but I think we can handle it.”

Sherman said that it is up to jockey Victor Espinoza to decide what strategy to use in the Preakness.

“You’ve got to see how the race is going to play out,” Sherman said. “I wish I had a future book to look at and see how this is going to be, but I’ve been around for a long time and I just go one race at a time. I can’t give instructions to Victor; he’s been around there. Anyone that gives instructions to these kind of jocks are kidding themselves. That’s why they are earning the big bucks and they are very talented riders.”


BAYERN – Assistant trainer Jim Barnes sent Kaleem Shah’s Bayern out to the track for a 1 1/2 mile gallop in the rain Fridaymorning at Pimlico.


Barnes said the Offlee Wild colt was fine and ready for the Preakness.


Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert ran Bayern in the Derby Trial on April 26 at Churchill Downs rather than wait five days to see if he would have enough points to get into the field for the Kentucky Derby. Bayern finished first in the Trial but was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch. He worked twice at Churchill Downs before shipping to Pimlicoon Wednesday.


Rosie Napravnik, who rode Bayern in the Derby Trial, will be aboard in the Preakness.


DYNAMIC IMPACT – John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact galloped 1 ½ miles in a driving rain at Pimlico Friday morning, going to the track at 7:30 with exercise rider Wayne Brown up.


“We are not used to training in this kind of weather at Woodbine; we try to avoid it,” said trainer Mark Casse, who arrived from Ocala, Fla. Thursday night. “But it looked like he went well over it.”


Dynamic Impact, riding a two-race win streak that includes a victory in the Illinois Derby (G3), will break from post No. 1 and be ridden by Miguel Mena.


Casse, who is set to saddle his first Preakness starter, was asked what he would like to see unfold for Dynamic Impact on Saturday afternoon.


“I think there is a lot of speed in there,” said Casse, who reported that Dynamic Impact would not go to the track Saturdaymorning. “Of course, a lot of times you think that way and it does not materialize, but I think that will happen. I hope he is able to sit right behind the speed.


“Things have to go our way and he has to save ground and then move out at some point. We will be closely watching the earlier races, and there could be some last-minute changes in our strategy.”


GENERAL A ROD – Skychai Racing and Starlight Racing’s General a Rod was out on the Pimlico track shortly after 6 a.m. Friday for a 1 1/8-mile gallop under exercise rider Joel Barrientos.


Trainer Mike Maker said Friday’s rainy weather didn’t seem to have any effect on General a Rod, who had trained on wet tracks before, although all six of his starts have come on fast tracks.


“Everything’s good, we’re all set,” Maker said. “He’s got a great attitude. He never gets nervous about anything.”


General a Rod will be making his fifth start of the year, his lone victory coming in the ungraded Gulfstream Park Derby. He was second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and third in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream before finishing a troubled 11th in the Kentucky Derby.


“His resume speaks for itself,” said Maker, who is saddling his first Preakness runner. “He’s run well with good horses in Florida. He’s a big, imposing horse. He just needs to run his race.”


Maker has plenty of respect for the Derby winner, but firmly believes his colt is in the upper echelon of his generation at this point. As for the Preakness, he’s optimistic.


“It’s just like every other race,” he said. “You need a good trip, a good set-up and to have everything go your way. Obviously, (California Chrome) is head and shoulders above everybody so far. He’s proved it, and every race, he’s continued to do so.”


Javier Castellano, who last was aboard General a Rod in his photo-finish defeat in the Fountain of Youth, returns to ride him in the Preakness.


KID CRUZ – Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable’s Kid Cruz, rated at 20-1 in the morning line for Saturday’s Preakness, went out to the track early Friday morning for a 1 1/8-mile gallop over a sloppy Pimlico strip with exercise rider Reul Munoz in the irons.


Trainer Linda Rice, bidding to become the first female trainer to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, realizes that making his graded-stakes debut in the Preakness will be an uphill battle for the son of Lemon Drop Kid.


“I’ve been racing horses for quite a few years, but I typically don’t like to go places that I don’t have a chance,” the New York-based trainer said. “I’ve never been here for this. I know he won’t be short odds, but I still think he deserves a shot.”


Kid Cruz won the Federico Tesio Stakes over the Pimlico track on April 19 after scoring in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel.


“I’m not so sure Pimlico is the same when they ran the Tesio as it will be on Preakness Day,” Rice said. “There’s the big crowd, a lot of noise. It’s much different, but he certainly ran well over the track. In some ways I think this is more of a speed-favoring track, but because they usually go hard and fast early, I’m hoping that’s the case.”


Kid Cruz, a $50,000 claim by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds after a November maiden win at Aqueduct, is a late runner whose speed figures may not stack up with some of the other Preakness contenders, particularly California Chrome, as Rice readily acknowledges.


“He looks slow (numbers-wise),” Rice said. “I think the Belmont (Stakes) is really his best option to beat these kinds of horses. I’m aware of that. We just need him to move forward here. We’re still going to try hard on Saturday.”


Julian Pimentel, who has been aboard for Kid Cruz’s two recent victories, has the return mount for the Preakness.


PABLO DEL MONTE – Blake Heap, the longtime assistant to trainer Wesley Ward, decided not to send Pablo Del Monteout to the track in the heavy rain Friday morning.


“We just tack-walked him around the shedrow in here and jogged a little bit in here,” Heap said. “He’s ready and I didn’t think that one day of jogging on the track was going to make a big difference. He’s ready and everything is perfect.”


Heap said the speedy Giant’s Causeway colt does not have to lead from gate to wire to be successful in the Preakness.


“He’s probably got to get a good break,” Heap said. “He’s got speed and he’s on the outside, but he can’t get into a real speed duel. If he could be in front that would be nice, but if he could just relax and be second or third on the outside, he might do that. Things just have to go that way and other people have got to have bad trips. Things have to go your way to win.”


RIA ANTONIA – Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Maurice Sanchez at 6:30 Friday morning in a driving rain at Pimlico.


Trainer Tom Amoss watched the morning activity on a video while overseeing his main string at Churchill Downs.


“I liked the way she went. She looked good, but then she looked good before the Kentucky Oaks (G1), too,” Amoss said of the sixth-place Oaks finisher who joined his barn three days after the May 2 race.


Ria Antonia will be ridden Saturday by Calvin Borel, who was aboard her for the first time on Sunday for a half-mile work in :47 3/5 at Churchill Downs. She will break from post No. 6.


Amoss, who will arrive in Baltimore Friday afternoon, was asked how he would like to see the race unfold for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner.


“I would like to see a lively pace, a contested pace, involving the contenders,” said Amoss, who saddled Mylute to a third-place finish behind Oxbow in last year’s Preakness.  “She needs to be in a good striking position and we need to see her run her peak race.”


In addition to Mylute, Amoss has had one other Preakness starter, Hot Wells, who finished fourth behind Real Quiet in 1998.


RIDE ON CURLIN – Trainer “Bronco Billy” Gowan sent Ride On Curlin to the track for a mile gallop under exercise rider Bryan Beccia on Pimlico’s sloppy main track Friday morning.


“If he ran over this stuff tomorrow, he’d love it,” Gowan said of his first Preakness starter. “I think he’d run over anything – wet, grass, anything… I really do.”


Gowan insists that his horse has yet to show his real ability following a troubled trip in which he still managed to finish seventh in the Kentucky Derby under Calvin Borel.


“We just have to get a good trip,” Gowan said. “I think he’s a good horse. I think that’s all we need. And if (California) Chrome stubs his toe a little bit… well that would help. He’s (California Chrome) an awful good horse. I’d like to hook him at the top of the stretch and see what we’ve got, you know? I’d like to see them fast up front and me laying off them a little bit.”


Gowan’s son of Curlin, a $25,000 Keeneland purchase in 2012 by Daniel Dougherty, hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since taking an allowance race at Oaklawn five starts back. His second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) has been his most impressive outing and he’s one of only three horses returning from the Kentucky Derby for the Middle Jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.


“There’s only one chance to run in the Preakness,” Gowan said. “The Derby didn’t take much out of him. He’s given me all the signs he wants to run. I don’t think it’s that big a deal, coming back in two weeks. It seems like he’s getting stronger all the time. He hasn’t lost any weight and he’s getting stronger and tougher all the time. I was pretty confident in the last race. I feel the same here.”


Ride On Curlin is Dougherty’s only runner in training. He has a pair of 2-year-olds in training in Kentucky with Gowan.


“He was a little crooked-legged,” Gowan said when asked how he managed to find a son of Curlin out of a Storm Cat mare (Magical Ride) for such a bargain price. “He was a little off-set in his knees, but he had a serious pedigree. I bought him in September and we had him at my house for six weeks, then we sent him down to Florida and started (training) him. Hey, sometimes you see million-dollar horses that can’t get out of their own way.”


RING WEEKEND – St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’  Ring Weekend galloped a mile after visiting the starting gate at Pimlico Race Course Friday morning. It was the first activity on the Pimlico track for the Graham Motion-trained colt, who did the bulk of his training for the Preakness at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. before shipping on Thursday.


“Everything went well,” assistant trainer and exercise rider Alice Clapham said.


Alan Garcia has the mount on the gelded son of Tapit, who captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) before finishing second in the Calder Derby.


“I’m going to leave everything up to Alan, because I think I interfered with him for the Calder Derby,” said Motion, offering that he may have ‘over-instructed’ Garcia. “I’m going to leave it up to him and let him see how the race sets up and let the horse run his race.”


SOCIAL INCLUSION – Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Domingo Navarro at Pimlico Friday morning.


“He liked the rain. He trains in rain all the time in Florida,” said Ron Sanchez of Rontos Racing. “He looks great.”


Social Inclusion has shown brilliant speed in his three lifetime starts. The son of Pioneerof the Nile launched his career during the winter at Gulfstream Park with a pair of easy front-running triumphs, including a track-record performance at 1 1/16 miles in an open allowance. After breaking a step slowly from his outside post in the Wood Memorial, the Manny Azpurua-trained colt raced wide around the first turn before setting a strong pace into deep stretch and faltering to third late.


Although Social Inclusion is generally regarded as a speed horse, Sanchez expects the Kentucky-bred colt to be a late factor, as well, in the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.


“I want him to have the lead at the three-quarters – breaking well, going to the turn first or second and at the three-quarters, there he goes,” Sanchez said. “He’s going to finish. In the Wood, the track didn’t help him. This time the track is going to help us.”


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

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Pletcher trained Stopchargingmaria claims Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

Posted on 16 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Stopchargingmaria Charges to Victory in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes


BALTIMORE, 05-16-14 – Repole Stable’s Stopchargingmaria took the overland route and narrowly won the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) in dramatic fashion Friday at Pimlico Race Course. The Black-Eyed Susan is restricted to 3-year fillies and is contested at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.


Sent from the gate by Javier Castellano, the Todd Pletcher-trained Stopchargingmaria saved ground around the first turn before being taken to the outside. Asked for run around the far turn, the daughter of Tale of the Cat hooked Vero Amore at the top of the stretch but only gained the lead a few jumps from the finish line, winning by a neck in 1:51.79 over a track rated good. Fortune Pearl finished third.


The Black-Eyed Susan win was the fourth for Pletcher, having saddled Spun Sugar (2005), Panty Raid (2007) and In Lingerie (2012) for victories in the race.


Stopchargingmaria, who paid $9.60, has won three stakes in eight lifetime starts, including the Temped (G3) and the Demoiselle (G2).



Winning Trainer Todd Pletcher (Stopchargingmaria): “It was a terrific performance. We actually got shuffled back a little bit going to the first turn. We were hoping to be a little closer. Javier was able to move her to the outside and get a good position, and she really picked it up. Once she got to the outside on the far turn, she started to make her move and she was rolling. This was certainly her best race. To be honest, I’m not really sure why her first two races this year didn’t go as well as last year. It took her a little while after the Fantasy (April 5 at Oaklawn) to get back. After the Fantasy we took her up to Saratoga and the cool weather seemed to invigorate her. Today she acted like she was back to her old self. I like this race; I think it’s my fourth Black Eyed Susan.”


Winning Jockey Javier Castellano (Stopchargingmaria): “It set up perfectly for us and I had a beautiful trip. We took a look at the race beforehand. We figured there’d be a lot of speed and I just wanted to put her in a good position. We saved ground going into the first turn and after that it was a matter of keeping her in the clear. I had ridden her before at Saratoga on an off track, and she had no problems with it today at all. At the top of the stretch, I was pretty confident.”


Trainer Robert Reid Jr. (Vero Amore, 2nd): “I can’t believe she is still not a stakes winner. She’s so game, this filly. What she lacks in size and maybe pedigree, she makes up in trying. I saw her give them the slip a little at the top of the stretch. I’ve got to give the winner a lot of credit. She ran really game. They were both really trying all the way to the wire.”


Jockey Frank Pennington (Vero Amore, 2nd): “I thought I had it coming off the turn and we’d kick on. I thought we were going to keep on going, then the horse came alongside of me and we just got beat. She gave me everything she could. I’m very proud of her.”


Trainer Graham Motion (Fortune Pearl, 3rd): “I was pleased with her race. She was coming off short rest. She won very impressively last time, and she showed today that it wasn’t a fluke.”


Jockey Trevor McCarthy (Fortune Pearl, 3rd): “I had a great trip. She was forwardly placed today and she really kicked in around the turn. We got pushed out a little bit early, but once she got clear, she really responded.”

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Throat irritation no issue for California Chrome heading into Preakness

Posted on 15 May 2014 by WNST Staff



CALIFORNIA CHROME – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome is being treated for the recurrence of a minor throat irritation that his connections say will not affect his preparation for the 139th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course Saturday.

Alan Sherman, assistant to his father, trainer Art Sherman, said that the colt has a small throat blister that is being treated with a glycerin throat wash. The blister was discovered during a thorough examination after California Chrome coughedThursday morning.

“He’s fine,” Alan Sherman said. “He had it going into the Derby and it went away. After he ran in there, it came back a little bit, but it’s not a big deal at all.”

After the colt coughed, blood work was done and he was scoped. Nothing but the blister was found. Alan Sherman said a throat blister is fairly common.

“I don’t know how they get them, but a lot of horses get them,” Sherman said, comparing it to an itchy throat for a human.

When questions arose about the status of the colt’s health,

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