Preakness Contenders Continue Preps
Preakness contenders continue preparations
Team Valor International's ANIMAL KINGDOM (Leroidesanimaux [Brz]) colt got a chance to look around his new home at Fair Hill when visiting the track Wednesday, and trainer Graham Motion said several media members visited the training center to watch the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner get in some exercise on a sunny morning. Motion welcomed the visitors at the midpoint of what has been one of the busiest weeks of his life.
"Today has been a nice day. I'm trying to get back to normal," Motion said. "Well, some semblance of normalcy."
Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton's ASTROLOGY (A.P. Indy) walked the shedrow at trainer Steve Asmussen's barn at Churchill Downs for a second day after working six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 in company on Monday.
Bolton told Pimlico officials that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will ride Astrology. This will be the 13th Preakness mount for Smith, who won aboard Prairie Bayou in 1993 and has four other on-the-board finishes, including a third with Jackson Bend last year and a second with Mine That Bird in 2009.
Zayat Stables' NEHRO (Mineshaft), runner-up to Animal Kingdom in Kentucky Derby 137, returned to the track for the first time since the Run for the Roses, galloping a mile early Wednesday morning at Churchill under Carlos Rosas. His connections have mentioned the June 11 Belmont S. (G1) as a more likely target than the Preakness.
Magdalena Racing's CASPER'S TOUCH (Touch Gold) colt is under consideration for the Preakness. The Kenny McPeek-trained colt exits a third in the April 23 Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland.
Federico Tesio winner CONCEALED IDENTITY (Smarty Jones) had a "nice easy gallop" the wrong way at the Bowie Training Center on Wednesday, reports trainer Eddie Gaudet. A two-time stakes winner, the Maryland-bred colt is co-owned by the trainer's wife, Linda, and Morris Bailey .
Gaudet hasn't settled on his training schedule for next week.
" I will either do an easy five-eighths five days before the race or blow him out the day before," he said.
Concealed Identity currently ranks 16th on the earnings list to determine the 14 starters and Gaudet indicated he will not run if the field is full.
Arkansas Derby (G1) third DANCE CITY (City Zip) galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Obed Perez before the morning renovation break over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
Owned by the Estate of Edward P. Evans, the Todd Pletcher trainee, who worked five furlongs at Churchill last Sunday, is scheduled to have his final work for the Preakness this Sunday before heading to Maryland next Wednesday.
Pletcher has enlisted the services of Ramon Dominguez to partner Dance City in the Preakness. Dominguez, who has not ridden Dance City previously, has had Preakness mounts in eight of the last 10 years, including second-place finishes aboard First Dude (2010) and Scrappy T. (2005).
Dialed In is eligible to make a late impact with a faster pace at Pimlico (Adam Coglianese Photo)
Robert LaPenta's DIALED IN (Mineshaft), eighth as the 5-1 Kentucky Derby favorite, returned to the track at Churchill Downs at 7 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday and jogged once around the track under exercise rider Carlos Correa while accompanied by a pony.
"The horse looks good," Zito said. "He came out of the race in good shape. We are looking forward to another trip to the Preakness."
Dialed In is in position to earn the biggest payday in North American racing history. His victories in the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, owned by MI Development, made him eligible for the Preakness 5.5 bonus. If he finishes first in the Preakness, he will collect the $600,000 winner's share of the $1 million purse as well as a $5 million bonus for his owner Robert LaPenta, and $500,000 for Zito, a total of $6.1 million.
"LaPenta's certainly thinking about it, he pays the bills," Zito joked. "My staff and the feed guys are excited. There are a lot of people rooting for us next Saturday."
Peachtree Stable's FLASHPOINT (Pomeroy) won the Hutcheson (G2) in his second career start and finished fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) most recently.
The speedy colt was transferred from Richard Dutrow to Wesley Ward in April, and Ward has been impressed by the new member of his stable.
"He looks fantastic and is doing great," Ward said. "He hasn't taken a bad step. He hasn't missed an oat. He's done everything I've asked of him, if not more, in the mornings. I'm looking forward to the race and am excited about it."
Ward said that the colt's regular rider, Cornelio Velasquez, has the mount for the Preakness.
Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal has told Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) officials that his two New York-based colts, HARLAN'S HELLO (Harlan's Holiday) and ISN'T HE PERFECT (Pleasantly Perfect), are possible for the Preakness. Both will need defections to make the field by next Wednesday's entry stage.
KING CONGIE (Badge of Silver) galloped a mile and a quarter Wednesday morning at Belmont Park, according to trainer Tom Albertrani. The West Point Thoroughbred's colt breezed five furlongs in 1:01 on Monday.
Jockey Robby Albarado will ride King Congie in the Preakness.
Arnold Zetcher's MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE (War Chant), 16th in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the track at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning for a light gallop under Peter Hutton, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert who is in California.
"It was lighter than usual," Hutton said. "We just back-tracked to the frontside and then galloped from the wire to the five-eighths pole."
Baffert is expected to make a decision on Midnight Interlude's Preakness status on Monday.
MR. COMMONS (Artie Schiller) was confirmed for the Preakness earlier this week. Trained by John Shirreffs, the colt exits a third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), his first try in a graded stakes.
Trainer Kathy Ritvo said the Kentucky Derby third-placer MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno) remains on course toward a possible run in the Preakness.
"He's doing good, very good," Ritvo said. "He went to the track and trained and came back good."
Ritvo said the colt jogged and then galloped over the training track at Belmont Park.
"He's feeling pretty good so we had to let him train a little bit," Ritvo said. "He came out of the Derby super."
Thomas McClay and Harry Nye's NORMAN ASBJORNSON (Real Quiet) galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Tara Lewis Wednesday at the Bowie training center.
Trainer Chris Grove said that Norman Asbjornson will breeze five furlongs at Pimlico Friday morning after the renovation break. He breezed a mile in 1:40 at Pimlico on Friday.
"It will be another work over the track, possibly to put more speed back into him," Grove said. "It is not like they are going to go 1:09 next Saturday, but I want to put some speed back into him to get him fired up and ready to go.
"We have Friday to get through before we get really excited. It looks like we are in the field. He looks great and I couldn't ask for him to be doing any better. We have to worry about the gate because he can be difficult, but with some racing luck it could be a big weekend."
Julian Pimentel will ride in the Preakness.
Trainer Kelly Breen said he would talk with owner George Hall about whether to run RULER ON ICE ((Roman Ruler) in the Preakness. Second as the favorite in Saturday's Federico Tesio S. and third in the Sunland Derby (G3) two back, the gelding has a 2-2-1 record in six career starts.
SANTIVA (Giant's Causeway) jogged once around the track at Churchill Downs shortly after it opened at 6 a.m. with Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally up.
"We just jogged a turn this morning," Walsh said of Santiva, who ran sixth in the Kentucky Derby for owner Tom Walters. "He came out of the race great, but I don't know what they are doing with regard to the Preakness. We'll probably have an idea by the end of the week."
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas contacted MJC stakes coordinator Coley Blind this week and said SARATOGA RED (Eddington) still remains under consideration for the Preakness. A debut maiden winner on February 24, the chestnut colt has since recorded three consecutive unplaced finishes, including a sixth in a Churchill Downs allowance last Saturday.
Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge's SHACKLEFORD (Forestry) jogged two miles at Churchill Downs shortly after 9:30 Wednesday morning with exercise rider Faustino Ramos up.
Fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Shackleford is eligible for a $550,000 consolation bonus in the Preakness 5.5 should he win the Preakness.
"Really? I had no idea," trainer Dale Romans said of the bonus that Shackleford is eligible for because he participated in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and ran second in the Florida Derby (G1).
"So, how'd he look," Romans asked an on-looker as Shackleford jogged past.
"Like $500,000," the observer said.
"I think so, too," Romans said.
Dialed In, by virtue of victories in the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby, is eligible for a $5.5 million bonus with a Preakness victory. Two horses in addition to Shackleford, would have been eligible for the consolation bonus: Comma to the Top (Bwana Charlie) and To Honor and Serve (Bernardini).
Comma to the Top, who suffered a bone chip in an ankle in the Kentucky Derby, was eligible because he had run in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) and the San Felipe (G2) and finished second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). To Honor and Serve, who is sidelined because of a strained suspensory ligament in his left front, had run third in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.
Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al's SWAY AWAY (Afleet Alex), sitting on the Preakness bubble with $111,000 in graded stakes earnings and $126,600 in total earnings, galloped a mile and half at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Keith Davis before the morning renovation break.
Trained by Jeff Bonde, Sway Away was left out of Kentucky Derby 137 because of insufficient graded stakes earnings, a total that left him 21st among the entrants in a field limited to 20.
Instead of running for the roses Saturday, Sway Away worked for the Preakness with a six-furlong move in 1:11 3/5. Miguel Carranza, assistant to Bonde, said the bay colt would work Saturday or Sunday, depending on weather.
Garrett Gomez is scheduled to ride Sway Away in the Preakness.
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