Friday's Preakness Report


Schoolyard Dreams drills at Monmouth for Preakness

Multiple Grade 3-placed SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Stephen Got Even), who finished ahead of Super Saver (Maria's Mon) when second in the March 13 Tampa Bay Derby (G3), worked Thursday morning for his next engagement against the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, drilling five furlongs in a bullet :59 3/5 at Monmouth Park in advance of the May 15 Preakness (G1).

With jockey Eibar Coa in the irons, the bay colt recorded the fastest of 12 works at the distance over the fast track and left trainer Derek Ryan brimming with confidence heading into the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

"The work went perfect," said Ryan, who finished third in the 2009 Preakness with Musket Man (Yonaguska). "Finally got something to go right. If we could only get a race to go like this.

"I'm coming there to win it. I don't want to be second or third again. That horse (Musket Man) should have won last year. If he didn't get kicked at the three-eighths pole, the most important part of the race, I would have been two or three (lengths) behind Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro) turning for home. We were 12 behind. He did his trademark run, but we were beaten a length and a half."

Ryan will ship into Pimlico the day before the Preakness with Schoolyard Dreams, who exits a fourth in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct. Ponzi Scheme (Sunday Break [Jpn]), who will run in the James Murphy S. on the Preakness undercard, and Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) starter C C's Pal (Alex's Pal) will accompany their stablemate.

Champion and Kentucky Derby favorite LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) and stablemate CONVEYANCE (Indian Charlie) were back on the track Thursday morning for the first time since last Saturday's "Run for the Roses." Both colts galloped 1 1/2 miles after the renovation break at Churchill Downs under Peter Hutton.

"He looks good," trainer Bob Baffert said of Lookin at Lucky, who finished sixth as the tepid 6-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby. "He's got a swagger to him. He (Conveyance) looked nice out there, but there is still a long way to go. They both looked good."

Throughout the week, Baffert had called Preakness participation for both colts a "50-50" proposition. That changed a tiny bit Thursday morning.

"He's 51," Baffert said of Lookin at Lucky. "This one (Conveyance) is 50."

Baffert told Pimlico officials a decision on Lookin at Lucky and speedy Conveyance, who finished 15th at Churchill, would be made Monday.

Also returning to the track for the first time since Saturday's Derby was Grade 1 victor DUBLIN (Afleet Alex), who jogged a mile shortly after 6 a.m. (EDT) under exercise rider Arielle Witkowski.

"He's doing excellent; sharp as a tack," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. "You'd never know he ran."

Dublin, who ran seventh in the Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to van to Pimlico on Tuesday where he will attempt to give Lukas a sixth Preakness victory. Northern Giant (Giant's Causeway) is also set to be on that trip, and Lukas' runners will be the first to settle in the Preakness stakes barn.

One day after trainer Nick Zito ruled Kentucky Derby runner-up ICE BOX (Pulpit) out of Preakness consideration, another of the conditioner's Derby runners hit the track. JACKSON BEND (Hear No Evil), who finished 12th in last Saturday's Run for the Roses, galloped 1 1/4 miles early Thursday morning under the Twin Spires. The Hall of Fame trainer indicated a decision regarding Jackson Bend's Preakness status would be made Monday.

"I may blow him out Monday, I don't know," Zito said. "He's doing good."

Jackson Bend's Derby finish marked the first time in 10 starts the colt had not finished first or second.

"Mike Smith told me right after the race he wanted to ride him back," Zito said. "Give him another chance."

Stakes winner A LITTLE WARM (Stormin Fever) galloped at Delaware Park Thursday morning, according to trainer Tony Dutrow. The Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up will work either Sunday or Monday. John Velazquez will have the Preakness mount.

"We are on schedule to come," Dutrow said. "Everything is fine."

In other Preakness news:

Noble's Promise (inside) just missed by a head to Lookin at Lucky in the Rebel (Will Kenser/Coady Photography)

Grade 1 winner NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee) returned to the track at Keeneland after spending a few days resting at trainer Kenny McPeek's farm in Lexington, Kentucky. The front-running fifth-place finisher in last Saturday's Derby was considered "possible" Monday afternoon but his Preakness status is now unclear.

"No firm decision has been made on Noble Promise's next start," McPeek said. "He did come out of the Derby in good order."

CARACORTADO (Cat Dreams) will join Schoolyard Dreams and A Little Warm as non-Derby runners lining up in the Preakness starting gate. The Southern California-based gelding began his career with five consecutive victories, including a score in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) at Santa Anita in mid-February. The Mike Machowsky trainee then finished third in the San Felipe S. (G2) and a troubled fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), where the chestnut suffered a minor left foot injury. His conditioner believes the time off since his last start has really benefited Caracortado.

"He's just so much better than he's been in a long time," Machowsky said. "He's fresh and he's put on weight. He's not a big horse looking at physically. Before the Santa Anita Derby I put him on a scale and he weighed 1,060 pounds, which was a surprise because I didn't think he weighed that much. I put him on a scale a few days ago and he picked up 29 pounds since that race."

Caracortado will work seven-eighths Saturday morning at Santa Anita Park and will arrive at Pimlico on May 12. Make Music for Me could miss the Preakness in favor of the Belmont (EquiSport Photos)

Stakes winner MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein) walked the shedrow at Keeneland Thursday morning for trainer Alexis Barba, who indicated the Derby fourth-place finisher would return to the track on Friday. However, Barba cast doubts on the bay colt's participation in the May 15 Preakness.

"It is very unlikely we'll be headed to the Preakness but very likely we'll be part of the Belmont (G1) field," Barba said. "I was confident he'd go a mile and a quarter (the Kentucky Derby distance) and I am confident he can go a mile and a half (Belmont Stakes distance) because he finishes strong every time."

Also likely to skip the Preakness is the Graham Motion-trained TURF MELODY (Maria's Mon), who has been entered in Saturday's Dwyer S. (G2) at Belmont Park. The trainer said this morning he expects the bay colt to run in New York.

"At this point I'm 90 percent sure he'll run in the Dwyer," Motion said. "Unless the Preakness field should start to fall apart."

Thursday morning activity for Churchill Downs-based Preakness hopefuls included Grade 1-placed AIKENITE (Yes It's True) galloping 1 1/4 miles, Derby Trial (G3) winner HURRICANE IKE (Graeme Hall) jogging a mile and the Dale Romans-trained duo of PADDY O'PRADO (El Prado [Ire]) and FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even) galloping 1 1/2 miles each.

The Preakness is limited to 14 starters. Fifteen of the last 18 years have seen double-digit starters.



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