Preakness Hopefuls Arrive At Pimlico
Preakness hopefuls arrive at Pimlico
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon) arrived at Pimlico Wednesday afternoon in a quest to add Saturday's 135th Preakness S. (G1) to his Triple Crown resume.
The Todd Pletcher-trained colt was just one of nine Preakness entrants on a Baltimore-bound flight that originated in Southern California and stopped in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Santa Anita-based CARACORTADO (Cat Dreams) was joined by the Derby winner, LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike), PADDY O'PRADO (El Prado [Ire]), FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even), JACKSON BEND (Hear No Evil), AIKENITE (Yes It's True), PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King) and YAWANNA TWIST (Yonaguska).
The flight landed at approximately 2 p.m. (EDT) at Baltimore-Washington International, where Super Saver and his travel companions were loaded onto four vans. A police escort led the first van, whose passengers included the Derby winner, through the Pimlico stable gate at 3:36 p.m., quickly followed by the precious cargo of three more vans.
Super Saver was the fourth horse led off the Brook Ledge horse van and would subsequently be bedded down in Stall 40 of the Preakness Stakes Barn, the traditional stall of the Kentucky Derby winner.
Pletcher, who will also saddle Aikenite for a start in his search for his first Preakness victory, expressed delight with the manner in which his horses handled the trip.
"It was one of those trips that went perfectly. Everything loaded on time and the flight was on time and the horses seemed like they both shipped well," said Pletcher, who posed for photographers with the four uniformed members of the Baltimore Police Department who had provided the escort. "(Super Saver's) enthusiasm is good, and his energy is good. So far, that phase of it went well."
Lookin at Lucky, who finished sixth as the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby following a rough trip from post 1, also met his trainer's approval after stepping off the van.
"He looks good. He's happy," said trainer Bob Baffert, who has saddled four Preakness winners. "I wish I felt that good."
Trainer Mike Machowsky reported that Caracortado, who left his Santa Anita barn at 2:45 a.m. (PDT), seemed to handle the cross-country flight in good order.
"Everything seems good," he said. "He just needs a good bath."
D. Wayne Lukas was the first of the Preakness trainers to arrive at Pimlico, after opting to van DUBLIN (Afleet Alex) and NORTHERN GIANT (Giant's Causeway) from Churchill Downs. The vans carrying the colts pulled into the stable area at 5:52 p.m. Tuesday. The van also delivered the filly Tidal Pool (Yankee Gentleman), the morning-line favorite for the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) to be run Friday afternoon, and the four-year-old colt Flying Private (Fusaichi Pegasus), who is scheduled to run in Saturday's William Donald Schaefer S. (G3).
"We had two trucks and one of them had some mechanical problems, so we stopped briefly and unloaded the filly and left the lead pony in Pennsylvania," Lukas said. "We've got another truck bringing him. It didn't bother us because we did have enough room on the bigger van. We got them all in here except the pony."
Lukas said that aside the from the problem with the truck -- which necessitated moving the filly into the other van in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant -- the journey from Kentucky went smoothly. He said he decided to ship his horses by van instead of taking the flight that will carry 10 other Preakness runners to Baltimore on Wednesday because it is easier, less expensive and enabled him to bring his crew. Each horse is in a box stall in the van and can be monitored with video cameras.
"Everybody gets here at the same time and we can jump into this (unloading)," Lukas said. "It seems like it's working out pretty good. I did it last year. I liked it and I think I'll keep doing it."
Derek Ryan, a Monmouth Park-based trainer, will ship SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Stephen Got Even) Saturday morning for his appearance in the Preakness.
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