BALTIMORE, 05-13-13 – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb made a strong impression at Belmont Park Monday morning during a four-furlong tune-up for Saturday’s 138th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.
“I thought it was nothing short of magnificent,” trainer Shug McGaughey said after Orb made his sharp workout under exercise rider Jenn Patterson look effortless.
The son of Malibu Moon was timed in 47.18 seconds for the half-mile after breezing the first quarter of a mile in 24.47 seconds. Orb galloped out five furlongs in 59.54 seconds.
“He broke off very relaxed and finished up unbelievably, just on his own. I was shocked when I looked down at my watch and saw he worked from the eighth-pole to the wire in 11-and-change,” said McGaughey, who revealed that the work sent chills up his back. “He was covering the ground as good as a horse could cover it. He galloped out fine, dropped his head and walked home.”
Leading up to his commanding 2 ½-length Kentucky Derby victory on May 4, Orb produced a strong half-mile workout in company at Churchill Downs that also received rave reviews.
“All in all, I was just as impressed with this work as I was with the one in Louisville. It was a cool morning here and the track had a little bounce to it, because it had a little moisture in it from the rains over the weekend, and it was in terrific shape,” said McGaughey, whose colt turned in the fifth-fastest clocking of 96 recorded at the four-furlong distance. “But the way he went and the way he finished, well in hand, and came back, it was very, very visually impressive to me, and I couldn’t be happier with what I saw.”
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s home-bred colt was loaded on a van shortly after 10 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Pimlico in mid-afternoon. Orb will occupy Stall 40 in the Preakness Stakes Barn, the stall that is traditionally reserved for the Kentucky Derby hero.
GOVENOR CHARLIE – Mike Pegram’s homebred colt showed that he has recovered from the minor problems that kept him out of the Kentucky Derby with a sharp six-furlong work in 1:10 4/5 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was satisfied with the performance and said a final decision on whether to run in the Preakness will be made Tuesday. Govenor Charlie, winner of the Sunland Derby (G3) on March 24, is booked on a flight from Louisville, Ky. to Maryland on Wednesday.
“He worked good enough to run,” Baffert said. “I think today we’re caught up for the little time that we lost.”
Govenor Charlie was found to have a bruise in a hind foot in April, was examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital and subsequently missed two workouts. Baffert then decided he was not ready for the Derby.
The work Monday was his third since returning from the break in training and was the fastest of four at the distance. Working in company with Fed Biz, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Govenor Charlie turned in split times of :11 4/5, :23 4/5, :35 and :58 1/5 under Ricardo Santana Jr. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5.
“That’s him,” Baffert said. “When he starts working like that, it means he’s doing really well.”
However, Baffert said he wouldn’t commit the son of Midnight Lute to the Preakness until Tuesday.
“I have to see how he comes out of it,” Baffert said. “He went very, very well. That’s a call that I have to make.”
MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute, the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, worked a half-mile in 49 3/5 seconds over a fast surface at Churchill Downs shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m.
Working on his own and with jockey Rosie Napravnik up, Mylute jogged once around and then galloped once around with a pony before producing fractions of :12 4/5, :24 4/5 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:04 2/5. The half-mile time was the 20th fastest of 40 recorded at the distance for the morning.
“It was a good breeze and the track was in excellent shape,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “This was similar to what he did before the Kentucky Derby but just a bit faster, and I hope that is a product of him being ready to roll.”
OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Five-time Preakness-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent Oxbow and Will Take Charge, his sixth- and eighth-place Kentucky Derby finishers, respectively, to the track for four-furlong workouts Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
After the renovation break, Oxbow, ridden by jockey Gary Stevens, came out to work a half-mile in 49 4/5 seconds, the 22nd fastest of 40 for the morning at the distance. The son of Awesome Again posted fractions of :12 3/5, :24 3/5 and :37 3/5 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:03 3/5.
Earlier, Will Take Charge, who is scheduled to be ridden by Mike Smith, worked a half-mile in 48 2/5 seconds under exercise rider Rudy Quevedo. Will Take Charge posted fractions of :12 3/5, :24 1/5 and :36 for the work that ranked sixth fastest of 40 at the distance.
Titletown Five, who will be ridden in the Preakness by Julien Leparoux, was the first Lukas horse on the track Monday and he open-galloped 1 ¼ miles with a blowout down the stretch that was not recorded by clockers. Quevedo was aboard.
“We varied them a bit, but it was pretty much what I wanted,” said Lukas of Oxbow and Will Take Charge. “Coming off a tough race in the mud (in the Derby), the tendency sometimes is to do too much.”
Stevens, a two-time Preakness winner, liked Oxbow’s work.
“Time was not a factor and this was more about his mind and keeping him relaxed for the trip (to Maryland) tomorrow,” said Stevens, who tasted Preakness success with Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001). “The main thing is to keep him happy. I think I am sitting on the right horse with the right style.”
Stevens envisions a different pace scenario from the Derby, in which Palace Malice led the field through the mud in fractions of :22.57, :45.33 and 1:09.80.
“I do not think the pace will be the same,” Stevens said. “You may want to forgive some of the horses for their races in the Derby. I thought Goldencents would be with us on the lead and he was outside of us and getting all the kickback. At the five-eighths pole, I could see that Kevin (Krigger on Goldencents) was not comfortable and he could not go inside, because that is where I was, and he had two horses on his outside.
“I think you can throw that race out and I respect all of the opposition.”
Lukas said his Pimlico contingent would start loading at the barn at 3 a.m. Tuesday and expects to be at Old Hilltop around 4 p.m. The Hall of Fame conditioner will be on the van with his horses.
“I go with them whether we fly or go by van,” Lukas said. “I just like to be with them.”
DEPARTING – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing walked the shedrow at Barn 45 at Churchill Downs Monday morning, a day after working a half-mile in 50 2/5 seconds.
Trainer Al Stall Jr. said the Illinois Derby (G3) winner came out of the work fine and is scheduled to return to the track Tuesday morning to gallop a mile. Brian Hernandez Jr., who has been aboard Departing in all five of his starts, has the Preakness mount.
GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill stood on the deck outside the press box at Pimlico around 8:45 on a brisk Monday morning to get an overhead view of his Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner going through a spirited mile gallop under jockey Kevin Krigger.
“I thought he went really well,” said O’Neill, who won last year’s Preakness with Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another. “Kevin was kind enough to come over here after Churchill and get to know him even better – even though he knows him so well. Coming down the lane, Goldencents was so comfortable and he was reaching out great. I just loved what I saw today.”
O’Neill had originally planned to give the son of Into Mischief a workout at Pimlico after his poor performance in the Kentucky Derby (an eased-up 17th), but on Sunday he decided to use the same training regimen he had with I’ll Have Another and gallop into the race.
“I think he trains as hard as a lot of horses work,” said the 44-year-old Michigan native, who had the only Preakness contender on the grounds as of Monday morning. “He puts in a good effort every day, so in my mind there’s just no need – unless we have some weather issues or something like that. The goal was: if he could gallop comfortably every day, that’s what we would do, and so far, so good.”
O’Neill, who sent 12 horses to Pimlico, including Goldencents, shortly after the Derby, said he doesn’t expect part-owner Rick Pitino to be present for the Preakness, but his son, Richard, is planning to attend. Pitino, who coached Louisville to the NCAA basketball title in March, owns five percent of Goldencents with W.C. Racing and Dave Kenney.
Goldencents was the third choice in the wagering in Kentucky off his impressive victory in the Santa Anita Derby, but he was really not a factor after the first half-mile or so at Churchill Downs.
“When we got to the three-eighths pole the race changed for him completely,” said Krigger, who came directly to Pimlico with the colt after the Derby. “He went from just sitting comfortably to just not giving me the effort that he usually puts out. When we got to the five-sixteenths pole he just started regressing more for whatever reason it was, and I just decided, instead of harassing him and causing him to struggle on the sloppy track, to protect him and wrap up on him and brought him home.”
Last year, I’ll Have Another was the target; this year O’Neill comes to Baltimore as the hunter, seeking to stop Orb’s quest to add the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
“It was a great feeling last year being the hunted, but a hunter’s not bad,” said the Southern California-based conditioner, whose Triple Crown bid with I’ll Have Another was thwarted by an injury that forced him to scratch the day before the Belmont Stakes (G1). “Just being here is a real honor, and I give great thanks to the horse and the owners. This (the Preakness) is just an experience you want to be part of.”
Goldencents has already earned $1.2 million with four victories from seven starts, and O’Neill is drawing a line through the Derby.
“I think it was kind of a demanding track, and it just wasn’t to our liking,” he said. “I think we’re going to see a much better result Saturday.”
ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Itsmyluckyday came out of his half-mile workout at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon “100 percent,” reported trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. Monday morning.
“He was acting like nothing happened,” said Plesa of Itsmyluckyday’s behavior when he checked on his Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner Monday.
The son of Lawyer Ron worked between Sunday’s third and fourth races at Monmouth, breezing four furlongs in 47 1/5 seconds.
Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to van to Pimlico at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
VYJACK – Trainer Rudy Rodriguez informed Maryland Jockey Club officials Monday morning that Vyjack, the 18th-place Derby finisher, will not be entered in the Preakness Stakes.
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.
In this photo released by the Maryland Jockey Club, Goldencents, with jockey Kevin Krigger aboard, gallops at Pimlico Race Course on Monday, May 13 in preparation for Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1). (Maryland Jockey Club, Jim McCue)
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