Saturday, May 9, 2009
A decision as to whether Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra
will be supplemented into the field for the $1 million Preakness (gr.
I) could be made May 10 or 11 after the filly works for her new
trainer, Steve Asmussen. The Preakness will be held May 16 at Pimlico
The Preakness field currently has nine confirmed starters: Kentucky
Derby (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird, Musket Man, Papa Clem, General
Quarters, Flying Private, Big Drama, Take the Points, Terrain, and
The status of two other likely Preakness starters, Derby runner-up
Pioneerof the Nile and Derby favorite Friesan Fire, will be made May
10 and May 11, respectively, after both work.
Conservative and Tone It Down are also under consideration for
Maryland’s marquee race. The Preakness is limited to 14 starters.
Rachel Alexandra, who was purchased by Stonestreet Stables and Harold
McCormick May 6 and transferred to Asmussen, made one trip around the
sloppy Churchill Downs oval May 8 with exercise rider Dominic Terry
up. Asmussen, who conditioned 2007 Preakness winner Curlin for a
group that included Stonestreet, indicated his new star would work at
Rachel Alexandra is not nominated to the Triple Crown and could only
get into the middle jewel of the Triple Crown if less than 14
pre-nominated horses are entered and her connections pay a $100,000
supplementary nomination fee. If she runs, Rachel Alexandra would be
the first Oaks winner ever to run in the Preakness. Fifty-two fillies
have competed in the Preakness with four crossing the finish line
first: Flocarline (1903), Whimsical (1906), Rhine Maiden (1915) and
Nellie Morse (1924). The most recent filly to run in the middle jewel
was Excellent Meeting 10 years ago.
The lone Preakness starter in the Pimlico stakes barn, Delta Jackpot
winner Big Drama, jogged a mile and then galloped under exercise rider
and assistant trainer Celia Fawkes, who said the son of Montbrook
would have the same routine this weekend leading up to his May 11
breeze. Big Drama has won five-of-seven lifetime starts and saw his
five-race win streak end in the March 28 Swale Stakes (gr. II) at
Gulfstream Park despite setting a track record at seven-furlongs when
he was disqualified for interfering with the runner-up.
“I think a fresh horse has an advantage going into the Preakness,
that’s why we’ve seen so many spoils in the Triple Crown,” said
trainer David Fawkes. “The horse hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s
always gotten the distance we’ve asked him to get. First time at a
mile and a sixteenth over a deep racecourse at Calder he did it. Went
to a bullring at Delta Downs, he did that.”
Papa Clem, the fourth place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, will be
the next Preakness starter in the Pimlico stakes barn when the Gary
Stute trainee arrives May 9. The Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner is
expected to leave Louisville at 10 a.m. Stute’s father, Mel, won the
1986 Preakness with Snow Chief.
“You only get one chance with the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont, and
with my stable I don’t know if I’ll get too many more opportunities,”
Stute said. “Most of my horses are claiming horses and most of them
are used to running back in two weeks so to be honest I’m kind of
anxious to run this horse back in two weeks. I thought the Preakness
would be the perfect distance for my horse and my dad’s two-for-two;
he won the Preakness and the Dixie (Kadial, 1988) there. So far, at
least at Pimlico, the Stutes are undefeated.”
Stute plans on walking Papa Clem May 10, galloping May 11, and working
the son of Smart Strike five-furlongs May 12.
Larry Jones will ship Friesan Fire to Pimlico May 11 and plans on
breezing the son of A.P. Indy, who suffered cuts in his left front
foot while getting bumped shortly after the start of the Derby and
finished 18th as the betting favorite, five-furlongs with jockey
Gabriel Saez the following morning, and then make a final decision.
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird galloped a little more than two
miles over a sloppy Churchill Downs racing surface under exercise
rider Charlie Figueroa.
“Everything has fallen into place since the Derby,” trainer Bennie
“Chip” Woolley Jr. said. “He is doing good. He is eating good. He
hasn’t lost any weight, not that he could afford to lose any.”
The son of Birdstone will leave Louisville via van May 12 and arrive
at Pimlico sometime after the afternoon rush hour. The Maryland Jockey
Club has arranged a police escort for Mine That Bird and his
connections from Interstate 70, prior to the Baltimore Beltway, into
D. Wayne Lukas (Flying Private) and Tom McCarthy (General Quarters)
plan on vanning their Preakness starters from Churchill to Pimlico May
12 as well.
Terrain, Hull, Pioneerof the Nile, and Rachel Alexandra, if the latter
two run, will fly into Baltimore May 13, the day of the post position
Trainer Derek Ryan told Maryland Jockey Club officials that Musket
Man, the third place finisher in the Derby, will remain at Monmouth
Park until the morning of the Preakness, with a scheduled arrival at
6:30 a.m., the morning of the middle jewel.
“We’ve been on the road for a long time and we want to be able to stay
home for as long as we can,” said Ryan. “Plans remain the same, to
work the horse three-eighths on Tuesday, if the rain cooperates. We
seem to be coming in under the radar, but were used to it. We knew we
had a big horse coming into his first start.”
Take the Points will put in his final Preakness work May 9 or 10,
according to trainer Todd Pletcher. The connections skipped the Derby
for the son of Even the Score to compete in the Preakness.
Trainers Shug McGaughey and William Komlo informed Maryland Jockey
Club officials that a decision would be made May 9 on the Preakness
prospects of Conservative and Tone It Down, respectively.