ORB -- Orb engaged in his second gallop since winning the Kentucky Derby today at Belmont Park.
On a nice morning, he went 1 1/4 mile under exercise rider Jenn Patterson and looked happy and healthy, his trainer said.
“I was pleased with everything I’ve been seeing,” Shug McGaughey said. “He’s filled out so much physically. I look at him and I can’t believe what I’m seeing from last November to now. Mentally, everything’s come together. He was a bit difficult at the gate all of his 2-year-old year, and that’s all behind him. I couldn’t be more pleased with his development.”
Orb, who closed from seventeenth to post a 2 1/2-length victory in the Derby. Following that win and his victory in the Grade I Florida Derby, some observers have concluded that he had reserved some energy for his next race.
“I think it’s because he’s getting it done quicker than we think he is. In the Florida Derby, Johnny said he got there quicker than he thought he would and he had to throttle him down. I think it was the same in the Kentucky Derby. He got to those horses quicker than (Joel Rosario) thought he would.”
Orb is regarded as a closer, but his running style doesn’t leave him at the mercy of the early pace.
“He comes from back, but they don’t take him back. It depends on the color of the race. If it’s a fast pace, he’ll be off of it, but if it’s slow, I think he’ll actually be laying up close like he was in the Florida Derby – within four, five, six lengths,” McGaughey said. “And he’s got enough of a punch that you don’t take him out of the game plan when you do lay up close.”
DEPARTING -- The Grade III Illinois Derby galloped “a spirited” 1 1/2 mile -- in the words of trainer Al Stall Jr. -- on Friday morning at Churchill Downs. Exercise rider Trina Pasckvale handled the reins. Departing is scheduled to work Sunday morning at 8:30, walk Monday and then train the next two mornings before shipping to Pimlico on Wednesday.
GOLDENCENTS -- See story posted Friday at The Downey Profile here.
GOVENOR CHARLIE -- The Preakess possible went out after the break at Churchill Downs for a 1 ½-mile exercise. Jorge Alvarez in the saddle for trainer Bob Baffert, who is expected in over the weekend to evaluate the Grade III Sunland Derby winner.
ITSMYLUCKYDAY -- The colt that finished second to Orb in the Florida Derby before faltering to fifteenth in the Kentucky Derby, galloped at Monmouth Park Friday morning. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who arrived from his South Florida home base to Monmouth Thursday afternoon, supervised the morning exercise.
“He looked as good to me as he did in Kentucky,” Plesa said. “His gallop today was very, very well into the bit. He’s just feeling very good.”
Forecasts for weekend rains in New Jersey caused Plesa to call an audible while mapping out Itsmyluckyday’s work schedule.
“I’m hoping to work him the next couple days. We’re expecting rain up here. I was initially going to work him Sunday, but I’ve moved it up to Saturday,” Plesa said. “We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow. I can work him as late as Monday. If something happens and it’s still raining on Monday, which it could be, I don’t have to work him, but my preference would be to work him.”
Plesa said Itsmyluckyday is tentatively scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Tuesday.
MYLUTE -- The Tom Amoss trainee galloped 1 1/2 mile under Maurice Sanchez shortly after the track opened for training Friday morning.. A decision on the Preakness status of the fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher will be made Saturday.
“He trained well this morning and showed good energy. I was satisfied with what I saw and passed that on to the owners,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “After he trains in the morning, I’ll call the owners at 7:00, and we will make a decision on the race.”
NORMANDY INVASION -- Normandy Invasion galloped at Belmont Park Friday morning for trainer Chad Brown. The Tapit colt remains a candidate for the Preakness. Brown said the day after Normandy Invasion finished fourth in the Derby that he would not run back in the Preakness. However, Brown reconsidered that stance on Monday and decided to wait until this weekend before making a decision.
OXBOW / TITLETOWN FIVE / WILL TAKE CHARGE -- All three of trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Preakness hopefuls galloped early Friday morning at Churchill. Lukas plans to van nine horses to Pimlico on Tuesday with a 3:00 a.m. departure from Churchill Downs.
The trainer saddled Oxbow and Will Take Charge for sixth- and eighth-place finishes, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby. Titletown Five was fourth in the Grade III Derby Trial last time out. Lukas said he was particularly impressed with Will Take Charge’s effort in the Derby.
“You look at the aerial view of the race, and Will Take Charge may have been running the best of all,” Lukas said. “He was moving with Orb and then he got checked twice when Verrazano ducked in and out in front of him.”
STREET SPICE -- Still waiting for word on his Preakness status.
VYJACK -- Still waiting for word on his Preakness status.