Daily Preaknesss Update

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5:24 pm EDT

Saturday, May 14, 2016

CHERRY WINE - Cherry Wine finished his major preparations for the Preakness by working five furlongs solo on a fast Churchill Downs track in 1:01.60 (24/38) with regular exercise rider Faustino Aguilar aboard. Cherry Wine produced fractions of 24.80 and 49.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14. It was the second work for Cherry Wine since finishing third in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 9 at Keeneland. He had worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Churchill Downs on April 30.

“I thought he worked well,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He will ship to Pimlico on Wednesday. He is a light-framed horse and we space his works out. Plus, we had a lot to do last Saturday.”

A Preakness victory by Cherry Wine to go along with Shackleford’s 2011 triumph would have extra meaning for Romans.

“I trained the sire (Paddy O’Prado), the dam (C.S. Royce) and her mother (Sweeping Story),” Romans said. “It would be special.”

Corey Lanerie is named to ride. It'll be his first Preakness mount.

COLLECTED - Collected came out of his seven-furlong work in 1:24.80 at Churchill on Friday in good order, reported Jim Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert.

DAZZLING GEM - “We are going to breeze him tomorrow. The plan is to run him at Pimlico on Saturday in either the Sir Barton or the Preakness,” trainer Brad Cox said on Saturday. “It just depends on who shows up for the Preakness. If it kind of looks like it does right now with the probables, we’ll probably lean toward the Sir Barton.”

Dazzling Gem breezed four furlongs in 48.40 seconds at Churchill Downs on Derby morning.

“He’s training great. We couldn’t be happier with how he’s training,” Cox said. “Hopefully that continues tomorrow morning and all next week. We’re super pleased with where we are with him right now.”

EXAGGERATOR - Exaggerator had the final morning of his stint at Churchill Downs on the track Saturday, galloping 1 1/14 mile. Exaggerator is scheduled to leave Kentucky at 5:00 Sunday morning by van with trainer Keith Desormeaux.

“He has been eating; his energy is good … all positive signs,” assistant trainer Julie Clark said.

“I haven’t really done a lot of homework on the race yet, but I don’t think the shorter distance will affect our style much, plus that’s up to Kent," the trainer said. “It’s all about a judge of pace. It doesn’t matter if the race is shorter, longer, whatever. It’s a matter of getting your horse comfortable. If he’s comfortable five lengths off the leader, I’m happy with that.”

FELLOWSHIP - Fellowship, fourth in the Pat Day Mile, galloped 1 1/2 mile Saturday morning. He and a contingent of Mark Casse-trained horses are scheduled to leave Churchill Downs by van Monday afternoon for an overnight excursion to Pimlico with a Tuesday morning arrival anticipated.

GUN RUNNER - Gun Runner galloped 1 1/4 mile at Churchill Downs while trainer Steve Asmussen and the colt's owners ponder his Preakness future.

“It hasn’t been ruled out,” said David Fiske, Racing Manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds. “He is ready to go, but we have not decided.”

LANI - Lani, ninth in the Kentucky Derby, remains in training at Belmont Park for the Preakness. Keita Tanaka, agent/racing manager for owner Koji Maeda, said Lani is slated for a strong gallop to stretch his legs Sunday morning. A five or six furlong breeze is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Lani spent approximately 45 minutes on the Belmont main track Saturday morning when he made four circuits of the track walking and jogging, as well as galloping twice around. He will be shipped to Baltimore Thursday morning.

LAOBAN - Laoban breezed six furlongs in 1:14.40 at Keeneland Saturday morning in preparation for the Preakness.

“I put him three jumps behind the horse I’m bringing in for the Sir Barton, Fearless Dragon. They went off in 26-and-1 and finished in 24 flat,” said trainer Eric Guillot. “It was an easy maintenance work, just trying to get him to relax.”

The son of Uncle Mo finished third in the Sham at Santa Anita and second in the Gotham at Aqueduct. He is coming of a fourth-place finish in the Blue Grass after setting the pace into the stretch before fading to fourth behind Brody’s Cause, My Man Sam and Cherry Wine.

“He’s a solid horse. He’s getting better. If you look at the Blue Grass, he ran a lot better visually than he did on paper. Everything was coming from the clouds that day. The horses came from 14th, 13th, and 11th to beat me,” Guillot said.

Laoban worked without blinkers and is scheduled to race without them in the Preakness.

“The trick is to take the blinkers off and try to get him to relax instead of pulling the jock around there,” Guillot said.

NYQUIST - Keith Desormeaux is incredulous that Nyquist still has detractors.

“After the San Vicente, when Nyquist set the pace and went a half in 44 and still outran Exaggerator, who is a nice horse, how can you not have a ton of respect for him?,” Desormeaux asked, brow furrowed. “Then he goes and beats the undefeated East Coast horse. Nyquist should have been 2-5 in the Kentucky Derby in my book. I think one reason he wasn’t given credit is because people want to find excuses to build their own confidence even though the facts are staring them in the face. They still want to support their favorite horse. A lot of it is fan-oriented, or betting-oriented, I guess.”

As planned, Nyquist jogged twice around the Pimlico racetrack Saturday morning. Jonny Garcia was aboard. Four years ago, the 30-year-old exercise rider was at Pimlico assisting the same stable with I’ll Have Another.

“I’ve been lucky to have these horses. It’s been exciting to get on two Kentucky Derby winners. I’m so happy,” Garcia said. “When you’re growing up you never think you’re going to ride a Kentucky Derby winner. The Kentucky Derby is a big race. You never think it can happen, and it’s happened to me twice. I’m so lucky.”
Garcia grew up in Mexico before moving to the United States in 2002 and subsequently went to work at Southern California racetracks. In 2008, he went to work for Doug O’Neill.

“Jonny is so valuable. These horses really feed off our energy. If you’re not excited, happy, appreciative to be here every morning serving them, they sense that. Jonny is always smiling. Like the rest of us, I think he feels very privileged to be able to ride horses every morning,” O’Neill said. “Any horse he’s able to get on really benefits from his horsemanship and his energy.”

Garcia, who went home to visit his family after the Kentucky Derby, has been happy with Nyquist’s physical condition since he rejoined the son of Uncle Mo Tuesday.

“He’s so strong. Nyquist is so strong. At Churchill, he’d get so excited when he saw all the people,” Garcia said. “Now, Nyquist is still strong but he’s more relaxed.”

UNCLE LINO - Veteran trainer Gary Sherlock grew up in the racing business and understands the importance of timing. At the age of 70 with a colt who wasn’t quite ready for the Kentucky Derby, Sherlock is set to saddle his first Triple Crown starter – Uncle Lino – in the Preakness.

The son of Uncle Mo is slated to ship from California on Tuesday. He had his final timed work for the Preakness Friday morning at Santa Anita Park, covering five furlongs in 1:00.80.

Sherlock will be the oldest trainer in this year’s Preakness.

“I never wanted to go to the Derby with the horse because mentally he hadn’t gotten there yet," Sherlock said. "I was kind of fortunate to run third (in the Santa Anita Derby) because that way I didn’t go to the Derby. He needed to win a race, and I had a good option. He ran, he won and he set a track record,” said Sherlock, whose colt ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.82. Now I get an extra week on the Derby horses, I think he matured some and we’re going to take a shot.”

Sherlock said he never wanted to run in a Triple Crown race until he had a horse that he felt could win. Sherlock went on to mention the company that Uncle Lino has been keeping in California – Exaggerator, Mor Spirit and Danzing Candy – all of whom ran in the Kentucky Derby.

“Yeah, he’s right there,” Sherlock said. “He’s just got to get better. Hopefully, he’s going the right way.

Fernando Perez, who has ridden Uncle Lino throughout his career, will be aboard in the Preakness.

Collated track notes