Sunday, May 15, 2016
ABIDING STAR - This possible new shooter is trained by Ned Allard, who has been forced to alter Abiding Star’s racing schedule this spring due to an equine herpes virus quarantine in effect at Parx Racing since April 1.
“We still need the quarantine to be lifted on Tuesday, but everything I’ve heard from everyone is that it will be a shock if it’s not,” Allard said.
Maryland Jockey Club is prepared to take special precautions for Parx-based horses shipping to Pimlico, should the quarantine be lifted. Parx horses would train at 5:00 a.m. before regular training hours and would be housed in isolation stalls on the Pimlico backstretch, far from the Preakness stakes barns.
Abiding Star has won five straight, including a triumph in the $100,000 Parx Derby by 1 3/4 lengths as the 3-5 favorite on Kentucky Derby day.
The Florida-bred colt was winless in the first six races of his career before scoring in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Laurel Park on Jan. 1. He followed up with an allowance win at Parx and a triumph in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel March 12. He captured an allowance and the Parx Derby in his last two races.
“As it’s turned out, at least we were able to find some races in between as far as keeping them racing, and the purses were good. It really hasn’t been as inconvenient as you might think. Who knows? It might have been beneficial because they got some races into them, built up their confidence and picked up some money to boot,” Allard said. “We did miss some races, and who knows how they would have turned out? But they had some races and built up their confidence.”
J.D. Acosta is scheduled to ride Abiding Star, who is tentatively scheduled to ship to Pimlico Thursday morning.
AWESOME SPEED – Awesome Speed is still housed at his owner's Colts Neck Stable in New Jersey. He galloped Sunday and is scheduled for another endurance-building gallop on Monday.
“We may give him an easy breeze on Tuesday, maybe a half-mile,” said trainer Alan Goldberg.
Awesome Speed earned an automatic berth in the Preakness when he won the Federico Tesio at Laurel on a disqualification on April 9.
“We’ll ship down on Thursday,” said Goldberg, who said he may not come to Pimlico until race day. “It’s about three hours.”
Awesome Speed is four-for-six lifetime and has won two of his three starts as a sophomore. He was fourth behind Mohaymen in the Fountain of Youth before the Tesio. Governor Malibu was DQ'd from the win in that race came back to run second in the Peter Pan.
CHERRY WINE – Cherry Wine walked the shedrow at trainer Dale Romans’ barn at Churchill Downs a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.60. Cherry Wine is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
“He came out of the work fine,” said Romans’ assistant Baldemar Bahena.
COLLECTED – Collected returned to the track at Churchill Downs Sunday morning to jog under exercise rider George Alvarez. He walked Saturday following a seven-furlong work of 1:24.80 on Friday. Collected is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Tuesday.
DAZZLING GEM - With exercise rider Fernando Espinoza aboard, Dazzling Gem was one of the first horses on the track at Churchill Downs after it opened for training around 5:45 a.m. He engaged in his third Churchill Downs work since finishing fourth in the Arkansas Derby, breezing a half-mile solo in :49.60 (16/30). Fractions were 12.60 and 24.60, and he galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.80 and six in 1:16.40.
“I thought he worked really well; nice and steady,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He is fit, and I didn’t want to do a lot with him. It was just a maintenance work.”
“No decision has been made (between the Preakness and Sir Barton Stakes) nor has a rider been confirmed,” said Cox. “We’ll have a decision in the next day or two.”
EXAGGERATOR – Assistant trainer Julie Clark personally was hauling Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator to Pimlico Sunday in a big trailer that also transported a 2-year-old, according to the Churchill Downs stable office. Exaggerator left the grounds about 6:00 a.m., not long after four other horses trained by Keith Desormeaux, including stakes horses Swipe and Right There, left for Maryland on a Sallee van. Right There was entered Sunday in Friday’s Miss Preakness.
FELLOWSHIP – Fellowship galloped a mile and a half at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Brian O’Leary. Fellowship is scheduled to depart by van Monday afternoon for Pimlico.
“He will train in the morning and then will have the day off Tuesday,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father.
GUN RUNNER – Gun Runner's status is on hold until after he works a half-mile Monday at Churchill Downs and the stable checks on him the next day. Exercise rider Carlos Rosas will be up for the work.
Trainer Steve Asmussen is famous for his “easy half-miles” the Monday before a race, with 50 seconds frequently being the time. Asked for the ‘over-under’ on what Gun Runner’s clocking would be, racing manager David Fiske quipped, “I’d say if the over-under is 49 4/5, I’d take the under.”
Fiske said Asmussen has reservations on Tex Sutton charter flights to Baltimore both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s top assistant, said the stable is running Oaklawn allowance winner Cced in the Black-Eyed Susan, stakes-winner Simple Surprise and Oaklawn allowance winner One True Kiss in the Miss Preakness and Churchill Downs’ Dogwood winner Super Majesty in the Allaire DuPont Distaff.
LANI - It wasn't recorded as an official workout at Equibase, but Lani stretched his legs at Belmont Park on the main track. Belmont clockers caught him in a two-minute lick, picking up speed down the lane to cover the final three-eighths of a mile in 40 seconds and change. Lani continued his gallop for about 2 1/2 miles after the wire. The colt will have a longer breeze, probably on Wednesday, after trainer Mikio Matsunaga arrives.
"He went for a gallop this morning," said Keita Tanaka, an agent for the owner. "He stretched out last two furlongs and went very good."
There is some confusion about the time.
“I’ve heard that it was 50 seconds for four furlongs,” Tanaka said.
“(The Kentucky Derby) was good race, but it was not his day and he was unlucky,” Tanaka said. “The pace was very fast and the winner got a good position. The horses who placed ahead of Lani got better trips. He didn’t have a smooth run on the turn, but he kept coming and coming. We’re quite happy with how he ran that day. As long as we came to the U.S., I want to participate in all legs of the Triple Crown. The Preakness was not planned before the Derby, but he came out of the Derby OK in good condition, and so we have decided to have him run at Pimlico."
Lani is scheduled to leave for Pimlico on Thursday.
LAOBAN – Laoban walked the shedrow at Keeneland Sunday morning, the day after working 1:14.40 for six furlongs.
“He came out of it good. We’re going to go back to the track Tuesday morning,” trainer Eric Guillot said. “He’ll leave around 11 (a.m.) from Louisville. We should be there in the afternoon.”
Laoban, who has run with blinkers in four of his five career starts, will be without them for the Preakness.
“The race is loaded with speed, and this horse is going to have to learn to be a good horse. He’s going to have to learn to sit off them a little bit," Guillot said.
He will also be ridden by the fourth different jockey in as many races as Guillot named Ricardo Santana Jr. as the new rider for this race. Previously, Gun Runner's regular jockey Florent Geroux was mentioned as Laoban's possible rider.
NYQUIST - Nyquist galloped a strong mile Sunday morning at Pimlico. After backtracking in the company of a pony ridden by assistant trainer Jack Sisterson to the top of the first turn, he reversed course and made one lap under exercise rider Jonny Garcia.
The plan going into today was to have a comfortable gallop. We got him going a minute and 55 seconds for a mile, under a two-minute lick. Jonny was happy. The way he looked out there left us all smiling," Doug O'Neill said.
“He’s a special horse. When you get here in the morning and walk down the shedrow and you’re able to look in his eye, you know you’re right alongside greatness,” O’Neill said. “What he did today gave you goose bumps, but he does that every day. It’s only been eight days since he won the Derby, so you’d expect a little deflation in his energy level, but he was as strong as ever.
Nyquist will go to the track Monday at 8:30 a.m.
STRADIVARI – Todd Pletcher said, “On one side of it, you have a fresh horse that hasn’t been through the rigors of the prep series and a race like the Derby. On the other side of the coin, you have a horse that’s pretty light on experience and is giving up some seasoning to some horses that have been on that campaign. You might gain a bit in one area and lose a bit in the other, but historically I think it takes a pretty special horse to be able to compete in races like that against these types of horses. We are really impressed with the way he’s run and the way he’s trained.”
UNCLE LINO – “The draw is important,” trainer Gary Sherlock said on Sunday. “Where my horse is depends on the draw and who’s in the race. If we draw inside, we’re just going to go. It’s all about the draw now. Unless Nyquist can’t come back in 13 days, he’s going to be tough to beat. I’m hoping Uncle Lino moves forward, and that coming back in two weeks takes its toll on the others."
Uncle Lino was one of three yearlings Sherlock and Tom Mansor purchased at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. They subsequently brought in another California resident, Jim Glavin as a partner on the trio. Mansor has owned horses for many years. One of his recent successes was with the sprinter Big Macher. Glavin has been in the sport for many years and operates at Purple Shamrock Racing.
Sherlock said that he identified Uncle Lino as an individual that could develop into a capable runner but was a bit of a gamble.
“He just needed to do a few things right,” Sherlock said. “His withers needed to come up. He was a little off. He needed to grow into his pasterns. He did all those things and more and he did everything right in his races. He’s a very good horse.”
Uncle Lino will be Sherlock’s first starter in Maryland.
The colt is out of a strong female family. His dam, Haysee by sprint champion Orientate, never made it to the races, but she is a half-sister to 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford and the mare Lady Joanne, winner of the Alabama at Saratoga. Sherlock paid $52,000 for the yearling colt who has finished in the top three in six of his seven starts and earned $316,600.
“I’m surprised that I got him that cheap with his pedigree,” he said. “I just got lucky.”
Compiled from Maryland Jockey Club, Churchill Downs, NYRA and Santa Anita notes with additional content by Dick Downey