Good Magic Arrives
Team Lukas En Route
Castellano Seeks Third Win
Amoss Talks Time
JUSTIFY - Trainer Bob Baffert arrived in Louisville, Ky. Sunday night and said he loved what he saw while watching Justify train at Churchill Downs Monday morning for the first time since the massive chestnut colt captured the Kentucky Derby.
Justify jogged to the front of the grandstand under exercise rider Humberto Gomez before turning around for a brisk gallop, picking up the pace throughout.
“I just loved the way he went around there. He looks no different than he did before the Kentucky Derby, so we’re pretty happy where we are right now. He looks healthy. He didn’t lose an ounce of weight, which is important. That’s one thing about him. The next day (after the Derby) when I brought him out, he was so bright and full of energy, I was pretty impressed myself. Usually, all my Derby winners, it takes them about five days to really snap out of it. But he was pretty sharp the whole time.
“You can tell by their eyes, their body language that he’s enjoying it out there. He wanted to go faster than the rider,” he added. “That tells me he’s still on ‘go.’”
Baffert said that Justify has been re-shod with a full shoe on his left hind foot and with the hoof adhesive Equilox added. Justify had been training in a “three-quarter” shoe, where the heel end on one side is cut back to alleviate pressure on a bruised area that manifested itself after the Derby.
“Any time you run horses on a wet track, it’s very abrasive, especially that day. It burns their heels and that’s when bruised feet come out. I looked at it and said, ‘Start treating it,’ because when you get heat, you’ll get ‘scratches’ or cracked heels. But we jumped on it right away. He looked much better in the afternoon….You have to get on it. We deal with these issues constantly in horse racing,” said Baffert.
Justify won the Derby in a 20-horse field and as part of a swift early pace, being only a half-length off of Promises Fulfilled’s opening quarter-mile of 22.24 seconds — the sixth-fastest in history and the fastest since future sprint champion Groovy’s 22.20 in 1986.
“I sort of ran him into shape – 75 days, he did all that,” Baffert said. “And he’s still the big massive horse that he is. But he’s light on his feet, and he can take a lot. He’s shown how tough he is. To do what he did in such a short period of time is pretty remarkable, especially beating a field like he did and going as fast as he did early…. He did all the heavy lifting, and he kept going. He probably ran the hardest of any of those horses in the race, because he was hauling the mail the whole way and kept on.They came home slow, but they have to, when the track condition is that way. They’re not going to run fast when the track is that way.
“But we knew he was something special from Day One. My job was just to make sure I didn’t mess it up. But I’ve got a great team here. We all stay focused and make sure he’s happy, like any coach. Keep your quarterback happy,” he added. “Don’t overdo it and they’ll show up.”
“Wayne and I, we’re from the quarter-horse world where we had to run ’em one week and come back the next week for all the money,” Baffert said. “We know the turnaround because we’ve dealt with the turnaround all our life. A lot of these trainers, they want to give their horse extra time. That’s why I have a really great foundation in my horses. That’s why he’s been able to recover quickly after every race.”
Justify is scheduled to fly to Baltimore Wednesday. He is expected to van to Louisville International Airport around 10:30 or shortly thereafter. The Tex Sutton Forwarding Company equine flight is expected to leave about noon and arrive at Baltimore-Washington International Airport about 1:30 p.m.
BRAVAZO, SPORTING CHANCE - trainer D. Wayne Lukas and his two Preakness horses, Bravazo and Sporting Chance, and Lukas’ stable pony were shipping from Louisville to Baltimore by van on Monday. Per usual, Lukas was riding along in the truck.
Lukas said at midday that the 12-hour trip was going smoothly and he expected that they would arrive at Pimlico Race Course at 4:00 p.m.
Bravazo, owned by Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm, finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby. He won the Risen Star on Feb. 17 at Fair Grounds. Sporting Chance, co-owned by Robert Baker and William Mack, finished fourth in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard. Prior to that start, he finished third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes but was disqualified to fourth after he veered out into the path of Free Drop Billy.
DIAMOND KING - Javier Castellano figures to be in familiar territory with Diamond King after being named to ride the John Servis-trained colt for the first time.
Just last year, Castellano went into the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown with a horse he had never ridden before, guiding 13-1 long shot Cloud Computing to a hard-fought head victory over juvenile champion Classic Empire.
It was the second career Preakness win for Castellano, who scored aboard Bernardini at odds of nearly 13-1 in 2006. The four-time Eclipse Award winner’s only Triple Crown race victories have come in Baltimore.
Only six jockeys have won the Preakness in back-to-back years, led by Hall of Famer Pat Day, who won three straight editions from 1994-96. The others are Victor Espinoza (2014, 2015), Eddie Arcaro (1950, 1951), Fred Taral (1894, 1895), Tom Costello (1881, 1882) and Lloyd Hughes (1879, 1880).
“I’m very lucky and very fortunate, and I’m pretty excited, too, to be able to come back to the Preakness for another year,” Castellano said. “I am thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to be there in my career and all the trainers and owners that give me the opportunity to ride their horses, some of the best horses in the country. I’m very fortunate to be a part of it.”
A perennial leading rider at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., where Diamond King is based, Frankie Pennington has been aboard in each of the Quality Road colt’s first six races. Two of their four wins together came in stakes, including the Federico Tesio April 21 at Laurel Park that earned Diamond King an automatic entry into the Preakness. They also finished third in the Swale on Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park.
“It was a business decision on the owners’ part. They just felt like going into a big race like this, you’ve got the Preakness winner from last year and a multiple Eclipse Award winner – he’d be the go-to guy,” Servis said. “He’s very professional, he’s a class act and he’s a good rider so he’s got everything going for him.”
Diamond King was entered in the Peter Pan run on May 12 at Belmont Park, with Castellano named to ride, but the horse was scratched to take a shot in the Preakness. Castellano, Servis and part owner Cash is King teamed up to win the Kentucky Oaks and Davona Dale with Cathryn Sophia in 2016.
“I am thankful for the opportunity. John Servis and I have had a lot of success together,” Castellano said. “I’ve never had the opportunity to ride the horse before, but I’ve been pretty lucky with the Pimlico track. It’s a good track, and I’ve been blessed to win two Preaknesses in my career. Last year with Cloud Computing, I got the opportunity to ride the race and we had a very fortunate result.”
Castellano became available to ride Diamond King when Audible, whom he rode to a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, was removed from Preakness consideration last week.
“I’ve been studying the horse,” he added. “He’s a very straightforward horse, a speed horse. I’ve watched all the replays of his races and his works and he looks like a really nice horse. I think it all depends on how the race develops.”
Castellano has had six previous Preakness mounts, finishing third with Divining Rod behind Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in 2015 and fourth with General a Rod in 2014. Bernardini’s victory came in his Preakness debut.
“I know that Justify is the best horse in the country, but nothing is predicted in this game. Anything can happen; it’s horse racing. It’s a competitive game with the top horses in the country,” Castellano said. “Hopefully we have a good trip and we can find the best way to win the race.”
Servis reported Monday that Diamond King exited Sunday’s five-furlong workout (1:01.51) at Parx in good order.
GOOD MAGIC - Good Magic, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, became the first horse of the prospective Preakness field to arrive at Pimlico Race Course Monday morning. Traveling in a Sallee Horse van, which left New York at 6:00 a.m., the Chad Brown-trainee was unloaded at the Pimlico stakes barn at approximately 10:50 a.m.
Several photographers and a local NBC affiliate television station were on hand for the son of Curlin’s arrival on a cloudy and cool day in Maryland. After making several laps around the shedrow of the Preakness Stakes Barn, Good Magic was led into Stall 26, which is on the same side of the barn where Justify will be bedded down upon his arrival from Kentucky on Wednesday.
Joining Good Magic on his journey from Belmont Park were stablemates, Elysea’s World and Long Haul Bay. The former will run in Saturday’s Stella Artois Gallorette Stakes, while Long Haul Bay is set for a run in Saturday’s Maryland Sprint Stakes.
Until Brown arrives in Maryland later in the week, his horses will be looked after by traveling assistant, Jose Hernandez.
“He traveled well,” said Hernandez, who accompanied Brown’s Preakness winner Cloud Computing to Pimlico last year.
Good Magic is scheduled to visit the Pimlico racetrack tomorrow morning at a still-to-be-determined time.
LONE SAILOR - Trainer Tom Amoss said today that the way the field slowed down in the Derby gives him reason to want another crack at the leaders in the Preakness Stakes Lone Sailor. Each quarter-mile of the Derby was slower than the previous quarter-mile, with Justify’s final half-mile in 53.19 seconds and final quarter-mile in 26.85 en route to a final time of 2:04.20 for 1 1/4 mile, the slowest in the Derby since Super Saver’s 2:04.45, also in the slop.
“I think the story that hasn’t been talked about since the Derby is not only the final time, but how slow the horses came home,” Amoss said. “Look, I’m not making a case against any of the horses that finished in front of me. They are very good horses. My point is this: If you ran in the Derby and had a troubled trip compromise you, it’s hard not to say to yourself, ‘I want to take one more chance at these guys.’”
G M B Racing is the racing operation of Gayle Benson, widow of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson, whose funeral was the day before Lone Sailor finished second by a neck to Noble Indy in the Louisiana Derby. The Pelicans also made a big run into the NBA playoffs before being eliminated by the Golden State Warriors.
A New Orleans product and huge fan of Louisiana’s sports teams, Amoss was asked which is the more daunting assignment, the Pelicans having to take on Golden State or Lone Sailor taking on Justify?
“If you’re asking me to compare Lone Sailor’s Preakness to the Pelicans playing the Golden State Warriors, I’d say there’s a lot you could compare,” Amoss said with a laugh. “Look, it’s the Preakness. It’s a very tough race, and we have not shown that we can beat these kinds of horses. So we have to step up, just like the Pelicans had to step up. And we’re hopeful. I’ve got great respect for these horses that we ran against. But it doesn’t mean you can’t ask the question: What about that Derby? I think that’s a legit question, and I’m really surprised it’s not out there more than it is."
QUIP - Not only did young trainer Rodolphe Brisset help develop Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip for WinStar Farm, last year he worked with Justify.
Justify and Quip were among the 2-year-olds WinStar sent to Brisset last year at Keeneland to prep for their racing careers. Quip was a bit of a problem child whom WinStar felt would benefit from early training with Brisset, who exercises many of his horses. Quip flourished and stayed with Brisset. Justify spent about 2 1/2 months in Brisset’s care before being assigned to Bob Baffert in California.
“I wasn’t galloping him every day because he was kind of an easy horse, but I did breeze him three or four times while we had him there,” Brisset said. "It would be lying to say we knew he was going to be this. The horse did not miss a day. He was a little bit immature physically, a little bit of a baby. He was a pleasure to be around. Everything we asked him to do, he did it with ease, from galloping a mile and a half, to breezing, to going to the gate. Everything was kind of easy for him to do, just learning. You could look at him and say, ‘He’s got everything to be a good horse, now let’s see how he progresses.’”
Brisset, 34, said Monday that Quip came out of his half-mile workout Sunday morning at Keeneland in fine shape. Under Brisset, Quip covered the four furlongs in 48.20 seconds.
“He looked good,” Brisset said. “He walked the shedrow and everything is good. He will go back to the track tomorrow.”
Quip is scheduled to ship to Baltimore by plane on Wednesday.
The Preakness will be the first start in a classic race for Brisset, who went out on his own in April 2017. Quip was bred at WinStar Farm and is co-owned by Kenny Troutt’s Kentucky farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing. Florent Geroux will ride in the Preakness.
TENFOLD - Tenfold, who also did not race at age two and comes into the Preakness off three career starts, had a scheduled easy four-furlong workout at Churchill Downs Monday, cruising in 49.40 under exercise rider Angel Garcia.
“I thought he moved well – very athletic horse,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’s doing good.”
After winning his first two starts, Tenfold was fifth in the Arkansas Derby.
“As far as timing-wise, I felt it was good for him,” Asmussen said. “It was dependent on how he worked last week, mainly. He was doing well when he came in here (to Churchill Downs), and he put in a really nice work. Hopefully, he’ll move up considerably from the experience of the Arkansas Derby, in that he had two races that went completely his way. I was disappointed with his run in Arkansas, but I think he can move forward from it. Where exactly that puts him with this 3-year-old group is yet to be determined. A very good measuring stick will be Saturday.”
Tenfold is a son of the Asmussen-trained two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who won the 2007 Preakness Stakes after finishing third in the Derby in his fourth career start. Tenfold, bred by owner Winchell Thoroughbreds, is the first foal to race from the Tapit mare Temptress, an allowance winner also trained by Asmussen.
“He’s a big, tall Ichabod Crane-looking kind of guy,” Asmussen said of Tenfold. “I was fortunate to have had his sire as well as his dam. Both of them were growthy horses that got better with time. Maybe, just emotionally, I really always liked the horse because of that connection, his personality. But I think he has a ton of talent. He’s going to have very good races in his future. I’m just hoping Saturday is what we’re talking about and not a year from now. He’s got a lot of talent, but he is still somewhat young mentally.”
Edited Maryland Jockey Club release with additional content by Dick Downey