Wins As He Pleases
By Dick Downey
At Laurel Park, Alwaysmining delivered for the sixth straight time, winning the Frederico Tesio Stakes by 11 1/2 lengths under Daniel Centeno.
The Tesio was a Win-and-You're-In race for the Preakness, and that's the route trainer Kelly Rubley and owner Runnymede Racing intend to take with Alwaysmining after he gets two or three days off.
The plan for the Tesio was to go to the lead from the gate, but after breaking smoothly from post 2, Alwaysmining soon found himself boxed in when Bozzini took command from post 1 and Trifor Gold came over from post 4 to take second position. They went around the first turn that way, with Alwaysmining two lengths back of the pace in third.
After a quarter-mile in a slow 25.00 seconds, the pace quickened and the half was recorded in 48.87 -- and Alwaysmining was four lengths behind.
Centeno guided Alwaysmining to the outside and he struck the lead on the backstretch heading to the far turn as Bozzini began a retreat with six furlongs timed in 1:12.97. Soon after, the race was all but over with the only question being how far Alwaysmining would prevail as Trifor Gold chased him. Centeno showed the whip down the stretch but otherwise engaged in a steady hand ride, and Alwaysmining finished the 1 1/8 mile in 1:50.12.
Trifor Gold finished second, followed by Bozzini, Dixie Drawl and Tybalt. Majid was scratched.
Sent off as the overwhelming 1-20 favorite, Alwaysmining paid the minimum $2.10 on all win, place and show $2 tickets.
Alwaysmining was nominated to the Triple Crown, but it was decided he'd stay at home instead of hitting the Kentucky Derby Trail. He's a gelding, and connections decided the longetivity of his racing career is of primary importance, all the while mapping a solid route to the Preakness.
To read more about Alwaysmining, his background and the conservative route connections have taken to this point, click here.
POST-RACE QUOTES (to be updated)
Kelly Rubley: "It was good to see him settle. He showed he doesn't need the lead. He'll get two or three days off. This horse loves to train. As long as we come back ok, that’s our goal. You just hate to get overconfident, but this is what I had expected to happen, so I’m really glad it came true. We’re all very excited. It’s a fabulous day.
"Honestly, I was glad to see that he settled and he was able to relax. It looked like it got a little tight, but Danny didn’t really think it did. Somebody had to test us sooner or later. I’m glad we got it out of the way here, and I’m confident that he handles it well. ...(W)e actually had a bit more of a challenge at the start of this race and I think that was good to see, that this horse is as versatile as we thought he is. He didn’t have a problem relaxing, and then when it was time to go, he went.”
Daniel Centeno: “The plan was to try to make the lead, but I didn’t want to chase them, so I let them go. I decided to take him back and put him behind them. He was comfortable, nice and relaxed. I put him on the outside on the backstretch and when it was time to go, he took off. (The Preakness) will be a completely different game. I told Kelly, he’ll be completely relaxed. We don’t need to put him on the lead. We can do whatever we want with him.”