(Edited Churchill Downs press release)
Three Churchill Downs-based contenders for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) completed their serious training for the second jewel of the Visa Triple Crown with workouts on Tuesday at the Kentucky track. Five-time Preakness-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Ten Cents A Shine and Robert and Beverly Lewis' Scrimshaw out for strong four-furlong works, while Preakness newcomer Greg Foley sent Lloyd Madison Farm's Champali out for a solid five-furlong move.
Ten Cents A Shine, eighth in the Kentucky Derby (g. I), blazed through his half-mile work over a "fast" track in :46, which was the fastest move of 42 at the distance. Scrimshaw covered the same distance in :48, which ranked as the third-fastest move of the day. Exercise rider Stacy Maker was aboard for both works.
Lukas was most pleased with the work by Ten Cents A Shine, who rebounded from a string of poor efforts with his middle of the pack finish in the Kentucky Derby.
"I wanted Ten Cents A Shine to go a little quicker," said Lukas. "I'm going to try to get him a little more focused in the early part of the race because I think it's going to be that type of race. So I let him go a little bit."
The move by the son of Devil His Due was, in Lukas' estimation, "excellent." He believes the colt's work is a sign of continued progress in Lukas' effort to return Ten Cents A Shine to the promise he displayed last fall in a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr, II) at Churchill.
"I think we're getting along a little better," Lukas said. "He and I are getting on the same page, we're getting a little better understanding and that was an awful nice work. I always felt he had a lot of talent, it's just a matter of whether we are going to get together and agree on what we want to do."
Lukas said the move by Scrimshaw was "right on the money." He thinks the son of Gulch, who finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby, will benefit from the Derby, which was only his second race since mid-February.
"He's indicated that he needed that one," said Lukas. "I felt that way on Derby night after we cooled him out. His energy seems well. If he bounces back like I think he's doing, and you're never sure as a horse trainer, but if he comes back and puts it together, he's a very talented horse."
The Hall of Fame trainer said Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide is the "horse to beat" in Saturday's Preakness, but the gelding's task will not be an easy one.
"Winning the Derby is a tough race and it takes a special horse to put two back-to-back," he said. "He is going to have to run as well or better. Now I don't see why he shouldn't, but I'm not close to him and I know Barclay (trainer Barclay Tagg) will have him as ready as he can. But they're going to run at him pretty good again and he's going to have to do it all over again. What he did two Saturdays ago isn't going to count for a damn thing."
Lukas said he would not be surprised to find himself standing in the winner's circle at Pimlico with either Ten Cents A Shine or Scrimshaw on Saturday.
"I wouldn't be going over there if I thought I was going to be totally surprised," he said. "I've been there. I've heard 'Maryland My Maryland' sung before and I've had the crab cakes. I don't need that. I just need to get in the winner's circle."
Champali, the runner-up in the Derby Trial (gr, III) and winner of the Iroquois (gr. III) and John Battaglia Memorial, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80, the fourth-best of 18 works at the distance.
"He's doing good," said Foley. "Whether he can run a mile and three-sixteenths and handle those kind of horses, we're going to find out."
Jerry Bailey will ride Champali, a son of Glitterman who has won six of nine career starts, in the Preakness as he tackles the likes of Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide and Peace Rules, the Derby's third-place finisher.
"I'd say it would be hard to beat those first two from the Derby, but he fits with the rest of the field," Foley said. "We're just taking a chance, that's all."