In Tuesday developments leading up to Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), High Fly joined trainer Nick Zito's contingent of contenders after breezing at Churchill Downs. Also putting in final works at Churchill before shipping to Pimlico were Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and Wilko.GIACOMO
– When trainer John Shirreffs arrived at the Churchill Downs backstretch Tuesday morning and checked on Giacomo, he decided to send his Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner to the track for a half-mile workout in preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
"I was kind of debating whether to breeze him, but he's doing so good, I went ahead and breezed him," Shirreffs said.
Giacomo, with regular exercise rider Frankie Herrarte aboard, was clocked in :51.80 for a workout that was well attended by reporters and cameramen.
"I trained him very hard for the Derby, so I didn't want to do too much with him," Shirreffs said.
The son of Holy Bull
, who pulled off a 50-1 upset under jockey Mike Smith in the Kentucky Derby, could be overlooked as a threat to win the Preakness and sweep the Triple Crown.
"I understand what the press is saying and some people are saying, I guess,'' said Shirreffs, who trains Giacomo for owners Jerry and Ann Moss. "But, that being said, they were all in the gate, and Giacomo won the race."
Giacomo is scheduled to board a Baltimore-bound plane Wednesday morning at 10:30 due to arrive at Pimlico at 1 p.m. AFLEET ALEX
– While a couple of other highly regarded contenders for Saturday's Preakness Stakes had workouts at Churchill Downs Tuesday, Afleet Alex enjoyed a relatively relaxing morning at Pimlico Racecourse, where he jogged a mile and a half and galloped a mile and a half.
Trainer Tim Ritchey will follow the lead of John Servis, the trainer of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, and send his third-place Derby finisher into the middle jewel of the Triple Crown without a workout between races.
"A lot of times you can run a horse back in two weeks if he's only run once or twice off a layoff. But when a horse has run as much as most of these horses have, my feeling is you want them to come into this race off two weeks fresh. That's why I'm not going to breeze him. He's just going to gallop up to the race. Smarty Jones did the same thing," Ritchey said.
"A lot of times you take a little bit of the edge off of them by breezing them. Even though my horse came out of the race very well, he's still in a recuperating phase, still coming back to himself, trying to get strong."
Cash Is King's Afleet Alex has had the Preakness Stakes barn to himself since being shipped from Kentucky on May 11, but the son of Northern Afleet
will be getting lots of company on Wednesday, when the majority of his rivals will arrive from Kentucky and New York.
"He's trained a lot more than the other horses over that track. Tracks are all different. Even though they might be slightly the same, they have little differences. The more they train over that particular racetrack, I think it's an advantage. We'll find out Saturday," said Ritchey, who will name Jeremy Rose to return to the saddle aboard Afleet Alex when entries are taken on Wednesday morning. CLOSING ARGUMENT
– The Kentucky Derby runner-up (at 71-1) had an easy morning at Belmont Park, just walking under the shedrow the day after a quick breeze.
"He looks great today," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "He came out of the work very well."
The Successful Appeal colt breezed a half-mile in :49 Monday morning over the main track at Belmont Park, a little faster than the trainer expected, but still within himself.
Closing Argument, who was beaten just a half-length in the Derby, has never been worse than third in a career of eight starts for owners Philip and Marcia Cohen.
He is scheduled to be vanned down from New York on Wednesday morning, and will gallop up to the Preakness. Regular rider Cornelio Velasquez will be aboard again Saturday. GALLOPING GROCER
– The A P Jet
gelding schooled in the paddock and galloped a mile and a half at Belmont Tuesday morning.
Trainer Dominick Schettino said the New York-bred was coming up to the race in good order. "Everything looks fine," Schettino said.
Galloping Grocer, who finished a close-up third in a state-bred stakes at Aqueduct last month, drew attention last year when he finished just a neck behind Rockport Harbor in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II).
Galloping Grocer, owned by Robert Rosenthal and Bernice Waldbaum, will van to Pimlico Friday morning. Joe Bravo has the mount. GOING WILD
– The Golden Missile
colt had an easy morning at Churchill Downs, the day after he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
He is scheduled to be on the first flight of horses leaving Louisville Wednesday morning, due to arrive in the Pimlico stable area at 9:30 a.m.
A multiple stakes winner, Going Wild was also nominated to the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes. That $100,000 event at six furlongs will be run on the Preakness undercard. GOLDEN MAN
– The Richard Dutrow trainee remains in danger of being excluded from Saturday's field. His career earnings ($59,100) land him 15th on the list of Preakness probables. Only 14 will enter the starting gate.
Should Golden Man make it into the Preakness field, Dutrow will be forced to select a new rider. Raphael Bejarano is committed to pilot the Nick Zito-trained Sun King. GREELEY'S GALAXY
– The Mr. Greeley colt, who is scheduled to leave Louisville on the first flight to Baltimore Wednesday morning, galloped once around the Churchill Downs oval Tuesday.
"He's doing fine," said 83-year-old trainer Warren Stute, who is back at Santa Anita with the rest of his stable. "I get reports all the time from Churchill Downs."
Greeley's Galaxy, who was supplemented to the Triple Crown races at a cost of $200,000 by owner B. Wayne Hughes, finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby, eight lengths behind Giacomo. Before that race, he won the Illinois Derby (gr. II) by nearly 10 lengths.
Glen Stute, the trainer's son, will be at Pimlico Wednesday morning when the colt gets in. Warren is flying in Friday afternoon.
Greeley's Galaxy will have a new rider in David Flores for the Preakness. HAL'S IMAGE
– The Halo's Image
colt was on the road again Tuesday morning, aboard a van bound from Calder to Pimlico.
"They got off about an hour late," trainer Barry Rose said. "They left about 8 this morning, so they'll arrive at Pimlico about 5 a.m. Wednesday."
Hal's Image, bred by the late Harold Rose, is a half-brother to Hal's Hope, who won the 2000 Florida Derby (gr. I), but ran 16th in the Kentucky Derby and eighth in the Preakness.
The colt won the Unbridled Stakes at Calder last out, and before that was second in an optional claiming/allowance event at Aqueduct. Jose Santos, who rode in the New York event, has the call Saturday. HIGH FLY/NOBLE CAUSEWAY/SUN KING
– Live Oak Plantation's High Fly earned his way into Saturday's Preakness Stakes Tuesday morning with a half-mile workout in :50.20, breezing, under exercise rider Carlos Correa.
"That's all he needed after running a mile and a quarter two weeks ago," said Tim Poole, assistant to trainer Nick Zito.
High Fly, who'll be ridden by Jerry Bailey, is scheduled to join stablemates Noble Causeway and Sun King on a Baltimore-bound plane Tuesday afternoon and arrive at Pimlico at about 4 p.m.
My Meadowview Farm's Noble Causeway, who'll be ridden by Gary Stevens, walked Tuesday, as did Tracy Farmer's Sun King, who'll be ridden by Rafael Bejarano. On Monday, Noble Causeway breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60, while Sun King was clocked in 1:00.20. HIGH LIMIT
– Trainer Bobby Frankel will equip High Limit with blinkers for the first time with the expectation that his last-place Kentucky Derby finisher will set the pace in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
"But it might not happen," Frankel said Tuesday morning.
Gary and Mary West's colt, who galloped a mile at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning, might have company while vying for the early lead.
"I don't think Scrappy T. is that fast, but Going Wild is fast enough," Frankel said. "We'll see what happens with the post positions. I'm leaving it up to (jockey) Edgar (Prado). It's no big deal."
High Limit, who won the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and set the pace in a second-place finish behind Bandini in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), wasn't a pace factor in the Kentucky Derby after experiencing early trouble.
High Limit is scheduled to arrive at Pimlico Wednesday at 1 p.m. MALIBU MOONSHINE
– Woodward Marriott's color-bearer remains on course for a start in the Preakness. Following Saturday's three-furlong breeze in :36.40, the chestnut colt galloped a mile and a half on Monday and Tuesday.
Trainer King Leatherbury confirmed that all was well on the Laurel front.
"He's fine. He's doing great," Leatherbury said. "We'll ship him over late Saturday morning in a private horse van."
Leatherbury hopes his charge will dodge the early-morning traffic, which could easily rival the congestion of a 14-horse field.
"The King" of Maryland racing will be present at the ESPN Zone for Wednesday's post position draw. When asked what post he'd like, he didn't hesitate. "The three-hole," he said. "I'd much rather be on the inside in race like the Preakness."
Steve Hamilton has been named to ride the son of Malibu Moon
. SCRAPPY T
– This gelding is the Curious George of the Preakness, trainer Robbie Bailes noted. "He likes to look around a bit. It's nice to give him a couple days to do that. Hopefully by Friday or Saturday, he'll be settled in."
Bailes claims the gelding has matured this season.
"I've never had a horse like him," the trainer said. "You'll be walking along beside him and then he'll jump and start looking around. You wonder 'What in the world is it?' It might be a half-mile away. Maybe that's what it was. But he's getting a lot better about that. He's starting to grow up a lot."
Composure will be an asset on Saturday, as the horses will saddle on the turf course, with 100,000 fans surrounding the field.
The son of Fit to Fight, who arrived Monday afternoon after a van ride from Delaware, walked leisurely around the stakes barn Tuesday morning. More rigorous exercise is planned for Wednesday, when he'll breeze three furlongs. Bailes plans to work the horse around 8 a.m.
Venezuela-born Ramon Dominguez will be in the saddle on Saturday. WILKO
– Trainer Craig Dollase was smiling after the Awesome Again
colt breezed a half-mile in :50.60 over the fast Churchill Downs strip Tuesday morning.
"We were very pleased with the way he did it," Dollase said. "It looked like he picked it up the last part, and he finished well. He came out of it in great shape, too, and we're ready to go."
The colt is scheduled to arrive aboard the second flight from Louisville on Wednesday, with the horses slated to be at the Preakness barn by 1 p.m.
Wilko finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby after a wide trip and traffic in the stretch, less than seven lengths behind Giacomo. Winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last year, Wilko has not won since that event last Oct. 30.
Corey Nakatani, who rode him in two California races and again in the Derby, will again be aboard.