Hard Spun Completes Preakness Preparations
by Steve Haskin
Date Posted: 5/16/2007 12:09:40 PM
Last Updated: 5/17/2007 5:20:59 PM

Hard Spun, shown winning the Lane's End Stakes, completed his Preakness preparations this morning.
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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Hard Spun completed his preparations for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with a quarter-mile blowout under jockey Mario Pino May 16 at Delaware Park.

With Pino up, the Rick Porter-owned Hard Spun went the distance in :24 2/5.

He was scheduled to van from his Delaware Park base to Pimlico Race Course at noon.

Trainer Larry Jones, who had been on the horse galloping this past week, was not going to work him originally, but felt his Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) second-place finisher was losing a bit of focus and needed to be sharpened up to get his mind back on business.

During the blowout, the son of Danzig changed leads on cue, going along easily with his ears up. Passing the eighth pole he started to get into the work, pinned his ears and began pulling Pino, before stretching out in the final eighth where the rider had to take a firm hold of the reins and then just let him gallop out slowly.

"He was starting to get into it in the last part and I had to go 'Whoo' and he kind of came back to me," Pino said.  "He was getting his juices flowing coming to the wire and felt really strong. He felt just like he did going into the Derby. He didn't get much out of the gallop out because we didn't want him to do too much because there was a lot of traffic out there.

"It was a good idea to blow him out. Larry wanted to change his mind a little and stretch him out a notch, and he felt happy doing it."

When talk turned to Preakness strategy, Pino said his position in the race would depend on instinct. "You can't predict anything or expect anything," the rider said. "Sometimes, you may have to go when you think you want to wait and you might have to wait when you think you want to go. It isn't cut and dry.

"In the Derby, we were able to steal away a little, and I felt it was a winning move and then all of a sudden here came Street Sense on the outside," Pino continued. "It is all going to depend on how the race sets up. In the Derby, I really didn't know that I was going to be on the lead, I just knew I was going to be close, but that is the way it set up."

In other Preakness news, Curlin, third-place finisher in the Derby, and newcomer Flying First Class arrived at Pimlico around 10:45 a.m. after catching the first flight out of Louisville.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas took the fantastic-looking son of Perfect Mandate out to graze for 15 minutes shortly after arriving at Old Hilltop.  Flying First Class, owned by Ellwood W. Johnson, sports a powerful-looking shoulder and a radiant coat.

Leslie Deckard contributed to this story



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