IEAH Stable and Paul Pompa Jr.’s Big Brown, a dominant winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), had another easy morning May 12 at Churchill Downs as his bid for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, draws closer.
The 3-year-old son of Boundary jogged a mile over a sealed racetrack that was listed as “muddy.” Exercise rider Michelle Nevin was aboard as Big Brown turned in his light exercise under the gaze of trainer Rick Dutrow just after the break for track maintenance.
“He’s good,” said Dutrow. “He came out of the race good and he’s been training good.”
Big Brown has jogged for several days at the Louisville track because of wet weather and Nevin said the colt is getting a little bored with his limited activity. The weather forecast calls for warm and dry conditions over the next couple of days, so Dutrow hopes to let his Kentucky Derby winner to gallop May 13.
“He’d rather do more, but he’s still okay with this,” Dutrow said May 12. “Hopefully, we can gallop tomorrow. If not, we’ll jog him again. I only gallop my horses when the track is good. When it’s sealed like that, I never gallop anything. So, if the track’s good tomorrow we’ll gallop him. If not, we’ll jog him. It’s not a big deal. Hopefully we can do the same thing Wednesday and then get out of here.”
Dutrow’s colt is scheduled to ship to Baltimore May 14 for the $1-million Preakness at Pimlico Race Course May 17.
His current plan calls for Big Brown to have one small “blowout” work after his arrival in Baltimore.
“We’ll probably do it the day of (the race) if the track’s good,” Dutrow said. “I don’t know if we’ll do it if the track’s no good. Maybe we will, maybe not. We’ll see.”
“Yesterday we had two horses – one won and one just got beat – and I blew them out yesterday morning,” he said. “It was only because of spacing from their last breezes and stuff like that, you know? But I would like to do with him the day he’s running. It just seems to fit his schedule at this point. I’m not following what they’ve done in the past.”
The Kentucky Derby victory by Big Brown was his fourth victory in as many starts and lifted his earnings to $2,114,500. He won the Kentucky Derby by 4 ¾ lengths and has won his four races by a collective margin of 33 ¾ lengths.
In other news of Preakness runners preparing at Churchill Downs:
A muddy track May 12 caused trainer Nick Zito to push back a half-mile work for his Preakness hopeful Stevil until May 13.
“We will have a better track in the morning and one day doesn’t make a difference,” Zito said. “He’ll work an easy half tomorrow and then ship Wednesday (to Pimlico).”
Owned by Robert LaPenta, Stevil will enter the Preakness off a five-week break from his fourth-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. John Velazquez has the mount in the Preakness.
“Hopefully, Stevil will make a good showing and we can go on to the next town,” Zito said, alluding to the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I)
Trainer Beau Greely, John Greely IV and Phil Houchens’ Tres Borrachos galloped a 1 5/8 miles after the renovation break May 12 Andy Durnin up. Unlike the day before, Tres Borrachos was not equipped with blinkers.
“It was just an experiment we thought we’d try,” Beau Greely said. “It looked like it didn’t make any difference, plus he has shown speed in his races and I didn’t want to take a chance.”
Tres Borrachos is scheduled to work a half-mile May 13 and ship to Pimlico on a 3:30 p.m. flight May 13 that also will carry Big Brown to Baltimore. Tyler Baze has the Preakness riding assignment.
West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again jogged with a pony about a 1 ½ miles with Kenny Bourque up May 12. Macho Again had worked a half-mile in :50.80 May 10 and walked the following day.
Jerry Carroll, Stan Kaplan, Ronald Plattner, and Mark Guilfoyle’s Racecar Rhapsody galloped a 1 ¼ miles under Jose Castanon before the renovation break. The Ken McPeek trainee had worked five furlongs in 1:01 May 10 and walked May 11.