Schoolyard Dreams finished ahead of Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) earlier this year, and Ryan believes the Stephen Got Even colt can do it again in the May 15 Preakness (gr. I) even though Super Saver is coming off of an impressive 2 1/2-length triumph in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“Super Saver is a Derby winner, so he’s entitled to be the favorite, and we’re all trying to beat him,” said Ryan May 14, not long after Schoolyard Dreams arrived at Pimlico after being vanned from Monmouth Park. “If I get a good trip, I think I can beat him.”
In the March 13 Tampa Bay Derby, Eric Fein and Triple Diamond Stables’ Schoolyard Dreams finished second, beaten only a nose by Odysseus, who nabbed the victory in his final jump. Super Saver finished third.
“On Tampa Derby Day I didn’t think Schoolyard Dreams could be beaten. I said, ‘I wish he was a maiden because I would borrow every dime I could get my hands on and bet on him,’ ” Ryan remembered. “But we got a little unlucky in that race. The jockey (Jeremy Rose) moved a little too soon. At Tampa, you never want to move going into that second turn; you want to make your move coming out of it.”
Even though the timing of Schoolyard Dreams’ rally could have been better, Ryan was impressed with the bay colt’s effort.
“He went by them like they were standing still,” the trainer said.
In his most recent race, Schoolyard Dreams was fourth while being ridden by Ramon Dominguez in April 3 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), where he was trying to pick up enough graded earnings to be assured of a berth in the Kentucky Derby field.
“Ramon came back and said he went for a hole at the head of the lane and it closed up too quick,” Ryan said. “He said (Schoolyard Dreams) hesitated on him a little bit and then by the time he did get him going the hole closed. He said, ‘It cost you second,’ so it should have been an easy second for us.”
Schoolyard Dreams also ran in the Wood Memorial with what Ryan described as “a minor cold.”
The trainer gave up on the Kentucky Derby dream afterward, but he believes everything worked out for the best.
“I think the timing of the Preakness will suit this horse better,” he said. “If he had run in the Derby, he wouldn’t be here today. He’s not a two week, three week, or four week type of horse. He’s better with more time between races. I think the six weeks is really going to help him a lot.”
Ryan saddled Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man to finish third in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
“Hopefully, they don’t let Borel steal the Preakness on the lead again like he did last year (with Rachel Alexandra),” Ryan said. “My horse will be running in the second tier.”
Schoolyard Dreams, who is 10-1 on the Preakness morning line, will break from post No. 2 and will be ridden by Eibar Coa. The Preakness will be the colt’s seventh career race, and Coa will be his seventh different rider.
“A lot of it has to do with (jockey) agents, to tell you the truth,” Ryan said.