Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner I'll Have Another departed Churchill Downs at 1:19 p.m. May 7 and was taken to nearby Louisville International Airport for a flight to Baltimore, Md., where he will contest the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Upon arrival, the Flower Alley colt trained by Doug O’Neill for owner Paul Reddam will be escorted from the airport to Barn D on the Pimlico Racecourse backstretch by the Baltimore City Police Department.
I’ll Have Another’s arrival at Pimlico for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown will be the earliest by a Kentucky Derby winner in many years.
Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson is overseeing I’ll Have Another’s first visit to Pimlico as O’Neill returned to Southern California to tend to his stable at Santa Anita.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet," said Sisterson, a native of Durham, England. "Words can’t describe how I feel. Seeing him at the sixteenth-pole coming down the racetrack in front and crossing the finish line, I said, ‘Wow! We did it! Even the excitement getting to the race was a real experience in itself. On the walk-over, I said, ‘Wow! Here we go!’ ”
Reddam has rented a house for the O’Neill crew’s two-week stay in Maryland.
I’ll Have Another leads all Preakness prospects with $2,060,600 on the graded earnings list, on which the first seven automatically earn a berth in the 14-horse field. Bodemeister , Creative Cause , and Went the Day Well earned an automatic Preakness start by earning a check in the Kentucky Derby. Hansen, Union Rags , and Liaison round out the Top 7.
In the second-tier of qualifying, the four horses with the most stakes earnings (minus restricted stakes earnings) are Isn't He Clever, Optimizer, Hierro, and Tiger Walk.
The remaining prospects are ranked by total earnings, including Pretension, Paynter and Zetterholm.
In the unlikely event that all of the above horses are confirmed for the Preakness, Cozzetti and Brimstone Island would be on the also-eligible list.
WENT THE DAY WELL – Trainer Graham Motion was in the process of closing up shop at Churchill Downs’ Barn 22 May 7 as Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well walked the shedrow.
“We were fortunate enough to catch a ride with the Derby winner (I’ll Have Another) to Baltimore today,” Motion said of the fourth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. “He is doing well and the plan is to run in the Preakness as long as he is doing well.”
Went the Day Well will van to the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. to resume his training.
COZZETTI/DULLAHAN – Albaugh Family Stables' Cozzetti worked five furlongs after the morning renovation break May 7 at Churchill Downs in 1:01.
Working on his own with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar up, Cozzetti broke off at the half-mile pole and posted fractions of :12.60, :24.80, :37, :48.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80 and seven-eighths in 1:27.20. The move was the fifth fastest of 19 at the distance.
“I thought he worked well,” trainer Dale Romans said of Cozzetti, who finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) in his most recent start.
Romans, who won the Preakness last year with Shackleford, plans to take Cozzetti to Pimlico for a bid to make him the first trainer since Bob Baffert in 2001-02 to take the Preakness in consecutive years. Baffert won with Point Given and War Emblem.
Cozzetti has amassed $85,000 in graded stakes earnings from the Arkansas Derby and a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II).
“The Preakness is still on if he can get in,” Romans said.
Romans could have one other Preakness entrant in third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Dullahan for Donegal Racing.
“We are going to talk it over in a little while, but we are not committed to the race yet,” said Jerry Crawford, manager of Donegal. Dullahan would be an automatic qualifier for the Preakness based on his finish in the Derby.
BODEMEISTER /LIAISON /PAYNTER – Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s Bodemeister (second) and Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison (sixth) are considered as possible for the Preakness although no decision will be made until trainer Bob Baffert returns from Southern California this weekend.
Zayat Stables’ Paynter, who worked five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 May 6, also is considered a possible Preakness participant for Baffert. Paynter finished second in the April 28 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) that was run on a sloppy track.
Also considered possible to head to Pimlico from the Baffert barn is Peachtree Stable’s undefeated filly Mamma Kimbo, winner of the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) in her most recent star. Mamma Kimbo worked a bullet five-eighths in :58 4/5 May 6 as a prep for a possible start in the May 18 Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico.
HANSEN – Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing’s Hansen walked the shedrow at trainer Mike Maker’s barn at the Trackside Training Center in Louisville, Ky. the morning of May 7. Maker said the 2011 champion 2-year-old came out of his ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby in good order and is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday.
HIERRO/ISN'T HE CLEVER – Stonestreet Stables’ Hierro, winner of the Derby Trial, worked a half-mile in: 52 under exercise rider Carlos Rosas before the morning renovation break.
Working on his own, Hierro posted fractions of :12 4/5 and :25 3/5 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:05 3/5 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Also working for Asmussen was J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Isn’t He Clever, runner-up in the Sunland Derby (gr. III) and eighth in the Arkansas Derby. Isn’t He Clever worked five furlongs in 1:02 with Rosas up. Working on even terms in company with 7-year-old stakes winner Jimmy Simms, Isn’t He Clever posted fractions of :14, :26 4/5, :38 1/5, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15 3/5 and seven-eighths in 1:28 4/5.
Both horses are thought to be possible for the Preakness.
“We have not made a decision on the Preakness,” Robison said from El Paso, Texas. “We want to see how the race is shaping up and do the best thing for our horse. He will work again next Monday and we may not have a decision until then.”
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer is scheduled to return to the track May 9 according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Optimizer finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby.
Lukas is planning to bring several other horses to Pimlico when he brings Optimizer for the Preakness. Included among those will be Bluegrass Hall’s Skyring, a gritty winner on the Derby Day card.
“He will run in one of the undercard races,” Lukas said.
ZETTERHOLM – Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said that the Winter Park Partners’ New York-bred colt is pointed to the Peter Pan (gr. II) May 12 at Belmont Park, but would rather run him in the Preakness.
“When Pimlico tells us we’re in, I’ll start planning for the Preakness,” Dutrow said. “Right now there is the race at Belmont and we’ll go there unless we hear we’re getting into the field for the Preakness.”
Zetterholm is on a three-race winning streak. He broke his maiden at Aqueduct on Feb. 4, added an allowance victory on March 4, and finished first in the one-mile Patsyprospect Stakes on April 6. The colt has three wins and a second in five career starts and has earnings of $123,505.