Trainer Derek Ryan believes time off is an asset for Schoolyard Dreams.That theory will be put to the test May 15 in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
A well-rested Schoolyard Dreams will make his first start since finishing fourth in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 3.
“He's one of those horses who will benefit from five to six weeks between races rather than three to four,'' said Ryan who saddled Musket Man to a third-place finish in last year's Preakness.
The last race was a rush job, and it proved costly. Running only three weeks after suffering a nose loss in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), Schoolyard Dreams got trounced. He finished fourth, 11 1/4 lengths behind Eskendereya.
The Wood was a scramble, an effort to earn enough graded-stakes money to qualify for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) that fell short of the mark.
“He's not a robust horse that you can run every three weeks,'' Ryan said. “It wasn't an ideal situation and the horse wasn't 100%. I think this horse will really benefit by skipping the Derby. If he ran in the Derby, I don't think he'd be running this week.''
Eibar Coa, who rode Musket Man in last year's Preakness, will be aboard for the first time. This will be Schoolyard Dreams' seventh race (2-2-1), and his seventh different rider.
Coa was aboard Schoolyard Dreams for his final Preakness tune-up, a sharp five-furlong move at Monmouth Park May 6 when he stopped the clock in :59 3/5.
“He’s coming into the race the right way,” said Ryan, a native of Ireland.