Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite tuned up for an anticipated run in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by working five furlongs in company in 1:01 2/5 at Churchill Downs May 9.
With exercise rider Kevin Willey up, Aikenite came on to the fast track a little after 6:30 a.m. (EDT) and then went about his business with workmate Megaholtz. Fractions for the work were :12 3/5, :25 1/5, :37 3/5, :49 2/5, with a six-furlong gallop-out time of 1:15. The move was the ninth fastest of 19 at the distance.
“He broke off a couple lengths behind Megaholtz and they finished on even terms,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It was a good work, typical of how he works, and he had a solid gallop out. He will walk tomorrow (May 10) and go back to the track Tuesday (May 11).”
Aikenite earned his shot at the Preakness with a runner-up finish to Preakness candidate Hurricane Ike in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) April 24 at Churchill.
A few minutes after Aikenite completed his work, Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver came out under Willey. The colt stood in the starting gate and galloped 1 1/8 miles.
“He was well behaved at the gate,” Pletcher said. “He was calm, cool and collected. He is very professional and has always been that way. It is a huge edge when you have a horse with talent that also has the proper mind-set.”
Owned and bred by WinStar Farm, Super Saver is scheduled to work a half-mile in preparation for the Preakness May 10 at 8:30 a.m. after the renovation break. Jockey Calvin Borel, who scored his third Derby win on Super Saver, is slated to be aboard.
In addition to Super Saver, four other horses with designs on the Preakness are scheduled to work May 10 at Churchill Downs.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Preakness five times, is going to work Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin and Westrock Stables’ Northern Giant. Both colts galloped under Arielle Witkowski before the renovation break.
Lukas has not confirmed a rider for Northern Giant for the Preakness but has tabbed Garrett Gomez to replace Terry Thompson on Dublin, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby. Gomez will work Dublin in the morning.
Why the switch?
“If Peyton Manning is available, you are not going to leave him in the locker room,” Lukas said.
Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Hurricane Ike is scheduled to work seven furlongs with Preakness rider Robby Albarado scheduled to be aboard after the renovation break. Trainer John Sadler is expected to be on hand to supervise the move of the Derby Trial winner, who galloped a mile and a half Sunday morning.
Steel Your Face Stables’ Yawanna Twist, second in the Illinois Derby (gr. III) in his most recent start April 3, galloped a mile and a half under Michelle Nevin after the renovation break Sunday prior to a scheduled May 10 work.
“(Trainer) Rick (Dutrow) is usually a five or six (furlong) guy,” Nevin said about the distance of the scheduled Monday work. Joe Deegan is expected to be aboard for the work after the morning renovation break.
Trainer Bob Baffert continued to prepare sixth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Lookin At Lucky for a possible trip to Pimlico for the Preakness.
Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, Lookin At Lucky galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with Peter Hutton up May 9.
Baffert has yet to commit the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite to the Preakness. A decision on Lookin At Lucky’s Preakness status is expected May 10.
“I just want to see how he’s doing,” Baffert said of what he would be looking for. “If he is still doing well like he did today and how he is this afternoon, I have to let people know so they can plan.”
(According to Pimlico's press notes May 9, Martin Garcia will ride Lookin At Lucky if he runs in the Preakness.)
Preakness preparations continued May 9 for three other Preakness-bound colts. Third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Paddy O'Prado, owned by Donegal Racing, galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break, and Donald Dizney’s First Dude walked the shedrow following May 8’s bullet five-eighths work of 1:00 3/5. Both colts are trained by Dale Romans. Robert LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm’s Jackson Bend galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break under Stacy Prior for trainer Nick Zito.