Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego may run in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I).

Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego may run in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I).

Anne M. Eberhardt

Gayego Now Possible for Preakness

Gayego is possible for the Preakness, while other runners finish their final works.

From Pimlico Race Course

Trainer Paulo Lobo reported May 12 that a start in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 17 at Pimlico Race Course by Cubanacan Stables’ Gayego is under consideration.

“I’m going to decide (Tuesday). We are going to have a meeting,” Lobo said to Preakness officials from Southern California. “I’m going to track him in the morning, then we’ll make a decision.”

Gayego, the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner, finished a troubled 17th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), in which he had to be steadied in traffic after getting off to a sluggish start. Lobo said his colt never got into the race after his early troubles.

“That’s the reason we are thinking about (the Preakness),” he said. “He’s very happy right now and came back sound.”

While Gayego is considered a possible starter, Harlem Rocker is now out of consideration. Trainer Todd Pletcher said May 12 that unbeaten Harlem Rocker will skip the Preakness and is headed to the Canadian Triple Crown series.

Harlem Rocker, an Ontario-bred son of Macho Uno , is owned by Frank Stronach, chairman of Magna Entertainment, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club tracks, Pimlico and Laurel Park.

“I spoke to Mr. Stronach this morning, and we’ve decided to take a conservative approach,” Pletcher said. “We’re going to point toward the Queen’s Plate (Can-I), and we’ll look for some bigger races down the road.”

The Queen’s Plate will be run June 22 at Woodbine.

Pletcher will be represented in the Preakness by Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner Behindatthebar, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.13 at Belmont Park May 11. He walked the shedrow the following morning.

“I thought he worked well,” Pletcher said. “It’s the first time we’ve worked him on a traditional dirt track, and he seemed to handle it real well. He came out of it well, so he’s ready to go.”

Jockey David Flores, who has ridden the colt in four of his five career starts, including all three victories, will be aboard in the Preakness. Pletcher said the colt is likely to be shipped from Belmont Park to Baltimore May 17 .

Behindatthebar began his career in California with trainer Craig Dollase and raced and trained on the state’s synthetic racing surfaces. In his only start away from California, he came from well off the pace to win the Lexington by one length.

In other Preakness news:

Trainer Paddy Gallagher reported Yankee Bravo galloped about 1¼ miles at Hollywood Park May 12 in preparation for a start in the Preakness. The son of Yankee Gentleman  won the first three races of his career, then finished third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) before checking in fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) while wearing blinkers for the first time.

“He’ll wear blinkers (in the Preakness),” Gallagher said. “I put them on for his last race because he kind of ducked out in Louisiana.”

Yankee Bravo is scheduled for a flight to BWI Airport May 14.

Riley Tucker had his final Preakness workout over the training track at Belmont Park May 12, going five furlongs in 1:04, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The track’s clockers caught him in 1:06.09. However, Mott said the clockers had obviously clicked on a workmate a couple lengths ahead of Riley Tucker at the start of his workout. The track was listed as good and the work was listed as 14th of 14 on the surface.

“I thought it was pretty good," Mott said of the effort under exercise rider Leona Willaford. “I talked to the owners (Zayat Stable) and they wanted to know if that was fast enough."

Riley Tucker worked with blinkers on, an equipment change Mott had implemented before his third-place finish in the Lexington Stakes. He is named for one of Mott’s sons, Riley Tucker. He is expected to be on the grounds May 14 or May 15 and is subsequently slated to school in the Pimlico paddock.