First Preakness Contender Hits Pimlico

First Preakness Contender Hits Pimlico
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Kentucky Bear on track at Pimlico May 8.
Sixteen hours after arriving at Pimlico, Bear Stables’ Kentucky Bear was on the track with assistant trainer and exercise rider Cassie Garcia in preparation for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The son of Mr. Greeley jogged twice around the Pimlico oval at 8:30 a.m.
“I’m super happy with how he settled in,” Garcia said. “We’re happy to be here.”
Kentucky Bear finished third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12. The Reade Baker trainee is expected to work five furlongs at Pimlico May 10.
“I know it’s supposed to rain, so if the track is okay we’ll gallop tomorrow," said Garcia. "If not, we’ll probably jog." “Ever since he came into Kentucky (April 2), he’s built more muscle and he’s actually matured a little more. I think he’s got a great chance coming into this race. Everything’s just clicked perfectly with him.”
Kentucky Bear was joined in the stakes barn by stablemate Bear Now, who shipped down from Baker’s Woodbine base yesterday afternoon. The 4-year-old filly will run in the $150,00 Allaire duPont Distaff (gr. II) on the Preakness undercard. The multiple graded stakes winner is three for four at the 1 1/16-mile distance.
Recapturetheglory, fifth in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will be the second Preakness starter to arrive in Baltimore when he leaves Churchill Downs May 11. On May 8, Recapturetheglory jogged a mile and galloped a mile over the muddy Churchill Downs surface.
The third Preakness starter to ship into Pimlico will be Robert LaPenta’s Stevil, who was fourth in the Blue Grass at Keeneland in his most recent start. Trainer Nick Zito, who has saddled 18 Preakness starters in his Hall of Fame career, plans to work the son of Maria’s Mon at Churchill Downs May 12 and will ship to Pimlico May 13.
Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, who delivered a 4 3/4-length score in the Run for the Roses, is scheduled to land at Baltimore-Washington International airport at 5:45 p.m. May 14.
“Everything’s good here,” trainer Rick Dutrow said the morning of May 8 after the undefeated colt jogged a mile at Churchill.
The Preakness will be a homecoming for Dutrow, the son of legendary trainer Dickie Dutrow, who was born in Maryland, and also for jockey Kent Desormeaux, who won the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice rider while based at Pimlico and Laurel Park in the late 1980’s.
“Every time Preakness would roll around, dad would win a race on Preakness day,” said Dutrow in an National Thoroughbred Racing conference call. “Naturally, I would love to win a race like that. It’s where I grew up…I can’t wait to get there.”
Tres Borrachos and Racecar Rhapsody will also be on the same flight with Big Brown.        
Tres Borrachos walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs May 8, a day after working five furlongs in :59.60. Trainer Beau Greely opted to keep Tres Borrachos at the Louisville oval after the Ecton Park gelding did not make the Derby field because of insufficient graded stakes earnings and shoot for the Preakness rather than targeting a spot such as the $400,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) May 10.
“We try to win big races,” Greely said. “(The Preakness) is a $1 million race, and it’s not every day you get a chance to try it.”
Trainer Kenny McPeek sent Racecar Rhapsody out for a 1 1/2-mile gallop at Churchill Downs. Racecar Rhapsody finished fourth in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in his most recent start April 19, a finish that did not give him enough graded stakes earnings to make the Kentucky Derby field.
“The horse is doing well and the extra distance is an interesting factor,” said McPeek, who has had two previous Preakness starters (Harlan’s Holiday in 2002 and Tejano Run in 1995). Racecar Rhapsody will work five furlongs the morning of May 10.
Yankee Bravo will also arrive on the Tex Sutton flight. At Hollywood Park this morning, the son of Yankee Gentleman   worked seven furlongs in 1:24.20 with jockey Alex Solis in the irons. The Paddy Gallagher trainee has not run since a fourth place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5.
“He didn’t have enough earnings to try and get into the Derby," said Gallagher. "It wasn’t meant to be, so we’ll just try it here in the next one. The Santa Anita Derby was an exciting race to be in and a little disappointing. Alex Solis has great belief. He believes he can get a mile and eighth and further, so that’s why we’re going to try the Preakness.”
Trainer Rick Schosberg plans on shipping Giant Moon to Pimlico May 15 from his Belmont Park base. The son of Giant’s Causeway, who won the first four races of his career, including three stakes races in New York, finished fourth in the April 5 Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher will ship Coolmore Lexington winner Behindatthebar into Pimlico as late as possible, maybe even Preakness morning from his Belmont Park barn. Pletcher said a decision would be made on starting Harlem Rocker, who is a perfect three-for-three, including an impressive score in the April 26 Withers Stakes (gr. III), after the son of Macho Uno  breezes over the weekend.
Other still considering a run in Maryland’s signature race are Macho Again and Riley Tucker.

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