Gary Stevens to Ride Scrimshaw in Preakness

Gary Stevens to Ride Scrimshaw in Preakness
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Lukas taps Stevens to ride Scrimshaw in Preakness.
Churchill Downs press release: D. Wayne Lukas has enlisted the aid of a longtime partner in his effort to derail the Visa Triple Crown bid of Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide in next week's Preakness.

Lukas said Friday that Gary Stevens, who won Kentucky Derbys for Lukas with Winning Colors (1988) and Thunder Gulch (1995), will ride Robert and Beverly Lewis' Scrimshaw in the second jewel of the Visa Triple Crown next week at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course. Cornelio Velasquez rode the son of Gulch to an 11th-place finish in Kentucky Derby 129.

"I've had good luck with Gary," said Lukas. "That's a tough track to navigate. I think experience is important there and we just thought we'd try something a little different."

Lukas said the switch to Stevens should not be taken as a reflection on the Derby ride by Velasquez. He said he would continue to use Velasquez during the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs. "We're not in any way, shape or form making a change because of his ability," Lukas said.

Lukas said Scrimshaw would work early next week -- with Tuesday being the most likely date for that move -- before the colt flies to Baltimore on Wednesday. Scrimshaw galloped over a "fast" track at Churchill Downs on Friday.

Lukas will be sending four other horses to Pimlico for Preakness Week stakes races, including Shah Jehan for the Maryland Breeders' Cup; Desert Warrior for the Sir Barton; Repository for the Very One Stakes and Hot Hand for the Woodlawn.

Trainer Bob Baffert's prospective starters for the Preakness – Phil Chess' Indian Express and Robert and Beverly Lewis' Senor Swinger -- galloped on Friday at Churchill Downs and the colts will work one time before they depart for Baltimore on Wednesday.

"We'll work them on Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather," said assistant trainer John Good. "We want to be flexible."

Workout rider Dana Barnes will be aboard for those moves and is expected to arrive in Louisville on Saturday evening. Baffert is spending a few days in California and is also expected to return on Saturday.

William S. Farish's Midway Road is scheduled for a Monday breeze at Churchill Downs that could prompt trainer Neil Howard to move the colt from the list of "possible" starters in the Preakness to a "definite" contender for the second jewel of the Visa Triple Crown.

"We're doing like a few other people are doing," Howard said, "just kind of staying focused on what our horse is doing but also watching how things are developing."

Howard said Midway Road, a homebred son of Jade Hunter who is coming off an easy victory in a Keeneland allowance race, would have an easy four furlong breeze on Monday. If the decision is to go on to the Preakness, Midway Road would travel to Baltimore on Tuesday with stablemate Mineshaft, the winner of the New Orleans Handicap (GII) and Ben Ali (GIII) who will run in the Pimlico Special (GI) on May 16. Midway Road last worked on Wednesday, when he covered six furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:13.60.

"He breezed well and he's doing good, but it's a big jump," Howard said. "You have to be careful with a horse that wins like that at Keeneland -- it could be a little misleading. He ran a good race -- don't get me wrong. It was a race that you would make you very confident about going to the next level, whether that's another allowance race or going into a Grade III somewhere. But going to a Grade I, much less a classic, that's still a little bit of a gray area."

Howard won the Preakness in his only attempt with Dogwood Stable's Summer Squall in 1990.

In other Preakness news, Kissin Saint, third in the Wood Memorial, is being considered by trainer Lisa Lewis.

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