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Hard Spun, shown winning the Lane's End, is getting ready for round two.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Hard Spun Trainer Gearing Up for Round Two

Larry Jones, who is still having visions of Street Sense getting shut off somewhere – anywhere – in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is just about ready to drop what might have been and focus all his attention on what will be.

After all, Street Sense, whose remarkable rail-hugging victory under Calvin Borel in the Derby, is now coming to “Pino Country,” as Jones puts it. It is here at Pimlico that Street Sense will give up his home field advantage and attempt to beat Hard Spun again, this time over Pino’s home track.

“Mario is a big lift for us,” said Jones, who trains the Derby runner-up. “He brings so much to the table and were delighted to have him. He got criticized for working the horse too fast before the Derby, but he knew he was very much in hand and had a lot of horse under him.”

Jones still can’t believe how so many jockeys could ignore Street Sense and Borel, and let them roll unmolested along the rail for most of the race.

“Carl is a very good friend of mine, and Calvin rides for me on occasion,” Jones said. “But, trust me, I’m gonna try everything I can to make sure there’s no Triple Crown winner in 2007. I kept telling Calvin before the Derby, ‘If you go to the left of Mario, you’re gonna wind up on the turf course; you’re not getting between us and the aluminum.’

“How can Calvin can ride the rail the way he did and have 15 jockeys give him the rail just like they did in the Breeders’ Cup. Calvin doesn’t think about going anywhere else until option eight or nine. He should have had a bulls eye on him. I don’t want to sound like sour grapes, but it is a little more bitter knowing that if they hadn’t gotten that trip, I might have had a Derby winner. What was unusual was that the rail looked to be the best part of the track, and I can’t figure out why the jocks who watched the races all day didn’t stay on the inside.”

Jones said Hard Spun, owned by Fox Hills Farms, is training at Delaware Park and will van down to Pimlico next Wednesday.

“It’s remarkable how well he came out of such a strenuous mile and a quarter race and his trip back to Delaware,” Jones said. “He’s happy as a lark; almost too good to be true. The reception he got when he returned to Delaware was great. If I didn’t see Street Sense two lengths ahead of me at the wire I would have sworn we won the Derby.”

Jones said as of now, Hard Spun probably will not work before the Preakness. “We’ll see how well he’s doing and play it by ear,” Jones said. “If he needs to blow off some steam well let him do it, but right now no workouts are planned.

“He’s up to a point where he’s starting to run very fast, as fast as horses run here, and I don’t think running back in two weeks after the six weeks off is going to hurt him at all. He's a big strong horse and he came out of the Derby in great shape.

 “One thing is for sure, if Street is gonna win the Triple Crown, we want to make sure he earns it.”

In other Preakness news:

Steve Asmussen confirmed Thursday that Curlin definitely will run in the Preakness, bringing the prospective field to 11.