Wednesday Preakness Notes: 14 Entered; Scrappy T in Final Workout

As 14 horses were entered Wednesday for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Scrappy T turned his final workout, getting three furlongs in :37 3/5 in what was described as a "maintenance work."

GIACOMO – The Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner shipped to Pimlico aboard the second flight of horses out of Churchill Downs.

The John Shirreffs-trained colt, who shocked the world with his 50-1 Derby upset, is not expected to be favored in the Preakness. Mike Smith rides the Holy Bull colt, who is owned by Jerome and Ann Moss.

AFLEET ALEX – The third-place Kentucky Derby finisher took a detour before embarking on his mile and a half gallop Wednesday morning. Trainer Tim Ritchey sent the son of Northern Afleet  to the starting gate for a casual schooling session at Pimlico.

"It's just a normal routine to show respect to the starter. They don't actually request it, but it's a good thing to do to familiarize your horse (with the gate) and the assistant starters with your horse," Ritchey said.

Although Afleet Alex may well enter the starting gate as the betting favorite for Saturday's Preakness Stakes, Ritchey continued to keep his focus on the goal of winning the middle jewel of the Triple Crown with Cash Is King LLC's stable star in his home state.

"I'm gratified. I feel very lucky to be in this position, but at the same time, I can't get caught up in the emotions, because I have a job to do," said the Elkton, Md., resident. "If I don't sit back and do my job, obviously being the favorite isn't going to help."

Yet Ritchey acknowledged that Afleet Alex's stalking style of running should be well suited to the Preakness.

"I think the race will set up well for my horse. I don't think you'll have a suicide pace like you did in the Derby," he said. "I think the riders will be well aware of the pace they set in the Derby. The heads-up riders are certainly going to take back a bit and not be going quite as fast."

Ritchey was quick to give credit to Giacomo for his 50-1 upset victory in the Kentucky Derby.

"That horse made up a lot of ground quite a few times on the California racetracks, so I think the mile and a quarter distance in the Derby, where everybody was faltering a little bit off the hot pace, really set it up for him," he said. "Hindsight is 20-20, but you certainly could make a case because the horse does close every time he goes a distance of ground. He's probably the horse in the Belmont, unless another horse comes out of the woodwork that everybody else is going to have to beat."

CLOSING ARGUMENT – The Successful Appeal  colt, a shocking second at 71-1 in the Kentucky Derby, arrived at Pimlico late Wednesday morning after a van ride from Belmont Park.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was due in later in the afternoon.

Closing Argument, who has never been worse than third in eight career starts for owners Philip and Marcia Cohen, will have regular rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard Saturday.

GALLOPING GROCER – The New York-bred colt, owned by Robert Rosenthal and Bernice Waldbaum, is scheduled to van to Pimlico on Friday morning from Belmont Park.

Trainer Dominick Schettino has had the son of A P Jet galloping at Belmont since last Saturday, when the gelding breezed five furlongs in a quick :59.40.

Joe Bravo will be aboard for the first time in the Preakness.

GOING WILD – The Golden Missile colt arrived at Pimlico a little before 10 a.m. Wednesday after catching the first flight out of Churchill Downs.

The D. Wayne Lukas charge finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby. Robby Albarado has been named to ride.

GOLDEN MAN – Michael Dubb's runner was excluded from the Preakness field because of insufficient earnings. The Rick Dutrow-trained gelding has lifetime earnings of $59,100.

GREELEY'S GALAXY – B. Wayne Hughes' colt, who was supplemented to the Triple Crown for $200,000, arrived at Pimlico just before 10 a.m. Wednesday after a flight from Louisville.

The 83-year-old Warren Stute trains the Golden Missile colt, who finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby. He'll have a new rider Saturday in David Flores.

HAL'S IMAGE – The Halo's Image colt just walked under the shedrow Wednesday morning after arriving on a van from Calder at 2:45 a.m.

Trainer Barry Rose was on hand to greet the colt, who is a half-brother to Hal's Hope, the eighth-place Preakness finisher in 2000.

"He looks like he shipped great," Rose said. "It was a long ride, and we took it easy with him today. He didn't even get a bath because it was too chilly. He'll gallop Thursday morning to get a look at the track."

Hal's Image, who won the Unbridled Stakes at Calder last out, shipped to Aqueduct in April to run in an allowance event, and finished second.

"We wanted to see how he would run in cooler weather," Rose said, "and he seemed to appreciate the change in climate."

Jose Santos, who won the 2003 Preakness aboard Funny Cide, will have the mount Saturday.

HIGH FLY/NOBLE CAUSEWAY/SUN KING – The three Nick Zito-trained runners were due at Pimlico late Wednesday afternoon aboard the last of three flights from Louisville.

Live Oak Plantation's High Fly was 10th in the Kentucky Derby, while My Meadowview Farm's Noble Causeway was 14th and Tracy Farmer's Sun King was 15th.

HIGH LIMIT – The Maria's Mon colt, who will wear blinkers for the first time in the Preakness, was due to arrive at Pimlico in early afternoon aboard the second of three flights out of Louisville. Bobby Frankel trains the colt for Gary and Mary West, and has named Edgar Prado to ride for the first time.

MALIBU MOONSHINE – The local hope, trained by King T. Leatherbury, will ship to Pimlico from Laurel Park on Saturday morning. Steve Hamilton has been named to ride.

"He's fine," the trainer said . "He galloped a mile and a half again this morning. We're on schedule to arrive on Saturday morning."

Leatherbury has done his handicapping for the Preakness.

"There's no question that Afleet Alex is the horse to beat," he said. "He's simply the most logical winner. I think the horses most likely to upset him are the ones who were well backed but who ran poorly in the Derby."

Malibu Moonshine won the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico last out on April 23, and last year took an allowance race over this strip.

This will be Leatherbury's first Preakness starter since 1985, and only his fourth runner in the race. Leatherbury, who has more than 6,000 career training wins – the vast majority in Maryland – will be looking for his first Preakness victory. He was fourth with I Am The Game in 1985; fourth with Thirty Eight Paces in 1981, and fifth with Indigo Star in 1978.

SCRAPPY T – The stakes winner breezed three furlongs in :37.60 at Pimlico Wednesday morning in preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes. Jockey Ramon Dominguez, who picked up the mount on Scrappy T, was aboard for the workout.

"(Trainer Robbie Bailes) was just looking for a little maintenance work," Dominguez said. "He wasn't really looking for anything fast. It was just right. He had his ears forward down the lane, going really easy. He took the blinkers off him to relax him more. I had a chance to be on him one other time last week, and that was a quicker work. We were looking for a little more speed. He had the blinkers that day. It felt like two different horses. He was so laid back today."

Marshall Dowell's Scrappy T has been a strong pace factor in most of his races, but the gelded son of Fit to Fight gave his trainer every indication that he can be rated just off the pace during his Withers victory.

"Most of it's going to be up to Ramon," Bailes said. "If the pace up there is easy enough, we're not going to let them walk the dog on us. We'll be on them if the pace is right."

Scrappy T, who has never finished worse than third in nine lifetime starts despite his usual involvement in setting or forcing a strong early pace, is aptly named.

"He's something. He's had a couple of races in the past when I've seen the fractions, and I said, 'He's going to die; he's going to stop.' But he keeps going, keeps going," Bailes said of his first Preakness entrant.

WILKO – The Awesome Again  colt was due at Pimlico in early afternoon after catching the second flight of horses from Churchill Downs.