Greeley's Galaxy, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. I) and 11th in last week's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), tuned up for an expected run in the Preakness (gr. I) with a sharp five furlong work in the slop on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The son of Mr. Greeley, owned by B. Wayne Hughes, hit the track shortly after it opened at 6 a.m. and covered the distance in 1:00 1/5 over a surface that was rated "sloppy" following heavy overnight rains. The move was easily the best of six at the distance and impressed exercise rider Mikki Fincher, who has been in the saddle aboard the Warren Stute-trained colt since he arrived at Churchill Downs.
"I was very pleased with him," said Fincher. "He's not always the best finisher, and today he was much improved. He didn't mind that track at all. I was worried that maybe he wouldn't be comfortable on it. For a horse that's galloped only three days since the big race, he sure worked really, really well."
Fincher said Greeley's Galaxy did what he was asked to do, and she was pleased with the manner in which he accomplished that task.
"I thought he felt real good and did it more honestly," she said. "He finished for me better than usual. Now, they didn't ask me to gallop out, so he didn't gallop out strong. I think they only gave me (a minute) 16-and change for the three-quarters. But they did not ask me to gallop out, so I definitely just stood up on him and let him do it within himself." "That's good," Stute said when informed of the workout. "Just what I wanted. It's been a week since the Derby, and he needed the exercise."Stute spoke about training horses and his outlook on life.
"I'll never retire. Charlie Whittingham was the same way. At the racetrack, something new happens every day. You never get bored. In my case, I'm lucky to have such good owners. Owners make the difference. "One owner approached me and said he was looking for a trainer with experience. I told him 'You want a guy with experience, I'm your man. "Every morning I wake up at 4 a.m. I try to turn the alarm clock off quickly so I don't wake up my wife. For the last 40 years, I've had breakfast with my friend (fellow trainer) Henry Moreno. I drink a lot of coffee."
Greeley's Galaxy is expected to ship to Pimlico for the second jewel in the Visa Triple Crown on May 18.
Other possible Preakness contenders on the grounds at Churchill Downs include the victorious Giacomo, the Craig Dollase-trained Wilko (6th in the Derby), the Nick Zito-trained trio of High Fly (10th), Noble Causeway (14th) and Sun King (15th), the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Going Wild (18th), and the Bobby Frankel-trained High Limit (20th).