Smarty Expected at Pimlico in a Week; Imperialism May Go

(from Pimlico report)
Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones is expected to ship to Baltimore either next Wednesday or Thursday for the 129th Preakness Stakes. The undefeated colt paid his first visit to the racetrack since his victory when he jogged at Philadelphia Park Wednesday morning.

"We might come Wednesday afternoon for convenience because the draw is that night," said trainer John Servis, who will throw out the first pitch at next Friday's Orioles-Angels game. "I'm not going to do a whole lot with him. The Preakness is right back in two weeks. I'm just concentrating on keeping him happy. I really like what I saw this morning, he was nice and calm."

Three horses who finished behind Smarty Jones are pointing to the Preakness: runner-up Lion Heart, morning line choice The Cliff's Edge and Borrego.

Third place finisher Imperialism, who was ruled out on Sunday morning, is now being considered for the Preakness. Owner Steve Taub and trainer Kristin Mulhall have reserved a spot on next Tuesday's Tex Sutton flight from Los Angeles.

"The horse is arriving back this afternoon and will be going to Kristin's Hollywood Park barn," said Taub. "The reservation was made just in case. We will not know a thing until this weekend. The door is not closed, the door is not open. There is a possibility the horse will run in the Preakness but he will be the dictator."

Three who didn't run in the Kentucky Derby are expected to challenge as well: Eddington, Rock Hard Ten and Water Cannon. In the last 50 years only six new shooters have won the Preakness: Greek Money (1962), Bee Bee Bee (1972), Codex (1980), Aloma's Ruler (1982), Deputed Testamony (1983) and Red Bullet (2000).

Trainer Jason Orman has confirmed that Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will ride Rock Hard Ten in the middle jewel of the Visa Triple Crown. The two-time winner of the Preakness is a perfect two-for-two aboard the son of Kris S. This will be the 15th Preakness mount for Stevens, moving him into a second place tie with Eddie Arcaro.

Eddington will work at Belmont Park on Saturday morning and is scheduled to ship to the Pimlico stakes barn on Wednesday.

"He's training super right now," said conditioner Mark Hennig. "He came out of his work last Saturday real well and everything is right on schedule. This horse had been running every three weeks this winter, so I don't feel that missing the Derby will be detrimental. It will probably be more of an advantage."