One Day And Counting: What's Happening With The Preakness Horses

(Edited Pimlico press release)

Following is Friday morning's update on the Preakness horses:

CHEROKEE'S BOY--Bowie-based colt by Citidancer stayed lose on Friday by galloping a mile over the training track. The homebred is ready to put his three-for-three mark at Pimlico on the line Saturday when he attempts to become the first Maryland-bred to win the Preakness in two decades.

Owned and bred by ZWP Stables (Foard Wilgis and Dave Picarello) and trained by Gary Capuano, Cherokee's Boy and his Preakness Stakes start is a story in search of a fairy tale ending.

ZWP Stables purchased it's first runner (Cherokee Wonder) in 1992 for $5,500 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sales. Cherokee Wonder became a multiple stakes winner and is the dam of Cherokee's Boy.

"After we got our first horse, we didn't know what to do with her," Picarello said. "We talked to some jockeys (John Luzzi and Mark Johnston) and they said that Gary (Capuano) was a good young trainer getting started, and that he would pay a lot of attention to our horse. It wasn't that long ago that we were just racing fans that got excited to watch the Preakness, and now we have a horse running in the Preakness."

FOUFA'S WARRIOR - At his home base at Laurel, Sondra Bender's Maryland-bred gelding walked the shed row with a rider aboard Friday morning. That was all that was needed to put the final touches on his preparations for Saturday's 128th running of the $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

"I had planned to take him to the track, but there was no reason to get him wet because we're ready to go," trainer Larry Murray said. "We have been setting on go for a good while."

Ramon Dominguez will ride the son of Jade Hunter. The pair will break from post three in the 10-horse field. They will be looking to score the first Preakness victory by a Maryland-bred since Deputed Testamony's triumph in 1983.

FUNNY CIDE--The Kentucky Derby winner galloped Friday morning at Belmont and then shipped to Pimlico, arriving in early afternoon.

Meanwhile, Funny Cide and trainer Barclay Tagg received a glowing commendation from a rival camp. Jennifer Pedersen, trainer of New York Hero, confided that she had bet on the Sackatoga Stable long shot in the Kentucky Derby at 12-1.

"I felt that Barclay did a brilliant job getting him up to the race," Pedersen said.

KISSIN SAINT - The Kissin Kris colt got a feel for the Pimlico strip early Friday morning, galloping once around the one-mile oval. "He went nice and easy," trainer Lisa Lewis said. "It's his first time out of New York and he was looking around a lot."

Kissin Saint has raced twice on "off" tracks and finished third both times, including a muddy surface in the Grade I Wood Memorial. "As long as it's safe, he'll run," Lewis said.

MIDWAY ROAD - The Neil Howard-trained long shot, owned by William S. Farish, was sent out over the very sloppy Pimlico oval at around 7:30 a.m. Friday. Earlier in the week, Howard had said that an off-track may well suit the long shot son of Jade Hunter,

NEW YORK HERO -The Maryland-bred, one of three in the Preakness field, arrived back in his home state on Thursday at 5:10 p.m. after a van ride from Aqueduct.

Trainer Jennifer Pedersen sent New York Hero for a light work on Friday morning and expressed real satisfaction with his condition.

"I've got a great horse...and a patient rider," she enthused.

Jorge Chavez will be aboard the Paraneck Stable runner for the first time.

Pedersen will be making her second try at a win in the Preakness classic on Saturday afternoon, but no matter what the outcome, she's likely to be back next year. "I have sixty of the most stunning two-year olds at Saratoga," she said.

PEACE RULES - The Kentucky Derby third-place finisher arrived Thursday at 2:45 p.m. and galloped at 6:45 a.m. Friday. Trainer Bobby Frankel and owner Edmund Gann both were on hand as the chestnut colt got his first feel of the wet Pimlico surface.

Peace Rules is scheduled to school in the paddock before the second race Friday.

Peace Rules has raced once on an off-track, finishing fifth on a sloppy surface at Saratoga last August. Asked if track conditions will be a factor, Frankel said, "We'll worry about that tomorrow."

SCRIMSHAW/TEN CENTS A SHINE -- If everything was as dependable as the training regimen of D. Wayne Lukas, there would be no such thing as long shots. Despite the fierce rainstorm, both horses were out on the track early as usual - even as other conditioners were reassessing their morning plans.

The trainer continues to be pleased with the progress of his colts and was optimistic about track conditions for Preakness day, citing many past pleasant experiences with track superintendent, John Passero.

"Every time I thought the track would be off...I've been surprised. He does a great job."

On Saturday, Scrimshaw runs as a mutuel entry with Senor Swinger, both being owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis---and long-time rival, Bob Baffert will train the other half of the entry. Lukas pooh-poohed the notion that the two trainers don't get along, and cited examples of a long-time friendship among fierce competitors.

But he insisted that the two did not strategize for the Preakness.

"The riders (Pat Day and Gary Stevens) might discuss strategy," he admitted. But Lukas pointed out that it would be unfair for him to enter into the plans since the chances of his other runner, Ten Cents A Shine, could be compromised and "Shine" runs for other interests.

Lukas was also asked about Barclay Tagg's decision to bring Funny Cide to Pimlico late in the week. "I've come at the last minute...but never to a race as big as the Preakness," he said. "A rule that often works is to come three days or three hours before the race."

SENOR SWINGER -The gray/roan son of El Prado, took a splashing gallop over Pimlico's main course Friday morning under the watchful eye of trainer Bob Baffert. The exercise took place during a steady rain.

"He looked great, and he looked wet," Baffert said. "I also looked wet, but I'm not sure about great."

Owned by Robert and Beverly Lewis, Senor Swinger will break from the far outside post (No. 10) in Saturday's $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes. Because of common ownership, he is coupled in the betting with Scrimshaw. Scrimshaw is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, and the entry is listed as 5-1 on the morning line.

"You don't see a Lukas/ Baffert entry everyday," Baffert said. "On such a special occasion, I guess one of us will have to carry the other one to the winner's circle."