Anne M. Eberhardt

Laoban Breezes at Keeneland for Preakness

Multiple graded stakes-placed maiden is longshot for second jewel in Triple Crown.

Multiple graded stakes-placed maiden Laoban  breezed six furlongs in 1:14 2/5 at Keeneland the morning of May 14 in preparation for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

"I put him three jumps behind the horse I'm bringing in for the Sir Barton, Fearless Dragon. They went off in :26 1/5 and finished in :24 flat," trainer Eric Guillot said. "It was an easy maintenance work, just trying to get him to relax."

The son of Uncle Mo , who finished third in the Sham (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park and second in the Gotham (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack, is coming off a run in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), in which he set the pace into the stretch before fading to fourth behind Brody's Cause, My Man Sam, and Cherry Wine. Brody's Cause ran seventh in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and My Man Sam finished 11th. Cherry Wine did not make the field, but is gearing up for the Preakness as well.

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"He's a solid horse," Guillot said. "He's getting better. If you look at the Blue Grass, he ran a lot better visually than he did on paper. Everything was coming from the clouds that day. The horses came from 14th, 13th, and 11th to beat me."

Laoban worked without blinkers and is scheduled to run without them in the Preakness for McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stable.

"The trick is to take the blinkers off and try to get him to relax instead of pulling the jock around there," Guillot said.