Lukas Horses Take It Easy in Pimlico Slop

From D. Wayne Lukas' perch May 16, at the far end of the Pimlico Race Course stakes barn, he explained how he goes about his business.

"You've got to read what's in front of you," the Hall of Fame trainer said from a chair he brought with him from Kentucky that you'd expect to encounter on a backyard patio, as horses walked the shedrow in front of him. "What you do is you try to determine their energy level—how they're adapting every day. So I can't tell you (what I'm going to do).

"Tomorrow I'll make a decision. I might make it going down that lane (to the track)."

On Wednesday, three days away from the Preakness Stakes (G1) Lukas brought Bravazo and Sporting Chance to run in, the 82-year-old conditioner didn't like the Pimlico main track.

Heavy thunderstorms drenched the Baltimore area Tuesday night, so Bravazo and Sporting Chance didn't do any exerting training on the Pimlico dirt. Robert Baker and William Mack's Sporting Chance went out first and jogged around on the outside rail. Calumet Farm's homebred Bravazo jogged and even cantered at times around the same path. Both schooled in the indoor Pimlico paddock on a drizzly morning.

It's even possible—if forecasts are correct and rainy conditions continue through Preakness weekend—the Lukas pair won't gallop for the last few days heading into the second leg of the Triple Crown.

"If I'm gonna let them roll over it, I'm gonna get paid for it. I've got them fit and sound, so if I take that chance, there's gotta be something at the wire instead of you guys," Lukas said with a playful swipe at the assembled media.

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Lukas may have opted not to gallop his pair, but Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) runner-up Good Magic took his second spin around the Baltimore oval Wednesday. The Curlin  colt again appeared to take to the wet track. Unlike his first gallop at Pimlico on Tuesday, the Chad Brown trainee had little if any sweat built up on his walk back to the barn.

"It was his first day yesterday, and maybe a little more hot than today," said Brown's on-site assistant at Pimlico, Jose Hernandez. "He galloped well, and he handled the track really well. He looks good. You've got to gallop him, and the track was going to be the same whether he went out then or later."

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The fourth Preakness horse on the Pimlico grounds, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Tenfold, walked in the stakes barn Wednesday. The Curlin colt arrived at Pimlico in the afternoon Tuesday and will go to the track for the first time Thursday, according to trainer Steve Asmussen's assistant, Scott Blasi.

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The stakes barn will get more crowded later Wednesday when the four remaining Preakness horses arrive, along with other stakes entrants. Kentucky Derby winner Justify, Derby eighth-place finisher Lone Sailor, and Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) victor Quip will fly in from Kentucky, while Federico Tesio Stakes winner Diamond King will take Interstate 95 from his base at Parx Racing.