Robert LaPenta’s Stevil, fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) in his most recent start, galloped a mile at Churchill Downs under Megan Smillie in preparation for a start in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). It was the first day back at the track for the Nick Zito trainee since working a half-mile in :48.60 on May 5.
John Velazquez, who made his Preakness riding debut last year when he piloted Circular Quay to a fifth-place finish, will have the mount on Stevil in this year’s edition of the classic race.
“John has ridden for me a lot of times,” Zito said. “In fact, he worked Strike the Gold for me at Saratoga when he was a little 18-year-old apprentice.”
Stevil is scheduled to work again early next week and then ship to Baltimore on May 13.
Meanwhile, Jerry Carroll, Stan Kaplan, Ronald Plattner and Mark Guilfoyle’s Racecar Rhapsody, fourth in the April 19 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in his most recent start, is headed to the Preakness, according to trainer Ken McPeek.
“I have been talking it over with Mr. Carroll and we feel like he will like the added distance,” McPeek said. “Maybe we will just be running for second, but that’s not all bad.”
A Kentucky-bred son of Tale of the Cat out of the A.P. Indy mare Reflect the Music, Racecar Rhapsody has compiled a record of 6-1-1-1 with earnings of $148,391. Racecar Rhapsody opened 2008 with a fourth-place finish in the March 22 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park.
Robby Albarado, who has ridden the colt in six of his starts, will have the mount as he shoots for his second consecutive Preakness victory. He piloted Curlin to victory in last year’s Preakness.
Racecar Rhapsody galloped May 7 at Churchill under Jose Castanon, and McPeek said the colt would work sometime this weekend. Since the Coolmore Lexington, Racecar Rhapsody has worked once at Churchill Downs, a five-furlong move in 1:01 on May 2.
Also on the track May 7 with assistant trainer Lara Van Deren up, Louie Roussell III and Ronnie Lamarque’s fifth-place Derby finisher Recapturetheglory jogged a mile and galloped a mile before the renovation break.
“He went great this morning,” said Van Deren, who is playing the waiting game here as owners Ronnie Lamarque and Louie Roussel III decide on whether to go on to the Preakness.
“They wanted to see how he went this morning and Ronnie has already called me three times,” Van Deren said. “I know they are also considering the Ohio Derby (gr. II, May 31).”