'Norman,' Mr. Commons in Preakness Tuneups

'Norman,' Mr. Commons in Preakness Tuneups
Photo: benoitphoto.com
Mr. Commons
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With trainer Chris Grove looking on, Norman Asbjornson   turned in his final workout for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Friday, May 13 at Pimlico Race Course.

With jockey Julian Pimentel aboard, the son of 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) winner Real Quiet breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5.
“He’d didn’t have any company. It was educational for him. He got more out of last week’s work. This was more of a maintenance work to keep him in form,” said Grove, whose Pennsylvania-bred colt worked a mile in 1:40 at Pimlico May 6.
Norman Asbjornson turned in fractional times of :13 2/5, :25 4/5, :38 4/5, and :50 1/5 on his way to his official clocking, before galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.
“He went good and handled the track good. He did it pretty easily,” Pimentel said. “He finished up good.”
After cooling out, Norman Asbjornson was vanned back to Bowie Training Center, where he will remain until Preakness morning.
“Everything’s done except a whole lot of gate schooling,” Grove said. “He needs to be gate schooled to make sure he stays focused in the gate.”
Thomas McClay and Harry Nye’s homebred colt finished second behind Stay Thirsty   in the Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 5 before returning to the New York track for the Resorts Casino New York Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), in which he finished fourth.
Later Friday morning at Hollywood Park, Mr. Commons became a definite Preakness candidate following a seven-furlong workout.
With jockey Victor Espinoza in the irons, the Artie Schiller   colt worked seven furlongs, handily, in 1:24 2/5.
“He did it very well, except he was a little strong in the middle part of the work,” trainer John Shirreffs said. “The horse couldn’t have blown a candle out when he got back to the barn. He’s very fit. It was Victor’s first time on him, so I just attribute that to Victor not knowing him.”
It was the third consecutive seven-furlong work for St. George Farm Racing’s homebred colt. He is scheduled to be flown from California to Kentucky on Tuesday, May 16 before completing his journey to Baltimore on Wednesday.
Espinoza has the mount in the Preakness.
Mr. Commons is out of the Apalachee mare Joustabout.

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