Preakness Notes: Large Field Expected
Reddam Racing’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner I'll Have Another was settled into his new home in Barn D at Pimlico Race Course May 8 as the focus has shifted toward the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 19.
Following what is standard procedure for a horse in the days after a race, I’ll Have Another was limited to very light exercise Tuesday morning.
“He walked this morning for about 15 or 20 minutes,” assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said. “He was just taking it all in and looking around. He’s feeling good.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill returned to California May 6 and Sisterson oversaw I’ll Have Another’s move from Churchill Downs to Pimlico the following day. Sisterson said the colt has come out of the Derby in great shape.
“He looks like he never ran,” he said. “He’s eaten everything up. He wants to get out of the barn. He’s quiet once he’s in there, but once he’s out, it’s like, ‘OK, I want to go out to the track now.’ That’s something we want to see. After a race, especially one like the Kentucky Derby, you’re always wondering if it has taken something out of him, but he’s doing fantastic.”
Sisterson said the colt may go to the track to jog May 9 after the renovation break at 8:30 a.m. EDT. He said that O’Neill, who is expected to be at Pimlico May 10, will make the decision on I’ll Have Another’s schedule. I’ll Have Another got celebrity treatment when he arrived by flight from Louisville, receiving an escort by the Baltimore City Police Department from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Pimlico.
“Everything went as smooth as could be,” Sisterson said. “He enjoyed the flight, enjoyed the van ride and took it right in his stride. It was great.”
I’ll Have Another is the first Kentucky Derby winner in more than a decade to ship into Pimlico within a week of the race in Louisville. Since O’Neill is based in California and he does not have a division stabled in Kentucky, he decided to send his Derby winner straight to Baltimore and give him plenty of time to adjust to a new track.
“The guys at Pimlico couldn’t have been better,” Sisterson said. “They are really accommodating to us. Anything we want they get us. They’re stopping by every five minutes asking if there is anything we need. It’s been fantastic. They really like it that we’re here. We’re happy. They’re happy. It’s a winning combination.”
I’ll Have Another leads all Preakness prospects with $2,060,600 on the graded-earnings list, on which the first seven automatically earn a berth in the 14-horse field. I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister (second), Dullahan (third), Went the Day Well (fouth), and Creative Cause (fifth) qualified for automatic Preakness starts by earning a check in the Derby. Hansen and Liaison round out the top seven.
Heinz Steinmann’s Creative Cause is a likely Preakness starter, trainer Mike Harrington said Tuesday. The three-time graded-stakes winner was shipped back to Harrington’s stable in California after he finished fifth in the Derby. Harrington likes the way the colt looks thus far and said he is scheduled to make the trip to Baltimore next week.
“We’re planning on it; we’ve got the flight booked,” Harrington said. “We have to see how he bounces back.”
Creative Cause is scheduled to be on a May 16 flight that originates in California and stops in Louisville to pick up some more horses and completes its journey at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Trainer Graham Motion couldn’t have been more pleased with Went the Day Well’s physical condition Tuesday morning after shipping from Churchill Downs to Team Valor International’s barn at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
“I’m just amazed how this horse has handled everything,” said Motion. “Everything has gone smoothly, knock on wood.”
Motion said he has watched the replay of the Kentucky Derby a half dozen times.
“I’m not sure seeing it that you get a true appreciation for the trouble that he had,” said Motion, who saddled last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, for a second-place finish in the Preakness. “Every time I’ve watched it, it amazes me how in a jump or two more, I think, he hits the board or finishes second.”
J.W. Singer’s Teeth of the Dog, who had been pointed to Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park this weekend, has been confirmed for a start in the Preakness Stakes. The son of Bluegrass Cat finished third in his stakes debut in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct on April 7. In his previous start, he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in a 1 1/8-mile race, in which Went the Day Well came in fourth.
“He came out of the Wood fine and has done well,” said trainer Michael Matz said from his barn at Fair Hill.
Matz reported that Union Rags was doing well after finishing a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Derby after a troubled trip.
“He was outside for three hours this morning,” Matz said. “He came out of the race fine.”
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