Plenty of new shooters to face Super Saver at Pimlico
Other Derby horses still considering the Preakness are PADDY O'PRADO (El Prado [Ire]), LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) and JACKSON BEND (Hear No Evil). MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein) and CONVEYANCE (Indian Charlie) have not totally ruled out another chance at Super Saver.
Also at Churchill this morning, Ron Anderson, agent for jockey Garrett Gomez, was showing trainer Bob Baffert a list of probable Preakness starters Monday morning when Baffert had a question.
"Hey, where's the gray horse? The gray horse isn't on there," Baffert said of Conveyance, the Kentucky Derby pacesetter. "He is looking good this morning."
Both Conveyance and Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin at Lucky walked the shedrow Monday morning.
"I am going to stay here four or five days and see how the horses are," Baffert said. "Right now, both of them have a 50-50 chance of going."
NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee) has been moved from "doubtful" to "possible" by trainer Kenny McPeek after meeting with the managing partners of Chasing Dreams Racing 2008 Monday afternoon at McPeek's Magdalena Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
It had been reported that Noble's Promise was heading to Royal Ascot for the St. James's Palace S. (Eng-G1) to be run at a mile on the grass on June 15.
"We discussed the race in England, which we think would be a fantastic race but we're concerned about the expense of going over and back plus the purse on that race was modest compared to the Preakness," McPeek said. "We felt like it would be more prestigious to run in the Preakness."
Noble's Promise has 9-3-3-1 career record, including a victory in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland last October. During his sophomore campaign he was nipped at the wire by Lookin at Lucky in the Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park, then was fifth in the Arkansas Derby before a game fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
"He ran a great race," McPeek said. "He is a special colt. Does he have distance limitations? We have to admit he might have them. Do we tinker and see if we can get him to go that far? We're willing to try."
This would be McPeek's fourth Preakness starter. He saddled Tejano Run to a ninth-place finish in 1995 then had a pair of fourth-place finishes with Harlan's Holiday and Racecar Rhapsody in 2002 and 2008, respectively.
"It's an excellent weekend of racing and we're excited to be a part of it," McPeek said. "We think it would be great to come up there and do really well. Right now it's just possible. We're going to watch the next few days and I want to do blood work. He scoped clean after the race and we were pleased with that. He ate up since then. Those are good signs."
More than a half-dozen new shooters are expected to test Super Saver in the Preakness, including stablemate AIKENITE (Yes It's True), who galloped at Churchill Monday morning and is scheduled to breeze Sunday, according to Pletcher.
SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Stephen Got Even) finished ahead of Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on March 13, just missing to Odysseus (Malibu Moon) by a nose with Super Saver a half-length back in third. In his last start, trainer Derek Ryan's colt finished fourth in the Wood Memorial S. (G1) behind Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway), Jackson Bend and Awesome Act (Awesome Again).
"The horse had a minor infection before the Wood," said Ryan, who saddled Musket Man (Yonaguska) to a third-place finish in the 2009 Preakness. "The jock (Ramon Dominguez) told me that the hole closed up on him and he had to check out. That cost us the race and the chance to go to the Derby. It might be a blessing in disguise because he's been doing great since then."
Ryan plans to work Schoolyard Dreams Wednesday or Thursday at Monmouth Park in company with Ponzi Scheme (Sunday Break [Jpn]), another three-year-old in his stable.
Trainers Mike Machowsky and Graham Motion have scheduled weekend works at Santa Anita and Pimlico for CARACORTADO (Cat Dreams) and TURF MELODY (Maria's Mon), respectively, in final preparation for the Preakness.
Caracortado won the first five races of his career, including the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2), but finished third in the San Felipe S. (G2) and fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 3 and did not have enough graded earnings to land a spot in the Derby.
Turf Melody has finished off the board in three starts this year, all Grade 3 races. Motion finished third in the 2008 Preakness with Icabad Crane (Jump Start). Motion, now based at the Fair Hill Training Center, was stabled at Laurel for many years.
Tony Dutrow grew up on the backside at Laurel where his father, the legendary Dickie Dutrow, conditioned. The 52-year-old was a top Maryland conditioner in Maryland for years before moving to the Philadelphia-Delaware region because of slots-enhanced purses. A LITTLE WARM (Stormin Fever), who has been first or second in six of seven lifetime starts, would be his first Triple Crown starter.
"We are definitely hoping to run in the Preakness," Dutrow said from his Philadelphia Park headquarters. "He just had a walk day today and will resume training tomorrow, galloping at Delaware Park. A workout is tentatively scheduled for the weekend."
However, Daily Racing Form reported late Monday that A Little Warm's Preakness status is now up in the air as the colt has been fighting a temperature since shipping from Florida.
Dutrow's younger brother Rick won the Preakness in 2008 with Big Brown. Dickie Dutrow, who won nine training titles at Pimlico and Laurel in the 1970s before relocating to New York, finished sixth in the 1998 Preakness with Spartan Cat. Dutrow was impressed with Super Saver's performance.
"I thought he was a very live horse going into the Derby," Dutrow said. "I think if he comes into the Preakness in the same way he's going to be a serious horse. He has been very well managed."
The first three finishers in the Derby Trial S. (G3), HURRICANE IKE (Graeme Hall), Aikenite and PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King), are expected in the May 15 Preakness.
Hurricane Ike is one of three horses John Sadler is leaving at Churchill Downs from his nine-horse contingent that came in for Derby Week. The remainder of that group, including Kentucky Derby runners Sidney's Candy (Candy Ride [Arg]) and Line of David, are scheduled to return to California on Tuesday. Hurricane Ike is scheduled to work twice leading up to the Preakness, including Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.
"He is a horse that is on the improve," Sadler said. "He is not far behind the other two. He just had some minor things happen during the Derby trail but he is a pretty nice horse."
Pleasant Prince has five in-the-money finishes in nine career starts, including a second in the Florida Derby (G1) where he lost a bob of heads to Ice Box. He will train at Keeneland before shipping to Baltimore on May 12.
"He just doesn't want any part of a mile and the Derby Trial was almost like a workout for him," trainer Wesley Ward said. "He got up for third just in a gallop. He has been training great at Keeneland ever since."
Ward plans on breezing the colt a sharp five furlongs Sunday morning.
"I want to make sure of his fitness and make sure he comes out the work with everything in good order," Ward said. "He's just an easy, beautiful horse to train. He does everything right. He's really a good feeling colt when he's out on the track but he's goes back to the barn he just lays down and sleeps all day. He's just a wonderful horse to train. He doesn't have any physical issues, no problems to him."
All three Derby Trial horses will ship to Pimlico on a Tex Sutton plane that will also include Super Saver.
The Preakness field may have lost a new shooter in Bushwhacked (Posse). Hall of Fame conditioner Jonathan Sheppard reports the colt has a temperature of 103.
"We are going to be very cautious with him, and with a race as important as the Preakness only two weeks away, we will have to see," Sheppard said. "We are looking for improvement, but right now it appears the race is unlikely."
The Preakness field is limited to 14 starters. If more are properly nominated by May 12, the day of the post position draw, the starters will be determined with the first seven horses given preference by the highest lifetime earnings in graded stakes. The next four starters will be determined by the highest lifetime earnings in all non-restricted stakes, which means those stakes whose conditions contain no restrictions other than age or sex. The remaining three starters will be determined by the highest lifetime earnings in all races.
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