Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming got his first feel of Pimlico’s main track Wednesday morning, jogging clockwise once around the historical Baltimore oval under exercise rider Nick Bush at 6:30 a.m. (EDT).
“He looked good. He was bright, alert, checking things out, jogging with the pony,” said assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale. “He was ready to go. The pony had to hang on to him, because he wanted to do a little more. We’re happy with the way he went this morning.
“The [Derby], I think, took nothing out of him. We’re happy. He bounced back almost immediately,” she said.
Always Dreaming is expected to gallop at Pimlico on Thursday with trainer Todd Pletcher in attendance.
Also taking his first steps on the Pimlico surface Wednesday was Royal Mo, who jogged three-quarters of a mile before galloping a mile.
Royal Mo won the Robert B. Lewis (G3), finished ninth in the Rebel (G2) and third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) earlier this year. He did not draw into the Kentucky Derby field from the also-eligible list.
At Churchill Downs on Wednesday, likely Preakness second choice Classic Empire jogged while Gunnevera galloped a mile. Also galloping a mile were the Steve Asmussen-trained pair of Lookin at Lee, the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, and Hence.
“I’ve been very pleased with how they came out of the race,” Asmussen said. “Very impressed with their energy level and how they’re traveling.”
Assistant trainer Norman Casse was similarly upbeat about Classic Empire.
“I think he looked really good,” he said. “His energy level was great. Looks like he’s keeping his weight. All the good signs are there, so we’re excited where he’s at right now.
“It’s the Derby. You know things aren’t going to go your way all the time. He kind of had a bad trip. It started at the very beginning, and that’s just how it goes. But we think we can be competitive against Always Dreaming. We think our best race would put us right there with his best race. We’re excited about the opportunity to face him again.”
Besides Hence, Calumet Farm is now expected to have a second Preakness entry as trainer Doug O’Neill confirmed to Pimlico officials that Term of Art is now being pointed for the race.
“We think he’s a talented colt who deserves a chance in this big race,” said O’Neill, who won the 2012 Preakness with I’ll Have Another. “We think he has classic-type ability and we’re going to roll the dice.”
Jose Ortiz will ride Term of Art, who won the Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar last year and placed in the San Felipe (G2) two back.
Meanwhile, Joel Rosario has been named to ride Illinois Derby (G3) winner Multiplier in the Preakness.