Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Churchill Downs Barn Notes (5.14.2012)
KENTUCKY DERBY RUNNER-UP BODEMEISTER A ‘GO’ FOR PREAKNESS – Trainer Bob Baffert got his first look at Kentucky Derby (Grade I) runner-up Bodemeister since the morning after the “Run for the Roses” Monday at Churchill Downs and liked what he saw from the colt’s 1 ½-mile gallop around a muddy oval.
“He looks good, his coat is good and he is eating well,” Baffert said after the colt completed his activity under exercise rider George Alvarez. “I see no reason not to take him (to Baltimore for Saturday’s Preakness).”
“He ran an amazing race,” Baffert said. “At the eighth pole when (jockey) Mike (Smith) went to the left-handed stick, the yellow caution light came on. He tried to fight back and he hung on for second. He was glorious in defeat.”
Baffert liked how Bodemeister bounced out of the race.
“He cooled out quickly and started to eat right after the race,” Baffert said. “I was worried that he might be wiped out and just stay in the back of his stall for three days and sulk, but he never did.”
Baffert said that Bodemeister would not have a work before the Preakness.
“I didn’t work (2010 Preakness winner) Lookin At Lucky after the Derby,” Baffert said. “If a horse didn’t really run or didn’t show up in the Derby, I might breeze them to see if I was missing something.”
Bodemeister entered the Kentucky Derby off a 9 ½-length victory in the Arkansas Derby (GI) when he was ridden for the first time by Smith.
“He deserves it (a shot at the Preakness),” Baffert said of Bodemeister. “He won the Arkansas Derby and then came back in three weeks and ran a great race. He looks good and I don’t see why he can’t run another one.”
Also observing the morning activity was co-owner Ahmed Zayat, who has now had horses finish second in three of the past four runnings of the Kentucky Derby.
“I keep waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning dreaming about the race,” said Zayat, whose Nehro finished second in 2011 and Pioneerof the Nile was second in 2009.
Does Bodemeister win the Derby in the dream?
“No, he does not,” Zayat said.
On the track earlier in the morning was Baffert’s sixth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Liaison, who galloped 1 ½ miles under Alvarez.
Baffert said he would talk with owner Arnold Zetcher today about the Preakness for Liaison.
“Liaison ran a big race in the Derby and is doing well,” Baffert said. “We will discuss our options with him and if we feel he will be competitive in there (the Preakness), we will take him up there.”
Baffert said if Liaison did not run in the Preakness, a couple of options would be the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 9 or a return to California for the $150,000 Californian (G2) at 1 1/8 miles at Betfair Hollywood Park.
ECLIPSE AWARD WINNER HANSEN TO BYPASS PREAKNESS -- Trainer Mike Maker said Monday that 2011 Eclipse Award winner Hansen would not be running in Saturday’s Preakness at Pimlico.
“He is not going,” Maker said of the ninth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. “That would be coming back a little quick.”
Hansen, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Churchill Downs last fall to cement his championship status, is owned by his breeder, Dr. Kendall Hansen, and Skychai Racing.
Maker indicated that Hansen likely would be pointed to the $400,000 Woody Stephens (GII) to be run at seven furlongs on the Belmont Stakes (GI) Day card June 9.
COZZETTI DRILLS BULLET FIVE-EIGHTHS IN THE MUD -- The Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Cozzetti indicated his readiness for Saturday’s Preakness by working a bullet five furlongs in the Churchill Downs mud in :58.80.
With Tammy Fox aboard, Cozzetti came out after the morning renovation break and working on his own reeled off fractions of :11.60, :23.20, :34.80, :46.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.40 and seven-eighths in 1:27.40. The move was the best of 10 at the distance.
“It was a good five-eighths work,” said trainer Dale Romans, who won the Preakness with Shackleford last year.
Romans indicated that Cozzetti probably would to the track Wednesday morning before flying to Pimlico.
In his most recent start, Cozzetti finished fourth behind Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby (GI).
PIMLICO-BOUND OPTIMIZER BREEZES FOR LUKAS -- Bluegrass Hall LLC’s Optimizer completed the Kentucky portion of his training for the Preakness by working a half-mile in :49.80 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
With exercise rider Joel Cano up, Optimizer was the first horse to work over a track labeled as sloppy when the track opened at 6 o’clock. Working on his own, Optimizer recorded fractions of :13.20, :25.60 and :37.60.
“Every 10 years, they get it right. That was perfect,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said of the move that was the 14th fastest of 25 at the distance.
Optimizer is scheduled to leave Churchill Downs early Tuesday morning for a van ride to Baltimore where he will complete his training for Lukas, who is shooting for a sixth Preakness victory.
DERBY TRIAL WINNER HIERRO WORKS, BUT WILL PASS ON PREAKNESS - Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Hierro, winner of The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on the Opening Night of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet, worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 over a track labeled as muddy at the time.
But the work did not earn Hierro a spot in the Preakness starting gate. A representative of Stonestreet Stables said later in the morning that Stonestreet’s Barbara Banke had decided against a Preakness run by the son of Hard Spun and “other options” would be considered for the colt.
Coming out after the morning renovation break with exercise rider Carlos Rosas up, Hierro worked on his own and posted fractions of :12.80, :25.40, :37.40, :49 and out six furlongs in 1:14.80. The move was the third fastest of 10 at the distance.
“Obviously he likes the wet track as we saw the other day,” trainer Steve Asmussen said referring to Hierro’s victory on a sloppy track in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) in his most recent start. “He went really nice this morning.”
Asmussen also said that J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Isn’t He Clever would not be running in the Preakness.
“We are going to wait for something after the Preakness,” Kirk Robison said from El Paso, Texas. “The horse could not be doing any better and Steve said he worked well this morning (a half-mile in :51.60 over a track rated as sloppy).
“We are going to wait for the right spot with him and I’ll let Steve tell me what that spot is.”
WORKTAB – Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Daddy Nose Best, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, worked a half-mile in :53 over a “sloppy” track before the renovation break under Carlos Rosas. … Zayat Stables LLC’s Paynter, runner-up in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII), worked a half-mile in :50.20 after the renovation break under George Alvarez.
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