BALTIMORE, 05-12-13 –With trainer Al Stall Jr. and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. watching from the grandstand, Illinois Derby (G3) winner Departing worked a half-mile in 50 2/5 seconds over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning in preparation for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1).
“I wanted him to go a little slower the first part than the second part and he hit right on what we were looking for,” Stall said. “He did enough to get the day off tomorrow. He is a gelding and doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He had galloped two miles on Thursday and a spirited mile and half Friday.”
Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Departing is scheduled to walk Monday and then train Tuesday and Wednesday morning before shipping to Pimlico Race Course on Wednesday afternoon. Stall said he has a 2 p.m. flight Wednesday and would be in Baltimore in time for the Preakness draw that afternoon.
Departing will be the second Preakness starter for Stall, whose Terrain finished seventh in 2009 behind eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Like Terrain, Departing did not run in the Kentucky Derby prior to the Preakness.
“After the Louisiana Derby, the Kentucky Derby was off the table with the point system,” Stall said. “It worked out well for us. The Illinois Derby billed itself as a prep for the Preakness and hopefully we can make it successful for the Illinois Derby.”
Waiting at Pimlico when Departing arrives will be Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who shared a paddock at Claiborne Farm in his early days with Departing. Orb is owned by Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable.
“Those families have been down the road before,” Stall said of the Hancocks of Claiborne Farm and the Phippses. “Seeking the Gold and Forty Niner ran against each other in big races like the Derby, Haskell and Travers (in 1988), and I am sure they are all going to try to run their ‘A’ race.”
As many as eight horses that ran in the Derby remain under consideration for the Preakness, headed by Orb.
“Orb will be even money or less,” Stall said of the Derby victor who earned the roses over a sloppy, sealed track. “There have been horses that have rebounded from Derbys, like Louis Quatorze (16th in the 1996 Derby), that won or ran well in the Preakness.
“Goldencents trained well here and then ran a 32 Beyer (Speed Figure) in the Derby. Horses can come back to themselves and run 70 to 80 points higher.”
Stall is eager to get to Baltimore.
“It is exciting and there is maybe more buildup to this than with Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Stall, who saddled Blame for a thrilling victory over previously undefeated Zenyatta in the 2010 Classic at Churchill. “My wife is from Baltimore and we are looking forward to a good time there and enjoying the race.”
ORB – Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb visited the Belmont Park paddock before galloping 1 ½ miles over a sloppy track Sunday morning.
Trainer Shug McGaughey also continued to stay busy with a flood of media requests that come with saddling the winner of the Kentucky Derby.
“I think it’s a big responsibility to accommodate what’s out there and try to portray what the win means to all of us – myself and my family, the Janneys and Phippses and their families and all the people at the barn,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I’d like to get it out there to people that racing can be a fun and rewarding sport.”
Orb, who captured the Derby by 2 ½ lengths a week ago, is scheduled to breeze at Belmont Park Monday morning, as long as the track at Belmont dries out.
“I think it will be fine. The sun’s out, there’s no humidity and the wind’s picking up. I think it’ll be fine,” said McGaughey, who is planning to ship Orb to Pimlico Monday following the scheduled breeze.
ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to work out between races at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon in preparation for a start in the Preakness.
“The racetrack was closed this morning. I’m going to work him between the third and fourth races here at Monmouth,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “Elvis Trujillo is going to work him.”
Itsmyluckyday was ridden by Trujillo in the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 15th, but Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount for the Preakness. Trujillo had previously ridden the Florida-bred colt to victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) before a second-place finish behind Orb in the Florida Derby (G1).
GOLDENCENTS – Trainer Doug O’Neill has decided not to work the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, who has been overseeing the care of O’Neill’s 14 horses at Pimlico, said that a plan for a breeze Monday morning had been scrapped and the colt will gallop up to the Preakness.
“It was never certain that he was going to work. It was kind of tentative,” Sisterson said. “We never worked I’ll Have Another, so we’re going to stay on that schedule.”
O’Neill sent 2012 Derby winner I’ll Have Another to Pimlico two days after his victory at Churchill Downs. The colt flourished in the low-key atmosphere at Pimlico, turned in vigorous gallops and won the Preakness. Goldencents disappointed as the third choice in the Derby wagering, finishing 17th on the sloppy, sealed racetrack. O’Neill followed suit, though, and shipped Goldencents to Pimlico, where he resumed his morning-gallop schedule last Friday under his regular jockey, Kevin Krigger.
”He’s getting enough out of his training where he doesn’t need to work,” Sisterson said. “He’s doing very well.”
Krigger put Goldencents through the same routine Sunday, jogging down the stretch and around the first turn before sending him off to gallop a lap of the track.
“The one thing we’re starting to notice is he’s getting better each day,” Sisterson said. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong since we got here. He seems to be really getting over the track well and striding out. We’re very happy with him.”
O’Neill is scheduled to travel from California to Baltimore on Sunday and be at the barn at Pimlico Monday morning.
In 2012, O’Neill’s stable pony, the retired stakes winner Lava Man, received a lot of attention as he led the Derby winner to and from the track each morning. Lava Man isn’t part of the Preakness scene this year because of his relationship – or lack of it – with Goldencents.
“They’ve got the similarities where they are eager to train. Putting them both together, they wind each other up,” said Sisterson, who has been ponying Goldencents aboard Sapphire. “This is more of a relaxed pony. It’s not to say that Lava Man and Goldencents don’t get along, but we want to have him as relaxed as possible in the morning to the point where he’s getting the most out of his training, instead of being wound up going to the track.”
A member of O’Neill’s staff said it is like putting two Type-A personalities together on a project.
“They kind of butt heads at times,” Sisterson said. “You get that with people. They enjoy training, they want to get on with it and they’re eager to make it happen. That’s both Goldencents and Lava Man.”
GOVENOR CHARLIE – Mike Pegram’s Govenor Charlie had an easy two-mile gallop under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez at Churchill Downs Sunday morning. The Bob Baffert trainee, who schooled in the Churchill paddock during Sunday’s first race, is scheduled to work Monday.
MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s Mylute galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Maurice Sanchez. The fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher is scheduled to work Monday morning.
“It will be an easy half, nothing fancy,” trainer Tom Amoss said.
Jockey Rosie Napravnik is scheduled to be aboard for the work slated for 6 a.m.
NORMANDY INVASION – Trainer Chad Brown reported Sunday afternoon that Rick Porter’s Normandy Invasion will not run in the Preakness Stakes.
“Mr. Porter and I decided to pass on the Preakness with Normandy Invasion and focus on the summer campaign with him,” Brown said.
Normandy Invasion turned in a strong performance in the Kentucky Derby, taking the lead in the stretch before finishing fourth, 3 1/2 lengths behind Orb. Brown ruled out the Preakness on the morning after the Derby but decided on Monday to consider the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown for a few days.
OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Oxbow and Will Take Charge, the sixth- and eighth-place finishers, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby jogged two miles at Churchill Downs and Titletown Five, fourth in the Derby Trial (G3) in his most recent start, galloped 1 ½ miles Sunday morning.
“Oxbow and Will Take Charge will work in the morning and Titletown Five will breeze through the stretch,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.
The Lukas Pimlico contingent that figures to be eight strong is scheduled to leave Louisville by van at 3 a.m. Tuesday.
VYJACK – Pick Six Racing’s Gotham (G3) winner remains a Preakness candidate. Aqueduct-based trainer Rudy Rodriguez said a decision on whether to run the gelding may not be made until Wednesday when entries are taken. Jockey Garrett Gomez had trouble controlling Vyjack early in the Derby. He was up on the pace in the early stages of the race but gave way and finished 18th.