BALTIMORE, 05-19-14---At his annual post-Preakness media session this morning in the Pimlico winners’ circle, Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas addressed the potential of moving the date of the Preakness Stakes (G1). Last week, Chuckas told print reporters he wanted to change the spacing of the Triple Crown.
“I respect tradition but I also think tradition cannot impede the growth or betterment of the industry,” Chuckas said. “When we get our most attention we tend to consolidate which is not beneficial to the thoroughbred industry as a whole. People might say you will have to put an asterisk by the horse who wins the Triple Crown under these conditions. This schedule has changed often so the bottom line is you don’t have to put an asterisk. If you take a look at the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, all of them have gone through transformations with wild card additions and scheduling changes but do you really believe there should be an asterisk by the Seattle Seahawks because they won the Super Bowl under different conditions that the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 1? I don’t think so.”
Chuckas said he will work with officials at Churchill Downs and the New York Racing Association toward a schedule that has the Kentucky Derby retain its position on the first Saturday in May, while the Preakness would be moved to the first weekend in June and the Belmont Stakes to the first weekend in July.
“The philosophy of the trainers has drastically changed over the years,” added Chuckas. “It is hard for them to bring a horse back from the Derby in two weeks and run a horse three times in a five-week period. Most of them will not do it. But this idea is not just for the Triple Crown races. We have an obligation to the public to put our best racing on the table when the world is watching and we are not doing that. We could promote a Woodford-Dixie-Manhattan series for older turf stars and Triple Crown filly series with the Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan and Acorn. All those things are possible but is going to demand a collaborative effort between the parties to make this happen.”
Only three horses from the May 3 Kentucky Derby competed in Saturday’s Preakness.
CALIFORNIA CHROME WALKS SHEDROW, WILL DEPART PIMLICO TUESDAY MORNING
California Chrome, who will try to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 7, walked the shedrow in the Preakness stakes barn first with assistant trainer Alan Sherman and then with groom Raul Rodriguez Monday morning. Trainer Art Sherman stopped by to say goodbye to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner before heading back to California for the next two weeks.
“He came out of that race great, feeling good,” Alan Sherman said. “He is usually tired for a few days but he was feeling really good. I am starting to realize the significance of it all. It has been a great ride this horse has put us on and I never fathomed we would be one race away from winning the Triple Crown.”
Thirty-three horses have been eligible to win the Triple Crown entering the Belmont but just 11 have succeeded. It has been 36 years since Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1978. There have been only three Triple Crown winners since Citation in 1948.
California Chrome and Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin will leave Pimlico for Belmont Park Tuesday morning at 6 a.m.
Ride On Curlin, who finished 1 ½ lengths behind California Chrome Saturday afternoon, walked the shedrow at the same time as the Preakness winner.
Social Inclusion, who finished third Saturday, is scheduled to return to the track Friday and will leave for New York Sunday.