The 3-year-old son of Flower Alley was led from his stall by groom Benjamin Perez and stepped onto the van at 1:19 p.m. (EDT) for the brief trip to Louisville International Airport, where he caught his flight to Baltimore.
BODEMEISTER/LIAISON/PAYNTER – It was a quiet Monday morning on the Bob Baffert side of Barn 33 at Churchill Downs as the trainer’s two Kentucky Derby runners walked under the watchful eye of assistant Jim Barnes.
Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s Bodemeister (second) and Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison (sixth) are considered as possible for the Preakness although no decision will be made until Baffert returns from Southern California this weekend.
Also walking the shedrow Monday was Zayat Stables’ Paynter, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Sunday and also is considered a possible Preakness participant. Paynter finished second here in the April 28 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (G3) that was run on a sloppy track.
Also considered possible to head to Pimlico from the Baffert barn is Peachtree Stable’s undefeated filly Mamma Kimbo, Two-for-two in her career with a victory in the Fantasy (G2) in her most recent start, Mamma Kimbo worked a bullet five-eighths in :58.80 on Sunday as a prep for a possible start in the May 18 Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
COZZETTI/DULLAHAN – Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Cozzetti, worked five furlongs after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs in 1:01.
Working on his own with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar up, Cozzetti broke off at the half-mile pole and posted fractions of :12.60, :24.80, :37, :48.80 and out six furlongs in 1:13.80 and seven-eighths in 1:27.20. The move was the fifth fastest of 19 at the distance.
“I thought he worked well,” trainer Dale Romans said of the Cozzetti, who finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start.
Romans, who won the Preakness last year with Shackleford, plans to take Cozzetti to Pimlico for a bid to make him the first trainer since Bob Baffert in 2001-02 to take the Preakness in consecutive years. Baffert won with Point Given and War Emblem.
Cozzetti has amassed $85,000 in graded stakes earnings from the Arkansas Derby and a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
“The Preakness is still on if he can get in,” Romans said.
The breakdown for the 14-horse Preakness field is the top seven horses in graded stakes earnings that would include the top five finishers in the Kentucky Derby, the next four spots to horses with the highest lifetime earnings minus restricted stakes with the final three spots reserved for those with highest total earnings.
Romans could have one other Preakness entrant in third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Dullahan for Donegal Racing.
“We are going to talk it over in a little while, but we are not committed to the race yet,” said Jerry Crawford, manager of Donegal.
HANSEN – Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing’s Hansen walked the shedrow at trainer Mike Maker’s barn at the Trackside Training Center.
Maker said the 2011 Eclipse Award winner as champion 2-year-old came out of his ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby in good order and is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday.
HIERRO/ISN’T HE CLEVER – Stonestreet Stables’ Hierro, winner of The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (G3) here on April 28, worked a half-mile in :52 under exercise rider Carlos Rosas before the morning renovation break.
Working on his own, Hierro posted fractions of :12.80, :25.60 and out five-eighths in 1:05.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Also working for Asmussen was J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Isn’t He Clever, runner-up in the Sunland Derby (G3) and eighth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start. Isn’t He Clever worked five furlongs in 1:02 with Rosas up.
Working on even terms in company with 7-year-old stakes winner Jimmy Simms, Isn’t He Clever posted fractions of :14, :26.80, :38.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60 and seven-eighths in 1:28.80.
Both horses are thought to be possible for the Preakness.
“We have not made a decision on the Preakness,” Robison said from El Paso, Texas. “We want to see how the race is shaping up and do the best thing for our horse. He will work again next Monday and we may not have a decision until then.”
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Optimizer finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Lukas is planning to bring several other horses to Pimlico when he brings Optimizer for the Preakness. Included in those will be Bluegrass Hall’s Skyring, a gritty winner on the Derby Day card.
“He will run in one of the undercard races,” Lukas said.
WENT THE DAY WELL – Trainer Graham Motion was in the process of closing up shop at Barn 22 Monday morning as Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well walked the shedrow.
“We were fortunate enough to catch a ride with the Derby winner (I’ll Have Another) to Baltimore today,” Motion said of the fourth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. “He is doing well and the plan is to run in the Preakness as long as he is doing well.”
Went the Day Well will van to the Fair Hill Training Center to resume his training.
BARN TALK – Jonathan Rey, Javier Sarmiento and Dante Zanelli Jr.’s Oaks Lily, who was on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Oaks but did not draw into the race, worked a bullet half-mile in :46.80 Monday morning at Churchill Downs. The move, completed before the renovation break and over a fast track, was the best of 33 at the distance for the morning. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.60.
“We are leaving in the next day or two for Pimlico,” said Zanelli, who is supervising the Keeneland maiden winner’s training in Kentucky. “I think we should be able to get in (the May 18 Black-Eyed Susan).”