Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom is likely to have plenty of competition as the Triple Crown series moves to historic Pimlico Race Course. Six other Derby runners Nehro, Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford, Sativa, Dialed In and Midnight Interlude remain as candidates for the Preakness.
The Preakness field is limited to 14 starters.
A victory by Dialed In would be worth a total of $6,100,000. The winner’s share of the Preakness purse of $1 million is $600,000. The Preakness 5.5 bonus is $5 million to the winning owner and $500,000 to the winning trainer. If Dialed In does win the Preakness and earns the bonus, the $6.1 million would eclipse the $5,884,000 Smarty Jones earned for winning the Kentucky Derby in 2004. Smarty Jones captured the $5 million Oaklawn Centennial Bonus, for winning the Rebel, the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby during Oaklawn’s 100th anniversary season.
The 13 new shooters being considered for the Preakness are: Jerome (G2) runner-up Astrology; Concealed Identity, winner of the Federico Tesio on Saturday; Dance City, the third-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby (G1); Flashpoint, winner of the Hutcheson Stakes (G2); King Congie, winner of the Tropical Park Derby and stakes-placed in his last two starts; Mr. Commons, the third-place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby (G1); Norman Asbjornson, runner-up in the Gotham (G3) and the fourth-place finisher in the Wood Memorial (G1); Prime Cut, the runner-up in the Coolmore Lexington (G3); Ruler on Ice, second in the Tesio; Sway Away, who was fourth in the Arkansas Derby; The Factor, winner of the Rebel (G2). Harlan’s Hello and Isn’t He Perfect were added to the list of candidates on Monday afternoon.
ANIMAL KINGDOM – Team Valor International’s Animal Kingdom took an early morning walk around Barn 22 at Churchill Downs on Monday as he prepared to spend his last day of the spring in the shadow of the Twins Spires.
“We are going to leave early, sometime around 5:30 or 6,” assistant trainer Dave Rock said of the journey to the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. “He is doing good and eating good, as always.”
The van ride from Louisville to Maryland is expected to take 11 to 12 hours. Animal Kingdom will prepare for the 136th Preakness Stakes at Fair Hill and ship to Pimlico a day or two before the race on May 21.
Trainer Graham Motion was heading out of Louisville later Monday afternoon. Prior to leaving, he did an interview for the Kentucky Derby Museum and got choked up describing the experience of winning Kentucky Derby 137.
“Two days later, it is still surreal,” said Motion, who will turn 47 on the day after the Preakness. “I had thought about it (winning the Kentucky Derby). There is not a trainer that doesn’t think about it. I just didn’t think it would happen at this stage of my career.”
Animal Kingdom capped off a big weekend for the Motion barn in the stakes held during Kentucky Derby Week.
Smart Bid ran second in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) the race prior to the Derby and earlier on the Derby Day card Aruna was second in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2). Summer Soiree’s 10th-place Kentucky Oaks (G1) finish was the only off-the-board placing for Motion runners that also included Deal Making finishing third in an allowance race Friday.
Animal Kingdom will have company at Pimlico on Preakness Day as Motion plans to bring last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Shared Account to Baltimore for the $100,000 Gallorette (G3) at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. The Gallorette will be Shared Account’s 2011 debut.
ASTROLOGY/NEHRO – Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology worked six furlongs in company in 1:12.40 early Monday morning over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
With Carlos Rosas up and working in company with Awesome Act, Astrology produced fractions of :13, :25, :37, :48.60, 1:00.40 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.40 and a mile in 1:39.60.
“We liked the work,” said Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables. “We’ll see how he comes out of the work (before making a decision on the Preakness). He looks good.”
Astrology, who has compiled a record of 7-2-3-2 for earnings of $358,893, finished second in the Jerome at Aqueduct on April 23 in his most recent start.
Zayat Stables’ Nehro, runner-up in Kentucky Derby 137, walked the shedrow. Trainer Steve Asmussen said the Preakness chances for Nehro were “possible but not probable.”
CONCEALED IDENTITY – Linda Gaudet and Morris Bailey’s Federico Tesio winner is being considered for the Preakness by the veteran Maryland-based trainer Eddie Gaudet, who has never saddled a starter in the race.
Concealed Identity walked Monday, two days after he posted his two-length victory over favored Ruler on Ice.
“He came out of the Tesio very, very good,” Gaudet said. “If it isn’t too crowded of a field and I get in we might go. I don’t want to cave his head in. I don’t mind if there are a few tough ones in the Preakness but I don’t want to kill his confidence. I don’t know what he can’t handle but he just drew off on them Saturday and every day he just gets better.”
Concealed Identity, a gelded son of 2004 Preakness winner Smarty Jones, has won four of eight career starts.
DANCE CITY – The Estate of Edward P. Evans’ Dance City, third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start, walked the shedrow at trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.
“We felt like his Arkansas Derby was a very good race and we wanted to watch the (Kentucky) Derby to see how well the horses that beat us ran,” Pletcher said. “Obviously Nehro ran exceptionally well. Unfortunately Archarcharch was injured but we saw what we wanted to see. His effort in the Arkansas Derby was quite good and that the Preakness fit him well.”
In Sunday’s work, accomplished in the fog over a sloppy track, Dance City, a son of City Zip, clicked off fractions of :13.20, :25.20, :36.80, :48.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20 and seven-eighths in 1:28.40 while working in company with Praetereo, the 11th-place finisher in last month’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1)
“He has run well in every start of his life and is an improving colt,” Letcher said. “He has a pedigree that suggests he’ll get better as he matures. We think he is a nice horse.”
Pletcher said that Dance City will breeze again on Sunday at Churchill Downs and will be on the flight of horses from Kentucky headed to Baltimore on Wednesday, May 18.
In addition to Dance City, the Pletcher barn may be sending three or four other horses for other Preakness Week stakes according to Mike McCarthy, Pletcher’s Churchill Downs assistant. Pletcher nominated a total of 35 runners from his barn for the 15 other stakes on Preakness weekend.
DIALED IN – Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, who ran eighth as the favorite in Saturday’s 19-horse Kentucky Derby field, walked the shedrow at trainer Nick Zito’s barn.
“He’s doing well,” Zito said. “He’s eating good and came out of the race well.”
Dialed In will be Zito’s 21st Preakness starter. Zito’s lone Preakness winner was with Louis Quatorze, who finished 16th in the 1996 Kentucky Derby.
FLASHPOINT – Peachtree Stable’s John Fort has told Maryland Jockey Club officials that the Pomeroy colt is definitely headed to the Preakness.
“He’s training up a storm, better than ever,” Fort said.
The lightly raced colt won the Hutcheson (G2), is now trained by Wesley Ward and has been in training at Keeneland. He turned in his second straight bullet workout of :59 seconds for five furlongs on Friday morning.
HARLAN’S HELLO/ISN’T HE PERFECT - New York-based trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal contacted Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind late Monday afternoon about running two colts he trains in the Preakness.
Kharag Stables owns Isn’t He Perfect, who was sixth in the Gotham (G3) and then fifth in the Wood Memorial (G1) and the Jerome (G2) this year. Shivmangal Racing owns Harlan’s Hello, who was sixth in the Bay Shore (G3) in April and finished seventh in a grass allowance at Belmont Park on May 1.
KING CONGIE – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Badge of Silver colt is on course toward the Preakness and breezed five furlongs in 1:01.14 over the main track at Belmont Park. It was the sixth-fastest of 17 at the distance.
“He worked very well this morning,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. “Hopefully, all goes well from now until then.”
Albertrani said the colt will work again at Belmont before the Preakness and is likely to ship from New York to Baltimore the day before the race.”
King Congie emerged as a stakes runner late last year when he was switched from dirt sprints to longer races on the turf. He won the Tropical Park Derby on January 1, finished first in the Hallandale Beach Stakes, but was disqualified and placed third for drifting out in the stretch.
On April 16 he was third by a head in the Blue Grass over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface. King Congie needed a second-place finish in the Blue Grass to earn enough graded stakes money to qualify for the Kentucky Derby field.
Albertrani said that Brilliant Speed, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby, will not run in the Preakness, but may make his next start in the Belmont Stakes.
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE/THE FACTOR – Arnold Zetcher’s homebred colt Midnight Interlude walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs Monday morning, two days after finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Bob Baffert had indicated Sunday before leaving Louisville that a decision on Midnight Interlude’s Preakness participation would be made next weekend.
Meanwhile, Fog City Stable and George Bolton’s The Factor is scheduled for a five-furlong work Tuesday morning with jockey Calvin Borel slated to be aboard according to Peter Hutton, Baffert’s Churchill Downs assistant.
Seventh as the favorite in his most recent start in the Arkansas Derby (G1), The Factor worked a half-mile at Churchill Downs last Thursday in: 49.
MR. COMMONS – St. George Farm Racing’s Artie Schiller colt is based at Hollywood Park with trainer John Shirreffs.
In his most recent start, Mr. Commons finished third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). He has worked three times since the race, most recently seven furlongs Friday in 1:26.20.
MUCHO MACHO MAN – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing’s colt has settled into his new stall at trainer Kathy Ritvo’s barn at Belmont Park. The son of Macho Uno finished third in the Kentucky Derby and was flown to New York on Sunday and is being considered for the Preakness Stakes.
“He’s doing very well.” Ritvo said. “He’s been eating good and acting real good. We’ll just see how it goes the next couple of days.”
Mucho Macho Man walked Monday and Ritvo said that he will likely do the same thing on Tuesday.
“He will probably go back to the track on Wednesday,” she said. “I want to give him a couple of days and just check and make sure that everything is good. I thought he ran a good race.”
NORMAN ASBJORNSON – Thomas McClay and Harry Nye’s Real Quiet colt is being considered for the Preakness, said his Maryland-based trainer Chris Grove.
The Gotham (G3) runner-up, whose last start was a fourth in the Wood Memorial (G1) worked a mile in 1:40 at Pimlico Friday morning. Grove said he was pleased with the work and the way Norman Asbjornson has reacted to it.
“I think we got to the bottom of him. That work took a lot out of him,” Grove said. “When I started training for Mr. Harris (longtime client William Harris), our wisdom was that while we did not have the most well-bred horses, we wanted to have the fittest horses.”
Grove plans to work the colt again on Friday morning at Pimlico.
PRIME CUT – Courtlandt Farms’ Prime Cut, runner-up in the Coolmore Lexington (G3) at Keeneland in his most recent start, remains “under consideration” for the Preakness, according to trainer Neil Howard.
“We will wait until after his major work (toward the end of the week) and see,” said Howard, who won the 1990 Preakness with Summer Squall.
Prime Cut galloped at Churchill Downs before the renovation break on Monday.
RULER ON ICE – Trainer Kelly Breen said that George and Lori Hall’s stakes-placed colt remains under consideration for the Preakness.
The son of Roman Ruler was third in the Sunland Derby and second as the favorite in Saturday’s Federico Tesio. Breen, who saddled Pants on Fire, the ninth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, was headed back to his training base at Monmouth Park on Monday and said he would talk with George Hall about the Preakness this week.
“I would like to see how he came out of the Tesio and see him train before deciding our interest in the Preakness and whether we are worthy,” Breen said.
SANTIVA – Tom Walters’ Santiva is “doing well” after his sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby according to Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally. “He will go back to the track in a day or two,” said Walsh, who serves as Santiva’s exercise rider. “There’s been no decision yet (on the colt’s next race). We will talk about it later in the week.”
SARATOGA RED – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Saratoga Red, sixth as the favorite Saturday in an optional claimer at Churchill Downs, has been withdrawn from Preakness consideration by trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
“I am taking some over there for the undercard races, but not him,” Lukas said of Saratoga Red, who has won one of four starts and has $17,500 in graded stakes earnings.
SHACKLEFORD – Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford walked the shedrow at trainer Dale Romans’ barn.
Stopping by to look in on the Kentucky Derby pacesetter was jockey Jesus Castanon, who rode in his first Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
“I had visions of a lots of roses when he opened up at the eighth pole,” Castanon said of Shackleford, who wound up fourth beaten less than four lengths. “He ran real big for me.” The 38-year-old Castanon never has ridden in the Preakness.
Romans, who sent out First Dude and Paddy O’Prado to finish second and sixth, respectively, in last year’s Preakness, said, “If he (Shackleford) is doing good, we will go (to Baltimore).”
SWAY AWAY – Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’s Sway Away walked the shedrow at Barn 42 for a second consecutive morning following a six-furlong work in 1:11.60 under Keith Davis on Saturday.
Trained by Jeff Bonde, the fourth-place Arkansas Derby (G1) finisher is scheduled to return to the track Tuesday morning and ship next week with the rest of the Churchill Downs-housed Preakness hopefuls to Baltimore.