“He’s so fit, he’s doing so well, I just decided to walk all the horses this morning. I’m glad I did,” O’Neill said. “We all enjoy a day off from time to time. They all got a day off and the weather forecast is nice starting tomorrow through the weekend, so we can get right back to normal training tomorrow.”
“With walking it’s a rest day, where with jogging at least you’re doing some form of exercise,” O’Neill said. “I have no problem galloping on a wet track. It just seemed right. Looking at the weather, we’re going to be fine tomorrow. Why chance a slip or something silly happening? I have three other horses here, too, and we walked the shedrow with all of them.”
O’Neill’s brother, Dennis, purchased I’ll Have Another at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April 2011. The colt was shipped to O’Neill’s barn at Betfair Hollywood Park and entered training for racing. He developed quickly, winning his debut on July 3. Only one of the other 11 candidates for the Preakness, Daddy Nose Best, was more precocious and had an earlier start to his career last year: June 9 at Churchill Downs.
“He’s always had a great disposition and a great attitude,” O’Neill said. “Dennis bought three more babies last night at the Pomona sale. Hopefully, there is a I’ll Have Another in one of those three. When you first get them in you’re thinking great thoughts about all of them.
“As you start moving on with them, you can see them start separating themselves. He’s always handled himself with a ton of class. He’s always been a real quiet horse, which from my experience is the sign of a really good horse. You never know until the paddock, the post parade and the gate how they handle that. Some come unglued and some thrive on it. Ever since he’s started, he’s thrived on all that action.”
I’ll Have Another moved into stakes company in his next start and finished second to Creative Cause in the Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar. That performance led to a cross-country trip to run in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga. He finished sixth on the sloppy track and came out of the race with an injured shin.
Last year and again this season, I’ll Have Another has been able to move forward and handle each new challenge.
“A lot of that is just an individual thing,” O’Neill said. “Like any other sport, you’re prone to injuries. So we’ve just been very blessed, other than the shin hiccup we got at Saratoga, he’s been injury-free. I think what enables you to start a horse maybe earlier than others, is their physical development and their mental development.”
O’Neill said that jockey Mario Gutierrez would be in Baltimore in the next day or two and is scheduled to ride a Reddam Racing filly on Thursday’s program.
O’Neill will meet with the media Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.at the podium adjacent to the Preakness stakes barn.
BODEMEISTER – Zayat Stables LLC and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s Bodemeister galloped 1 ½ miles after the morning renovation break over a fast track Tuesday at Churchill Downs under exercise rider George Alvarez.
Trainer Bob Baffert said that the Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up would train in the morning before leaving the grounds for a flight to Baltimore. Baffert also is leaving tomorrow morning and will be in Baltimore in time for the post-position draw for the Preakness.
The post-position draw will take place at Pimlico at 6 p.m. Eastern and will be televised live by HRTV.
The Kentucky Derby was only the fifth start for Bodemeister, who did not make his racing debut until Jan. 16. After breaking his maiden in his second start, Bodemeister finished second behind likely Preakness rival Creative Cause in the San Felipe (G2) and then took the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his fourth start.
“Indian Charlie and Congaree were similar to Bodemeister in their careers, but they were bigger horses,” Baffert said.
“Indian Charlie broke his maiden in his first start as a 2-year-old but chipped an ankle. He won two allowance races when he came back and then won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his fourth start. Congaree had a knee injury as a 2-year-old. He came back and won a maiden and an allowance and then won the Wood Memorial (G2) in his fourth start.”
Both colts ran third in the Kentucky Derby and while it was the final race of Indian Charlie’s career, Congaree went on to run third in the Preakness. Congaree ended his career with 10 graded stakes victories, five coming in Grade 1s, and earned more than $3.2 million.
A more recent parallel to Bodemeister is 2007 Preakness winner Curlin.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Curlin broke his maiden at first asking on Feb. 3 and then won the Rebel (G3) and Arkansas Derby (G2) before running third in the Kentucky Derby. Curlin finished his career with seven Grade 1 victories, more than $10 million in earnings and two Horse of the Year titles.
Bodemeister, who will be ridden by Mike Smith, is one of four horses in the barn that will be headed to Pimlico on Wednesday.
Also going to Old Hilltop are Peachtree Stable’s Mamma Kimbo, the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the 88th running of the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Friday; Zayat Stables LLC’s Paynter, who is scheduled to run Saturday on the Preakness Day undercard; and Jill Baffert’s Awesomemundo for Saturday’s $100,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
DADDY NOSE BEST – Owner Bob Zollars contacted Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind Tuesday to confirm that Daddy Nose Best will ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico to run in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.
Daddy Nose Best, 10th in the Kentucky Derby in his most recent start, walked the shedrow at trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn a day after working a half-mile in :53 over a sloppy track.
The son of Scat Daddy has won four of 11 starts, including the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby (G3) on March 25th.
The mount aboard Daddy Nose Best is not confirmed
PRETENSION – Trainer Chris Grove confirmed Tuesday morning that Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension will run in Saturday’s Preakness. The New York-bred colt’s 87-year-old owner, Irving Kidwell, who had medical issues that required a brief stay in a Maryland hospital earlier in the week, gave the go-ahead to Grove.
“I think the delay in the decision came down to that he didn’t want to run if he wasn’t going to be there,” said Grove, whose client resides in Annapolis. “I think he’ll come to the track around 4 or 5 o’clock and be there for the race.”
Pretension, who captured the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico on May 5, had some light exercise at Bowie Training Center Tuesday.
“We have an indoor area and he just jogged in there, because it was pouring this morning,” Grove said.
Javier Santiago has the return mount aboard Pretension.
WENT THE DAY WELL – Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well galloped 1 ½ miles on the Tapeta surface at Fair Hills Training Center Tuesday morning.
Trainer Graham Motion plans to ship the son of Proud Citizen from the Elkton, Md. facility to Pimlico after training hours on Wednesday.
Went the Day Well caught a lot of attention with his sensational stretch run in the Kentucky Derby, in which he closed nearly eight lengths in the final eighth of a mile to finish fourth. He was bumped early and raced in 17th during the early stages of the Derby before making his late run.
“I think if he had broken better in the Derby he would have laid a lot closer, like he did in the Spiral,” said Motion, whose colt earned a start in the Derby with a 3 ½-length victory in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. “I don’t think he’s a one-run horse. Certainly, he’s not a horse that needs to drop out of it.”
John Velazquez will have the return mount aboard Went the Day Well.
CREATIVE CAUSE – Trainer Mike Harrington sent the son of Giant’s Causeway, the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, onto the Cushion track at Betfair Hollywood Park Tuesday morning shortly after 9 a.m. for a mile jog and a mile gallop in his final exercise before flying to Maryland Wednesday.
“Everything’s good,” said Harrington, who will be saddling his first Preakness runner since becoming a full-time trainer in 1993. He is also a licensed veterinarian.
Creative Cause is scheduled to arrive at Pimlico sometime around 3 p.m. by van on Wednesday following a flight from California that will make a stop in Louisville to pick up the Churchill Downs-based Preakness contenders.
A $135,000 purchase by Swiss-born Heinz Steinmann at the 2010 Keeneland September sale, Creative Cause will vie to become the third California-based winner of the Preakness since 2001, when Point Given took the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown for trainer Bob Baffert. Lookin At Lucky was the last winner from the Golden State in 2010, also for Baffert.
Jockey Joel Rosario, who has been aboard Creative Cause for all four of his 3-year-old starts, will be making his Preakness debut on Saturday.
COZZETTI – The Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Cozzetti, who worked a bullet five furlongs in :58.80 over a track labeled as muddy Monday, walked the shedrow at trainer Dale Romans’ barn Tuesday morning.
Fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start, Cozzetti will be ridden in the Preakness by Jose Lezcano.
Cozzetti is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Wednesday and Romans said that is the only horse from the barn that he is taking to run at Pimlico on Saturday.
Last year, Romans swept the Dixie Stakes (G2)-Preakness double with Paddy O’Prado and Shackleford.
TEETH OF THE DOG – J.W. Singer LLC’s Teeth of the Dog galloped 1 ¼ miles at Fair Hill Training Center Tuesday morning.
The son of Bluegrass Cat will be making his first start since finishing third in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, coming off a two-month layoff from his maiden victory at Gulfstream Park in the third start of his career.
“The first three races down at Gulfstream, I thought we ran them pretty quickly. He had three races right in a row in a pretty short period of time, so we just wanted to give him some time to mature a bit. We knew that the more time he had the better horse he would be later,” trainer Michael Matz said.
Joe Bravo, who was aboard for Teeth of the Dog’s maiden score and the Wood Memorial, has the return mount on Saturday.
TIGER WALK – Sagamore Farm’s Tiger Walk galloped 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning at Kevin Plank’s historic farm in Glyndon, Md. The son of Tale of the Cat also stood in the gate wearing blinkers, with which he will be equipped on Saturday.
Trainer Ignacio Correas has been training for Sagamore Farm for two years. After training in Argentina for 19 years, Correas came to the U.S. in 2002 and worked a year for trainer Billy Badgett in New York and five years for William Currin in California. Before going to California, he worked at the Lafayette, La. Farm of Southern Equine Stables, whose owners Michel and Tiffany Moreno hold a minority share in Bodemeister.
Tiger Walk, who will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux in the Preakness, will be shipped to Pimlico early Saturday morning.
ZETTERHOLM – Exercise rider Mario Madrid took the Winter Park Partners’ colt out for jog around Pimlico’s track at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
“Mario said he felt fine and everything was good,” said Blake Dutrow, assistant to trainer Richard Dutrow. “He cooled out good and he’s a happy horse in this stall.”
Zetterholm brings a three-race winning streak to Pimlico for the Preakness. In his most recent start he won the restricted Patsyprospect Stakes at Aqueduct.
Junior Alvarado has the riding assignment.
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall LLC’s Optimizer, 11th in the Kentucky Derby, left Churchill Downs shortly after 4 o’clock Tuesday morning for a van ride to Pimlico for Saturday’s Preakness.
Trained by five-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas, Optimizer had worked a half-mile in :49.80 over a sloppy track in Louisville on Monday morning.
Corey Nakatani has the Preakness mount.
Lukas accompanied Optimizer on the van along with four other horses for the weekend. The four were comprised of Colonial Empress, who is entered in Friday’s Miss Preakness, Absinthe Minded for Saturday’s Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3), Hamazing Destiny for the Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) and Skyring.
GUYANA STAR DWEEJ -- Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal opted for Belmont’s training track for Guyana Star Dweej’s Tuesday exercise regimen after New York Racing Association maintenance officials sealed the main track due to the threat of rain that didn’t arrive during training hours.
“He jogged and galloped and had a little two-minute lick,” said Shivmangal, who still hasn’t decided on a rider for the Preakness. Eddie Castro rode the colt in his last start, a second-place finish in a one-mile optional claimer at Belmont on April 27.
A bargain-basement $5,500 buy at the 2010 Keeneland September Sale, Guyana Star Dweej is named for Shivmangal’s South American phenom of the 1980’s. Guyana Star won 52 races in his homeland of Guyana during Shivmangal’s first go-round as a thoroughbred trainer. He moved to the U.S. in 1984. Dweej is a Hindu word meaning “twice born” or “reincarnated.”
Guyana Star Dweej has won one race from nine starts.
Shivmangal operated a trucking firm at JFK Airport in New York and got back into racing from 1991-95 before leaving the sport again for 15 years. The son of a trainer and himself a one-time rider in South America, the 59-year-old horseman resumed training in 2010 after some prodding from his cousin, Dejainauth Ramnarayn, who is a partner in the Preakness contender and who owned Isn’t He Perfect, the 9th-place finisher in last year’s Preakness.