Pletcher spent early Monday morning at Churchill Downs overseeing his Kentucky contingent that includes Kentucky Derby 136 winner Super Saver.
Pletcher said that Super Saver would walk one more day and then return to the track to jog Wednesday morning.
The trainer headed to New York later in the morning but said he probably would be back in Louisville on Thursday or Friday to make a decision on whether to breeze Super Saver before the Preakness or gallop him up to the race.
Super Saver is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday, May 12.
Lukas, who has saddled a record 34 Preakness starters and is tied for second in wins with five, informed stakes coordinator Coley Blind this morning that Dublin and three other horses will run at Pimlico next weekend. Dublin ran a respectable seventh behind Super Saver in Saturday’s Derby and is the only confirmed starter out of the Run for the Roses planning to test the Derby winner again in the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. The son of 2005 Preakness winner Afleet Alex finished a neck behind Super Saver in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on Apr. 10 in a three-way photo with winner Line of David.
Other Derby horses still considering the Preakness are Paddy O’Prado (third), Lookin At Lucky (sixth) and Jackson Bend (12th). Make Music for Me (fifth) and Conveyance (15th) have not totally ruled out another chance at Super Saver.
Also at Churchill this morning, Ron Anderson, agent for jockey Garrett Gomez, was showing trainer Bob Baffert a list of probable Preakness starters Monday morning when Baffert had a question.
“Hey, where’s the gray horse? The gray horse isn’t on there,” Baffert said of Conveyance, the Kentucky Derby pacesetter. “He is looking good this morning.”
Both Conveyance and Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky walked the shedrow Monday morning.
“I am going to stay here four or five days and see how the horses are,” Baffert said. “Right now, both of them have a 50-50 chance of going.”
Trainer Nick Zito said Sunday that runner-up Ice Box is “doubtful” as did Kenny McPeek, who conditions fifth place finisher Noble’s Promise.
More than a half-dozen new shooters are expected to test Super Saver in the Preakness, including stablemate Aikenite, who galloped at Churchill this morning and is scheduled to breeze Sunday, according to Pletcher.
Schoolyard Dreams finished ahead of Super Saver in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on Mar. 13.The son of Stephen Got Even just missed losing to Odysseus by a nose with Super Saver a half-length back in third. In his last start, trainer Derek Ryan’s colt finished fourth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial behind Eskendereya, Jackson bend and Awesome Act.
“The horse had a minor infection before the Wood,” said Ryan, who saddled Musket Man to a third place finish in the 2009 Preakness. “The jock (Ramon Dominguez) told me that the hole closed up on him and he had to check out. That cost us the race and the chance to go to the Derby. It might be a blessing in disguise because he’s been doing great since then.”
Ryan plans to work Schoolyard Dreams Wednesday or Thursday at Monmouth Park in company with Ponzi Scheme, another 3-year-old in his stable.
Trainers Mike Machowsky (Caracortado) and Graham Motion (Turf Melody) have scheduled weekend works at Santa Anita and Pimlico in final preparation for the Preakness.
Caracortado won the first five races of his career, including the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes, but finished third in the Grade 2 San Felipe and fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on Apr. 3 and did not have enough graded earnings to land a spot in the Derby.
Turf Melody has finished off the board in three starts this year, all Grade 3 races. Motion finished third in the 2008 Preakness with Icabad Crane. Motion, now based at the Fair Hill Training Center, was stabled at Laurel Park for many years.
Tony Dutrow grew up on the backside at Laurel Park where his father, the legendary Dickie Dutrow, conditioned. The 52-year-old was a top Maryland conditioner in Maryland for years before moving to the Philadelphia-Delaware region because of slots enhanced purses. A Little Warm, who has been first or second in six of seven lifetime starts, would be his first Triple Crown starter.
“We are definitely hoping to run in the Preakness,” said Dutrow from his Philadelphia Park headquarters. “He just had a walk day today and will resume training tomorrow, galloping at Delaware Park. A workout is tentatively scheduled for the weekend.”
Dutrow’s younger brother Rick won the Preakness in 2008 with Big Brown. Dickie Dutrow, who won nine training titles at Pimlico and Laurel in the 1970’s before relocating to New York, finished sixth in the 1998 Preakness with Spartan Cat.
Dutrow was impressed with Super Saver’s performance.
“I thought he was a very live horse going into the Derby,” added Dutrow.” I think if he comes into the Preakness in the same way he’s going to be a serious horse. He has been very well managed.”
The first three finishers in the Derby Trial (Hurricane Ike, Aikenite and Pleasant Prince) are expected in next Saturday’s Preakness.
Hurricane Ike is one of three horses Sadler is leaving at Churchill Downs from his nine-horse contingent that came in for Derby Week. The remainder of that group, including Kentucky Derby runners Sidney’s Candy (17th) and Line of David (18th), are scheduled to return to California on Tuesday. The son of Graeme Hall is scheduled to work twice leading up to the Preakness, including Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.
“He is a horse that is on the improve,” Sadler said. “He is not far behind the other two. He just had some minor things happen during the Derby trail but he is a pretty nice horse.”
Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Pleasant Prince has five in the money finishes in nine career starts, including a second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby where he lost a bob of heads to Ice Box. The son of Indy King will train at Keeneland before shipping to Baltimore on Wednesday, May 12.
“He just doesn’t want any part of a mile and the Derby Trial was almost like a workout for him, “ trainer Wesley Ward said. “He got up for third just in a gallop. He has been training great at Keeneland ever since.”
Ward plans on breezing the colt a sharp five-furlongs Sunday morning.
“I want to make sure of his fitness and make sure he comes out the work with everything in good order,” added Ward. “He’s just an easy, beautiful horse to train. He does everything right. He’s really a good feeling colt when he’s out on the track but he’s goes back to the barn he just lays down and sleeps all day. He’s just a wonderful horse to train. He doesn’t have any physical issues, no problems to him.”
All three Derby Trial horses will ship to Pimlico next Wednesday, May 12, on a Tex Sutton plane that will also include Super Saver.
The Preakness field may have lost a new shooter in Bushwhacked. Hall of Fame conditioner Jonathan Sheppard reports the son of Posse has a temperature of 103.
“We are going to be very cautious with him, and with a race as important as the Preakness only two weeks away, we will have to see,” Sheppard said. “We are looking for improvement, but right now it appears the race is unlikely.”
The Preakness field is limited to fourteen starters. If more are properly nominated by Wednesday, May 12 the day of the post position draw, the starters will be determined with the first seven horses given preference by the highest lifetime earnings in graded stakes. The next four starters will be determined by the highest lifetime earnings in all “non-restricted stakes,” which means those stakes whose conditions contain no restrictions other than age or sex. The remaining three starters will be determined by the highest lifetime earnings in all races.