Following what is standard procedure for a horse in the days after a race, I’ll Have Another was limited to very light exercise Tuesday morning.
Trainer Doug O’Neill returned to California Sunday afternoon and Sisterson oversaw I’ll Have Another’s move from Churchill Downs to Pimlico on Monday. Sisterson said the colt has come out of the Derby in great shape.
“He looks like he never ran,” he said. “He’s eaten everything up. He wants to get out of the barn. He’s quiet once he’s in there, but once he’s out, it’s like, ‘OK, I want to go out to the track now.’ That’s something we want to see. After a race, especially one like the Kentucky Derby, you’re always wondering if it has taken something out of him, but he’s doing fantastic.”
Sisterson said the colt may go to the track to jog Wednesday morning after the renovation break at 8:30. He said that O’Neill, who is expected to be at Pimlico Thursday morning, will make the decision on I’ll Have Another’s schedule. I’ll Have Another got celebrity treatment when he arrived by flight from Louisville, receiving an escort by the Baltimore City Police Department from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Pimlico.
“Everything went as smooth as could be,” Sisterson said. “He enjoyed the flight, enjoyed the van ride and took it right in his stride. It was great.”
I’ll Have Another is the first Kentucky Derby winner in more than a decade to ship into Pimlico within a week of the race in Louisville. Since O’Neill is based in California and he does not have a division stabled in Kentucky, he decided to send his Derby winner straight to Baltimore and give him plenty of time to adjust to a new track.
“The guys at Pimlico couldn’t have been better,” Sisterson said. “They are really accommodating to us. Anything we want they get us. They’re stopping by every five minutes asking if there is anything we need. It’s been fantastic. They really like it that we’re here. We’re happy. They’re happy. It’s a winning combination.”
I’ll Have Another leads all Preakness prospects with $2,060,600 on the graded-earnings list, on which the first seven automatically earn a berth in the 14-horse field. I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister (2nd), Dullahan (3rd), Went the Day Well (4th), and Creative Cause (5th) qualified for an automatic Preakness start by earning a check in the Derby. Hansen and Liaison round out the top seven.
In the second tier of the Preakness qualifying system, which is based on open-stakes earnings, Isn’t He Clever, Optimizer, Hierro and Teeth of the Dog are currently sitting eighth through 11th.
In the third tier, which is based on total earnings, Pretension, Tiger Walk and Paynter round out the 14 available spots as of Tuesday.
Zetterholm, Cozzetti, Guyana Star Dweej and Brimstone Island (in order listed) are on the also-eligible list in which two spots will be available at entry time.
CREATIVE CAUSE – Heinz Steinmanns’ gray colt is a likely Preakness starter, trainer Mike Harrington said Tuesday. The three-time graded-stakes winner was shipped back to Harrington’s stable in California after he finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby. Harrington likes the way the colt looks thus far and said he is scheduled to make the trip to Baltimore next week.
“We’re planning on it; we’ve got the flight booked,” Harrington said. “We have to see how he bounces back.”
Creative Cause is scheduled to be on a Wednesday, May 16 flight that originates in California, stops in Louisville, Ky. to pick up some more horses and completes its journey at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
WENT THE DAY WELL – Trainer Graham Motion couldn’t have been more pleased with Went the Day Well’s physical condition Tuesday morning after shipping from Churchill Downs to Team Valor International’s barn at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
“I’m just amazed how this horse has handled everything,” said Motion, whose colt overcame a troubled trip to finish a fast-closing fourth in the Kentucky Derby. “Everything has gone smoothly, knock on wood.”
Motion said he has watched the replay of the Kentucky Derby a half dozen times.
“I’m not sure seeing it that you get a true appreciation for the trouble that he had,” said Motion, who saddled last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, for a second-place finish in the Preakness. “Every time I’ve watched it, it amazes me how in a jump or two more, I think, he hits the board or finishes second.”
TEETH OF THE DOG – J.W. Singer LLC’s Teeth of the Dog, who had been pointed to Saturday’s Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont Park, has been confirmed for a start in the Preakness Stakes. The son of Bluegrass Cat finished third in his stakes debut in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on April 7. In his previous start, he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in a 1 1/8-mile race, in which Went the Day Well, the fourth-place Derby finisher, came in fourth.
“He came out of the Wood fine and has done well,” said trainer Michael Matz said from his barn at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Tuesday morning.
Matz reported that Union Rags was doing well after finishing a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Derby after a troubled trip.
“He was outside for three hours this morning,” Matz said. “He came out of the race fine.”
BODEMEISTER/LIAISON/PAYNTER – Zayat Stables’ Paynter, runner-up in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (G3) on April 28 in his most recent start, jogged a mile with exercise rider George Alvarez up Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. The son of Awesome Again was accompanied by a pony with assistant trainer Jim Barnes aboard.
Paynter, who did not make his racing debut until Feb. 18 when he won at first asking, ran fourth behind eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner I’ll Have Another in just his second start in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Paynter worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:00.20.
Trained by five-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert, Paynter is one of three horses from the barn under consideration for this year’s Preakness.
Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s Bodemeister, second in the Kentucky Derby, and Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison, sixth in the Run for the Roses, will have their Preakness status determined this weekend when Baffert returns to Louisville from his Southern California base. Both colts walked the shedrow Tuesday.
COZZETTI/DULLAHAN – Jerry Crawford, the head honcho behind Donegal Racing, has been down this road before. Two years ago, Donegal’s Paddy O’Prado finished third in the Kentucky Derby off a huge, runner-up effort in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and then went on to finish sixth in the Preakness.
Fast forward 104 weeks and here is Crawford with Dullahan, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, and contemplating whether to try the Preakness.
The Preakness would be Dullahan’s third race in a five-week span, the same time frame that Paddy O’Prado faced in 2010 for trainer Dale Romans.
“That is one of the concerns we have talked about,” Crawford said. “The big question is: we have not seen him back on the track yet. He will go back tomorrow, but we are taking it day by day. In the end, we will make the best decision for the horse.”
Is the experience with Paddy O’Prado a factor in the decision?
“Truthfully, yes, it does weigh in,” said Crawford, who was on hand at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning along with his son, Connor, to watch two Donegal-owned Street Sense 2-year-olds work.
The past performance lines between Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan travel an almost identical course.
Both colts finished third in the With Anticipation (G2) at Saratoga as 2-year-olds and both ran in the Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream before their big efforts in the Blue Grass Stakes.
Following the Preakness, Paddy O’Prado came back in five weeks and won the Colonial Turf Cup (G2) and Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs before going on to win the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park.
Paddy O’Prado completed his career last year at Pimlico by winning the Dixie Stakes (G2) a race before the Romans-trained Shackleford captured the Preakness. Shackleford had finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby off a five-week break from his runner-up finish in the Florida Derby (G1).
After the morning activity, Jerry Crawford left Louisville to return to his home in Des Moines, Iowa, while Connor had some unfinished business in New Haven, Conn.
“I graduate from Yale next weekend,” Connor said. “But the graduation is not on Preakness Day. If he (Dullahan) runs, I’ll be in Baltimore.”
Cozzetti, owned by Albaugh Family Stables LLC, walked the shedrow at Romans’ barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.
HANSEN – Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing’s Hansen walked the shedrow at trainer Mike Maker’s barn at the Trackside Training Center, Churchill Downs’ satellite training facility. The ninth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday morning to jog under regular exercise rider Joel Barrientos according to Maker.
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer spent a quiet morning walking the shedrow for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas, a five-time Preakness winning trainer, said that Optimizer, 11th in the Kentucky Derby, would return to the track Wednesday.
PRETENSION – Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension, who captured the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico Saturday, is scheduled to return to the track at Bowie Training Center Wednesday.
“He’ll go back to training and see where he is and make a decision by the end of the week. Or maybe that decision will be made for us, depending on how the earnings go,” said trainer Chris Grove, whose colt was ranked 12th on the qualifying list of prospects Tuesday.
Pretension, a New York-bred stakes winner this year, captured the ungraded Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico last Saturday after finishing a distant ninth in the Illinois Derby (G3).
“When we went to Illinois and didn’t run well, we asked ourselves, ‘Is he on fade?’ He had no excuse for getting beat other than he didn’t take to the racetrack,” Grove said. “This was kind of reassurance that he is back to where we thought he was before the Illinois Derby.”