Edited Pimlico Staff Release – Gustavo Delgado Jr., son of and assistant to trainer Gustavo Delgado, said Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage has shown all the right signs following his thrilling victory in Saturday’s first leg of the Triple Crown and will run in the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1) at historic Pimlico Race Course May 20 as long as everything continues to go well.
OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing and CMNWLTH’s Derby hero walked around the barn shedrow at Churchill Downs Monday morning, two days after the chestnut colt won the Kentucky Derby by a length over Two Phil’s.
The Good Magic colt is expected to jog around the racetrack on Tuesday morning shortly after the Churchill Downs track opens at 5:30 a.m. ET.
“He ate up everything, his feed, he’s feeling good,” Delgado Jr. said.
Mage finished a close second in Gulfstream Park’s Curlin Florida Derby (G1) in his third career start, five weeks before taking the 149th Kentucky Derby.
“It’s amazing. We’re still digesting it,” Delgado Jr. said. “I’m still playing text messages from two days ago. It’s a very good feeling.”
Forte ‘Looked Very Good’ in Monday Morning Gallop
Forte, last year’s 2-year-old champion who beat Mage in the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) and Fountain of Youth (G2), galloped at Churchill Downs Monday morning for an anticipated run in Preakness Stakes 148 at Pimlico Race Course May 20. Forte was scratched the morning of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), for which he was favored, with the remnants of a foot bruise sustained earlier in the week.
“He looked very good,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He galloped a mile and three-eighths very comfortably. Seemed happy like he normally is. He’ll work probably Friday or Saturday.”
Asked if there was any sign left of the bruise, Pletcher said, “No, I think that’s completely subsided now. Right now, I’d say we’re looking good to breeze for the Preakness. If we’re happy with that, that’s what we’re thinking.”
Of being scratched from the Derby, “I’m mostly disappointed for the Violas and the Repoles and the horse himself,” Pletcher said, referencing owners Vinnie Viola and Mike Repole and their families. “As we know, you’ve got to be good on the one particular day, and there are no makeups. We’ve just got to adjust, move on and focus on trying to prepare him the best we can for the Preakness.”
Pletcher, who has won the Kentucky Derby twice and the Belmont Stakes four times, will be seeking his first success in the Preakness should Forte be entered as expected.
Rivelli: Two Phil’s ‘Back at Home Chilling’
Trainer Larry Rivelli said via text Monday afternoon that Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Two Phil’s has exited his strong performance Saturday in the first leg of the Triple Crown in good order.
“He’s back home and chilling,” reported Rivelli from his home base at Hawthorne Park.
A firm decision has yet to me made a Preakness start.
Baffert: National Treasure ‘Probable’ for Preakness
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Monday morning that he had not finalized his plans, but that National Treasure could be considered as a probable starter in the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course.
National Treasure, most recently fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 8, is co-owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC and Catherine Donovan. He broke his maiden in his first career start and prior to the Santa Anita Derby he finished second in the American Pharaoh (G1), third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and third in the Sham Stakes (G3).
Baffert is tied with 19th century horseman and Hall of Famer R. Wyndham Walden for the Preakness record by a trainer with seven wins. He pulled even with Walden in 2018 with eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. Baffert’s first Preakness runner was in 1996 when Kentucky Derby runner-up Cavonnier was fourth.
Desormeaux Has ‘More Respect’ for Confidence Game Than Ever
Trainer Keith Desormeaux said a decision will be made by Sunday whether to run Confidence Game in 148th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 20. Desormeaux won the 2016 running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown with Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator.
With jockey James Graham aboard, Confidence Game finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby in his first start since winning Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2) 10 weeks earlier.
“He’s tired, as to be expected,” Desormeaux said Monday morning at Churchill Downs. “He’ll go back to the track tomorrow or Wednesday. We’ll see how he does walking this afternoon. If he’s showing some energy, we’ll train tomorrow. If not, we’ll wait until Wednesday. We’ll make a decision by Sunday whether we’re going to Baltimore or not. He’ll tell us.
“His race in the Derby wasn’t bad. I’ve got more respect for him now than ever, because he was close to a very fast pace. He was in hand. He looked like he was comfortable. But it was just a little too fast and that compromised his finish,” Desormeaux added. “It’s that simple. This is no fault of James, (but) if we’re three or four lengths back – one more second, in other words – we have horse to finish and the whole outcome could be totally different. I don’t blame James because I’m the one who trained him, and we were putting speed in his works. We were aggressive in his works, so that’s my fault. I had him a little too keen, and that’s why he didn’t finish.
“But guess what? He went too fast and he still pushed to the wire…. He kept trying. He’s such a good horse.”
Preakness Notes: Kentucky Derby (G1) fourth-place finisher Disarm and Oaklawn Park’s Bath House Row Stakes winner Red Route One, both trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for owner Ron Winchell, had a standard walk day Monday morning at Churchill Downs. Red Route One, who gets a fees-paid spot in the Preakness by virtue of winning the Oaklawn stakes, had worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:01.20 on Sunday. Asmussen said no decision has been made whether to run one or both horses in the Preakness.
Godolphin’s First Mission, winner of Keeneland’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3) in his last start April 15, jogged at Churchill Downs Monday morning in preparation for the Preakness while resuming training following a five-eighths of a mile workout in 59.80 seconds May 6.
“First Mission is amazing, he looks very good,” said Jorje Abrego, assistant to trainer Brad Cox. “He’s ready. He’ll gallop (Tuesday).”