DOWNEY PROFILE MENU  
    *Home  
    *The Downey Profile  
    *Kentucky Derby Horses  
    *Preakness Horses  
    *Belmont Stakes Contenders  
    *Worth Watching  
    *Workouts  
    *Derby Future Wager  
    *Triple Crown Nominees  
    *Race Video  
    *Derby Points Details  
    *Miscellaneous Derby  
    *Racing News / Search  
    *Derby 142 Recap  
    *Preakness 141 Recap  
    *Belmont 147 Recap  
    *Privacy Policy/Terms of Service  
    *Forward to A Friend  
    *Contact Us  


Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

 


Preakness Horses

Last Updated May 22 at 9:10 a.m. ET - Final



 

Click to go to horse; click back to return

ABIDING STAR
AWESOME SPEED
CHERRY WINE
COLLECTED

EXAGGERATOR
FELLOWSHIP

LANI
LAOBAN
NYQUIST
STRADIVARI
UNCLE LINO

 

ABIDING STAR (FL)
Owner: Stonehedge LLC; Breeder: Gilbert G. Campbell; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-0-10-1-0 (12) 1.00; By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa Maya) out of Abiding (Dynaformer, Unending Love); Foal Date: March 30, 2013; No auction history; Trainer: Ned Allard

The colt was winless in the first six races of his career, then he won five straight. He scored in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Laurel Park on Jan. 1. He followed up with an allowance win at Parx and a triumph in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel March 12. He captured an allowance and then the Parx Derby on Kentucky Derby day  in his next two races.  He won the Parx Derby by 1 3/4 length as the 3-5 favorite

In the middle of all this, trainer Allard was forced to alter Abiding Star’s schedule due to an equine herpes virus quarantine put in effect at Parx Racing on April 1.

“As it’s turned out, at least we were able to find some races in between as far as keeping them racing, and the purses were good. It really hasn’t been as inconvenient as you might think. Who knows? It might have been beneficial because they got some races into them, built up their confidence and picked up some money to boot,” Allard said. “We did miss some races, and who knows how they would have turned out? But they had some races and built up their confidence.”

Maryland Jockey Club is prepared to take special precautions for Parx-based horses shipping to Pimlico, should the quarantine be lifted. Parx horses would train at 5:00 a.m. before regular training hours and would be housed in isolation stalls on the Pimlico backstretch, far from the Preakness stakes barns.

May 15 NOTE: “We still need the quarantine to be lifted on Tuesday, but everything I’ve heard from everyone is that it will be a shock if it’s not,” trainer Allard said. J.D. Acosta is scheduled to ride Abiding Star, who is tentatively scheduled to ship to Pimlico Thursday morning.

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Abiding Star was seventh in the early going and didn't improve position. He finished last of 11, beaten 36 3/4 lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Abiding Star drifted in soon after the start and bumped with Laoban, angled toward the rail heading into the first turn, kept in touch to the far turn, failed to kick on while three wide past the three eighths and faltered."

Ned Allard: “You were hoping that you'd be up close, and he didn't break quite sharp enough and wasn't in the position to take advantage of what he's been able to do. Just bad racing luck. We might try to find a little easier spot.'”

J. D. Acosta: “My horse broke good, and we were going fine but he does not like dirt kicked into his face, and this is really the first time he got hit with mud. He ran out fine for me, and I was very glad that the trainer allowed me to keep the mount.”


 

AWESOME SPEED (KY)
Owner: Colts Neck Stables LLC; Breeder: Allen Poindexter & Adena Springs; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-11-18-0-0 (36) 3.00; By Awesome Again (Deputy Minister, Primal Force) out of Speedy Escape (Aptitude, Great Escape); Foal Date: March 13, 2013 $80,000 Keeneland September 2014/$335,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida March 2015; Trainer: Alan Goldberg

Awesome Speed won two of three races at age two, both of them sprinting at Laurel, and one of them the James F. Lewis Stakes.

He won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 2, timed for the mile in 1:35.97 after attending a pace of 46.69 and possessing the lead at 1:10.69.

Feb. 21 NOTE:  Awesome Speed breezed four in 48.30. Trainer Goldberg said, “He went great. He got off in 13, went 48 and 1 or 2, galloped out in a minute and change, and galloped out three-quarters in 1:14. He came back fine and not blowing. Everything is all good. We’re ready. He’s coming into the race great. We’ve got six more days, everything’s all good. Hopefully there won’t be any hiccups.”

Feb. 24 NOTE: Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the reins from Joel Rosario, who broke his wrist in a spill at Gulfstream Feb. 20. Trainer Goldberg said of the horse, showing much humility, “He does everything pretty easy, and he’s going into the race well. If we can get Kiaran’s horse not to run and maybe Awesome Banner not to run and a few of those others, we’ll have a good shot.”

Feb. 25 NOTE: Trainer Goldberg said, “He won at a mile so it’s (Fountain of Youth) not that much further. It should be easier for him. His bottom half, she was a sprinter but I don’t think he’ll have any problem going a little further. It won’t be a problem until it’s a problem. We’ve got to find out at some point. That was the plan all along, run in the Macho Man and then run in the Fountain of Youth. I didn’t want to run a lot of times down there. There’s the Fountain of Youth, obviously, but then the Florida Derby. We purchased him at Fasig-Tipton so we’d get a $1 million bonus if we won that race, so that was our deal I don’t think he was tops for the Macho Man. He had some skin disease and he wasn’t 100 percent. Right now he’s 100 percent so we’ll see how he runs. I think we’ll be sitting second or third off of Awesome Banner. I think he’s got to go to the front. This horse will rate. You don’t have to send him. He gets himself into the race. He’s very ratable. I think he’ll be fine.”

It wasn't Awesome Speed's day in the Feb. 27 Fountain of Youth. He finished fourth at 7-1 odds, beaten 13 lengths. After six furlongs, he was four lengths off the pace, but at the furlong marker, he was 10 lengths back. The chart call: "Awesome Speed  was forwardly placed after being bumped soon after the start, raced five-wide through the second turn and lacked the  needed  closing  response."

On April 9, Awesome Speed won the Federico Tesio Stakes via disqualification of Governor Malibu and earning an automatic berth in the Preakness Stakes. Favored at 3-5 in a field of six, Awesome Speed finished a nose behind Governor Malibu after leading from the gate into deep stretch. He was promoted to the victory following Governor Malibu’s disqualification to second for interference in the final sixteenth of a mile. Ridden for the first time by Jevian Toledo, Awesome Speed broke sharply from post 4 and set comfortable fractions of 25.60 for the quarter-mile, 50.93 for the half and 1:15.79 after six furlongs under slight pressure on his outside from Never Gone South. Governor Malibu and Horacio Karamanos raced three wide down the backstretch and began to launch a bid rounding the far turn as Never Gone South dropped back. Awesome Speed dug in on the inside as Governor Malibu challenged down the middle of the track, then veered in several paths and bumped Awesome Speed after Karamanos switched the whip to his right hand. The winning time was 1:53.31 over a good main track.

Alan Goldberg - “It’s pretty good spacing, that’s the main thing. We’d have enough time. I think it would be good. We’ll have to see how the Kentucky Derby shakes out and all that, and see what’s what. It was great and I’m glad we won it. It would have been a tough beat. To be honest, I was watching the TV and I didn’t see him get in, but you could see it on the head-on pretty clearly. I think we probably would have won, but when the horse hit him it made him change leads and he kind of lost his momentum. He claimed foul and then there was the inquiry. He thought he was coming down. He thought he would have won the race if he hadn’t been hit. (The Preakness is) a good option now; at least he got (the distance). I don’t know if the horse is one of the best horses, but at least he showed he’ll get two turns with this bunch, and I guess with a free run in the Preakness. We might take it.”

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Awesome Speed crowded Nyquist for no reason going through the stretch the first time, then made a steady retreat. He finished ninth, beaten 21 1/2 lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Awesome Speed was hustled from the gate to gain a forward position, prompted the pace four to five wide outside the leaders, lodged a bid with a half mile to go, failed to keep up under strong urging past the five sixteenths and gave way."

Jorge Duarte, assistant to Alan Goldberg: “He ran his race. He pressed a hot pace, and they all got tired. A lot of horses had speed coming in, so we expected a hot pace.”

Jevian Toledo: “I tried to keep him in the clear all the way. He gave me everything he had, but he just didn’t go. The track was pretty bad. He couldn’t catch the winner and that’s the story.”

 

 

CHERRY WINE (KY)
Owner: William Pacella and Frank L. Jones Jr.; Breeder: Pacella Racing, Frank L. Jones Jr., Frank Shoop; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-9-6-2-0 (24) 3.80;  By Paddy O'Prado (El Prado (IRE), Fun House) out C. S. Royce (Unbridled's Song, Sweeping Story); Foal Date: Feb. 13, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Dale Romans

Cherry Wine debuted at  Saratoga and needed four more starts to break his maiden, graduating with a 9 1/4-length victory Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs to cap his juvenile campaign. He was timed in 1:46.83 for 1 1/16 mile. He came from eighth, 5 3/4 lengths back, at the first call.

On Jan. 9, Cherry Wine won by six lengths in his first try against winners in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 9. His time was considerably faster, 1:44.37. He again came from well off the pace, last of eight and 8 1/4 lengths back of the frontrunner after the first quarter-mile -- not always an easy feat at Gulfstream Park.  The runner-up, Battery, came back to win in a similar spot, but at 1 1/8 mile, on Feb. 10.

Feb. 11 NOTE: Trainer Romans said, “He’s training great. He’s a horse that never really seems to have a bad day. He’s just getting mentally more into the game all along. It took him a while to figure it out. His last two races have been spectacular, and he’s just been very simple to train.”

Feb. 13 NOTE: Trainer Romans said after a workout, “He went very well. He went easy. It looked like he was going slower and he went in 59 and one. He did it right and galloped out good, came back good. We thought about going in the Holy Bull originally, but it was just going to be too many races going into the Derby if we think he’s a true contender. So we decided to skip and run in (the Fountain of Youth) and the Florida Derby. If he gets enough points and he looks like he fits, we’ll go.”

That plan didn't work out at all.  Cherry Wine didn't compete in either race.

March 18 NOTE: Trainer Romans said, “I think (the time it took to break his maiden) was all mental. He was physically always a nice horse. He just hadn’t figured out how to run. His father didn’t break his maiden until February of his 3-year-old year. Some horses take a while to come around. Some horses have the talent but don’t have the drive to compete just yet. Then when they figure out why they’re there and what they’re trying to do, they become better horses. And that’s what happened to him." On the Rebel:  “It might be the most even fields of a Derby prep we’ve had this year. It looks like a strong bunch. I sure would rather have had the five-hole, but we’ll see what happens from the outside. I have the best rider in the country on him, and he should be able to figure out what to do."

Cherry Wine finished a troubled fourth, but it was Cupid held off Whitmore to win the Rebel Stakes on March 19. Creator finished third but didn't threaten for the win. After exiting post 3, Cupid led 13 rivals through fractions of 22.96, 46.82 and 1:12.11 while being tracked by Siding Spring and Madtap. The especially moderate third quarter-mile allowed him to keep just enough in reserve to win after Whitmore surged to his side mid-stretch. Whitmore eased off and finished second by 1 1/4 length. Creator, who like Cupid is a gray son of Tapit, came on willingly for third, beaten three lengths. Another 1 3/4 length back in fourth was Cherry Wine, who edged Suddenbreakingnews by a head. The latter horse had to check after encountering traffic in the far turn. The final time was 1:43.84.

The chart call: "Cherry Wine near the back off the inside three wide in the far turn when beginning to rally, traffic, split foes in the three path into the lane, improved position with some modest late interest."

Dale Romans  – “ I thought that he ran an impressive race, and a Derby-horse style race. It was a big field, he split horses, bounced around and kept running. He’ll only improve when they stretch out. I’m going to sit back and look at all the options. Baffert’s the best. He’s good at everything he does. He can win everything but the Travers."

Corey Lanerie – “He doesn’t have any speed, so it worked out good. I got over. The second turn, I had to make a decision to go out or stay in and I stayed in. I had a trip. I think the added distance will only help my horse."

On April 9, Cherry Wine was edged for the place by My Man Sam in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes after coming from far off the pace. Meanwhile, Brody's Cause, eleventh of 14 runners after a half-mile run in a brisk 46.75 by pacesetter Laoban, won the race. While Loaban stayed on the lead through six furlongs in 1:11.44, Brody's Cause was getting ready to make his move. Ninth at that point, and 6 1/4 lengths off the pace, he was on the lead two furlongs later with the mile gone in 1:37.26. He stayed on to win in 1:50.20, prevailing by 1 3/4 length. For a few moments in the stretch run, it looked like Cherry Wine might round out the exacta. My Man Sam got to him in the final jump, eking out the place by a head. Both horses also came from far off the pace. My Man Sam had to work out a good trip after breaking from post 14. Cherry Wine broke from post 3. Loaban hung around for fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths.

Dale Romans - (Cherry Wine) ran a huge race, too. We’ll take him too and take a one-two punch in the Kentucky Derby.”

Corey Lanerie, rider of Cherry Wine - “The first turn got a little rough. I don't know if something was happening on the outside, but we got bounced around a little bit. Other than that, it was pretty good. He settled in nice. Brody’s Cause came by me about the half-mile pole, and I jumped in his wake and tried to follow him through. We got to the outside, and it was a horse race. Brody’s Cause was just a better horse today. My horse gave me all he had. In the last couple of jumps, we got caught for second; that was disappointing. I was really happy with my horse; he gave me every ounce he had. He ran hard."

May 8 NOTE: Cherry Wine was entered in the Kentucky Derby as an also-eligible but didn't make it into the race. He remains a candidate for the Preakness Stakes.

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Exaggerator came from off the pace to overtake a tiring Nyquist in upper stretch and prevail by 3 1/2 lengths. Uncle Lino, Nyquist and Awesome Speed broke from posts 2, 3 and 4 and sped up the stretch the first time together, with Nyquist in the center. Awesome Speed appeared to crowd Nyquist before the latter one opened a little space between them. Uncle Lino and Nyqyuist were in the opening stage of a duel that would last a mile. Uncle Lino was ahead after the first quarter in 22.38, and Nyquist led through a half-mile in 46.56 and six furlongs in 1:11.97. Leaving the far turn, Nyquist put away Uncle Lino, but as soon as that happened, Exaggerator blew by Nyquist to lead by 1 1/2 length at the furlong marker and win going away. Cherry Wine came up the rail to nip Nyquist for second by a nose.  Exaggerator was eighth in the 11-horse field at each of the first two calls, trailing by 11 1/2 and 6 1/2 lengths, respectively. After six furlongs he was only 2 1/4 lengths behind. Cherry Wine, 10th at each of the first three calls, was 24, 19 and then 11 3/4 lengths in arrears before mounting his late run. Exaggerator crossed the finish line in 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Cherry Wine hit his head on the right side of gate and bobbled, dropped well off the early pace, gathered momentum leaving the far turn, slipped through to the inside of Abiding Star when making progress past the five sixteenths, cut the corner into the stretch, came off the inside then drifted a bit rallying past the sixteenth marker, kept on gamely and nipped Nyquist at the wire for the place."

Dale Romans: “I’m proud of my horse, proud of the jockey. Exaggerator looked great all week, and Keith did a good job with him. The way the race set up and the track being muddy and we were in the one hole. He knew what I was talking about, he’s a big Calvin Borel fan. I told him to ‘give him the Mine That Bird trip, sit way back, past the mile make sure you catch the last one.’ That’s the only part of the instructions he didn’t listen to."

Corey Lanerie: “We got a smooth trip. We broke in and had absolutely no speed. They rode around and let them come to us and he started to show his kick in the middle of the turn at the three-eighths pole. We did not encounter any trouble. We had pretty clear sailing. This one feels good.”

 

 

COLLECTED (KY)
Owner: Speedway Stable LLC; Breeder: Runnymede Farm Inc. & Peter J. Callahan; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 10-5-7-0-0 (22) 5.29; By City Zip (Carson City, Baby Zip) out Helena Bay (GB) (Johannesburg, Josette); Foal Date: March 24, 2013; $150,000 Keeneland September 2014/$170,000 OBS March 2015; Trainer: Bob Baffert

Collected started his career on the turf, winning his debut on the Santa Anita downhill course and finishing second in the one-mile Cecil B. DeMille Stakes.

Collected handily won the Sham Stakes on Jan. 9. Always close, he was on the lead turning for home and hit the finish line in 1:38.00. Let's Meet in Rio was second, and Laoban was third after sitting fifth for the first half-mile.

In the Southwest Stakes, Collected finished fourth as the 5-2 favorite after breaking from the rail. Suddenbreakingnews broke from post 13 and was 14th of 14 after a half-mile, but he won with a seven-wide move, flashing down the stretch to prevail in the final strides under Luis Quinonez. His time was 1:45.14 on a track rated good that had been producing slower times all day. Whitmore broke last after being upset in the gate and was 11th after a half-mile. He came on in the far turn and stretch to get the place, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. American Dubai, a 21-1 longshot, was second until taking a lead in the stretch, but he faded a bit to hit the wire third, 3 1/4 lengths back of the winner.

Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes - “I would have liked to have been close to the lead, on the lead. A lot of horses in the race and you get shoved around. You're in the gate forever. But the bottom line is you've got to get out there and run, and he didn't.”

Connections next opted to send Collected to Sunland Park. The Sunland Park Derby had been cancelled and an ungraded stakes race replaced it. He went to the lead and held off Gettysburg to win by two lengths in 1:48.90 on a course that's known to produce fast times.

In the Lexington on April 17, Javier Castellano and Collected popped right out of post 10 and positioned themselves second behind 40-1 shot One More Round around the first turn. That's the way things stood until Collected reeled in One More Round at the top of the stretch and went on to win by four lengths. He was timed in 1:43.33.  Following One More Round under the finish line in third was Synchrony. He was followed by Direct Message, Yo Carm, 2-1 favorite Swipe, Lomcevak, Riker, Call the Colonel and Big Squeeze. Collected contested splits of 23.57, 47.47 and 1:11.73. Collected was on the lead after a mile in 1:36.82 and finished the final sixteenth-mile in 6.51.

Peter Fluor, partner in Speedway Stables, winning owner of Collected - “I was very impressed with. Bob did a very good job getting him ready. Lot of good horses in the race.
I think (the Preakness) would be the most logical step, given the distance. We’ll see how he comes out, but that would be a thrill for us.”

Javier Castellano - “What an impressive horse. I really liked the way he did it. He broke well out of the gate, and he wanted to dictate the pace today. I tried to sit a little bit behind the pacemaker. Turning for home, I really like the way he accelerated. When I asked, he really responded. I was really satisfied today.” Could Collected like longer distances? “I think so. The way he galloped out past the wire, I was very impressed.”

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Collected stalked the pace while wide but succumbed on the far turn. He finished 10th, beaten 22 1/4 lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Collected, four to five wide chasing the pace, edged closer approaching the far turn, could not quicken with the leaders after seven and a half furlongs and dropped back."

Bob Baffert: “We just didn't have enough horse. Too far for him, I took a crack at it. It makes you appreciate ... Pharoah made it look so easy you forget how hard it is. We had fun. We thought we might have a chance. He tried, but he just wasn't good enough.”

Javier Castellano: “We had a good trip. My horse was right there early with the speed. We didn’t get the best of trips the rest of the way.”

 

 

EXAGGERATOR (KY)
Owner: Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners and Rocker O Ranch; Breeder: Joseph B. Murphy; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-6-10-0-0 (22) 3.40; By Curlin (Smart Strike (CAN), Sherriff's Deputy) out of Dawn Raid (Vindication, Embur Sunshine (CAN)); Foal Date: Feb. 5, 2013; $110,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Exaggerator had a busy juvenile campaign, racing six times with three wins and a second.

Back in July, he narrowly won at Del Mar sprinting six furlongs at second asking. He came from far back to win.

He followed that up with a victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special on Aug. 16. At 9-2 odds after breaking from the rail, Exaggerator saved ground at the back of the field and then dove inside between horses, got through and won with aplomb by three-quarter length over Saratoga Mischief. John Q. Public led through an opening quarter-mile in 21.60, with Saratoga Mischief taking at a half-mile in 45.19. Saratoga Mischief was 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Hammers Vision. Running time was 1:16.39.

Junior Alvarado: "I watched his last race. He won it by a nose but he won gamely. He handled being between horses pretty good, so I knew if I did ask him to go inside, I knew he'd be there. I tried to save ground as much as I could. As soon as I decided to go inside, I thought I had a chance to win the race and he was there for me. He's professional; he lets you do whatever you want."

Julie Clark, assistant to Keith Desormeaux,: "I wasn't sure if he could get through on the rail and then he burst between the two. I thought that showed some real class for a baby. He flew out (of Lexington) Monday and vanned out the next day. He got two gallops over the track, so you always wonder if he's still sharp. I'm glad it worked out. We would've liked a little more time, a little more rest, but he's pretty sharp. He's always on his toes and he never really seemed dull."

THE NEXT DAY: Assistant trainer Julie Clark said, "Is it uncool to be still super excited? He's great. I walked him this morning myself, and he ate up and he doesn't look drawn. He wasn't totally sharp, but he walked with confidence and seemed happy. I watched the replay. and they zeroed in kind of right when he found a spot and burst through there. It looked so professional. He doesn't really give you that indication in the barn that he's carefree about things like that. (The next race is) going to be Keith's choice. I think he wants to try to get a little more distance next time to get more of a prep for the Breeders' Cup, but who knows. Keith will pull anything out of his hat."

Nex out, he was second to Brody's Cause in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. He ran well, but Brody's Cause was too much for him that day.

Kent Desormeaux - “I ended up on the fence, where I truly didn’t want to be, but the race set up like that. I had a beautiful run. If I could get that run on the next nine routes, I'd probably win the next nine. I just think that the winner was really enjoying the going. Today was his day but the whole team’s extremely happy and we look forward to Breeders’ Cup.”

His fourth-place finish, beaten three lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile won by Nyquist was disappointing. He didn't appear to like the inside trip heading into the far turn, and his jockey thought he had a cold. He pretty much ran evenly, progressing from sixth early on. The chart call is not entirely descriptive: "Exaggerator was bothered and forced out a bit early, quickly recovered and was well placed along the backstretch, shifted into the four path in the far turn, made a bid in the stretch but flattened out late in the drive."

Keith Desormeaux - "I had mixed emotions because I'm pulling for Exaggerator and then here comes Swipe. And then I gave up on Exaggerator because I could tell he was beat, and my emotions re-ignited again on the other one, so it was cool.”

Kent Desormeaux - “He wanted to go a little quick earlier. I didn't exactly get a clean trip, but I was there for a while. I would dare say that the horse might have a cold. He was a little raspy, and he's never done that before. He's a little under the weather, I'll leave it at that - and he still ran fourth.”

Exaggerator finished the year on a high note, winning the Delta Jackpot after taking a narrow lead over Sunny Ridge early on and then battling with that one to the finish. The winning margin was a neck. His time, was kind of slow even for the tight-turned bullring that is Delta Downs. He got the half in 47.53, six furlongs in 1:13.47 and hit the wire in 1:46.48. Still, he deserves a lot of credit for his gritty performance.

The chart call: "Exaggerator, way  in  good  order  from  the  outside,  gained  a  short  margin  entering  the  backstretch,  dueled  up  the  backstretch,  fought  through  the second turn with Sunny Ridge, remained engaged with that one through the drive and just lasted over his rival after a stretch long drive in a solid try."

Feb. 13 NOTE: Trainer Desormeaux said, “I told the owner a couple weeks ago after his six furlong work from the gate that El Nino could open its doors now and rain until February 15; this horse is ready now. Exaggerator was ready two weeks ago and he’s had two works since then and both were outstanding. The horse is absolutely raring to go. He’s a little different from most Derby horses, because you always worry about fitness or readiness for the big race, but he’s ready to go now. Eventually, I hope he can show his class. I don’t think weather will affect us here at all. We’ve got Nyquist right where we want him now."

Nyquist broke from the rail and went to the lead in the San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 15, and he didn't let anything catch him. The seven furlongs was timed in a spritely 1:20.71. Nyquist didn't rate at all, running the first half-mile in 44 and change, but it was still a really great return from his layoff. Exaggerator ran like a champ too and finished second, beaten 1 1/2 length after chasing Nyquist in the backstretch and trying to make a winning move in upper stretch. Nyquist repelled that move and eased on out to win fairly easily.

The chart call: "Exaggerator stalked outside a rival then three deep on the turn, was fanned out into the stretch, bid outside the winner in midstretch, could not quite match that one in the final sixteenth, was a bit crowded behind that rival in deep stretch but continued willingly to be second best."

Kent Desormeaux - “You’d have to break the track record to win the race, so that’s telling for both horses. They’re both very talented. I had a dream trip. The winner was too good.”

Keith Desormeaux - “Goodness gracious. Anybody not a believer in Nyquist now? That was an awesome race, to set those kinds of fractions and still finish in close to track record time for a three-year-old in February. Wow! Hat’s off to Nyquist.”

Feb. 19 NOTE: Trainer Desormeaux said, “We’re looking at the San Felipe, no doubt. It seems like a good progression to me. If Nyquist runs next in Florida, I’m fine with that. I don’t ever want to have to run against him for $200,000 again. It’s not enough money to run against that kind of horse.”

March 5 NOTE: Exaggerator worked five furlongs under Kent Desormeaux in 1:00.40. Trainer Desormeaux said, “That’s the same time I got. I don’t know how those guys can clock 50 horses at the same time. It’s a special skill. It was a nice work. He finished in 22 and four. That’s not bad. He was under control, limber, and wasn’t stressed out afterwards, all things you want to see in a horse getting ready for a race, so we’re happy.”

On March 12, front-running Danzing Candy cruised to an impressive two length win under in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. The lightly raced colt got 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.04 and picked up 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. Danzing Candy set fractions of 22.96, 46.11, 1:11.04 and 1:36.38 over a main track that was listed as fast but that had been dulled by heavy afternoon rains on Friday. Mor Spirit ran through some obstacles to finish a good second. He appeared to get a bit rank around the clubouse turn but settled readily down the backside when next to last of six going past the half mile pole. With a cue, he picked it up between horses around the far turn and rallied well. He galloped out on terms with the winner past the wire. Exaggerator came from far back in the early going, rallied smartly entering the far turn while saving ground, was in second place leaving the turn but gave up the place and finished third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by the winner.

The chart call: "Exaggerator  forced out some at the start, angled in and saved ground off the pace, moved up inside on the second turn, came out and bumped a rival nearing the quarter pole, angled out into the stretch, loomed behind the winner in midstretch, drifted in late and was edged for second."

Keith Desormeaux - “He ran nice and steady. They were quick the first part of the race. He was sitting chilly and relaxed. I loved the way it set up, but he didn’t finish. I would like to think he’ll move forward off of this. He might be maxing out at a mile, too. That’s what’s going through my mind right now. But we’ll stay here for the Santa Anita Derby, try them again and try and prove me wrong.”

On April 9, Exaggerator used a new style of running to win the Santa Anita Derby on a sloppy track. He'd run well on an off track before. Taken well back off quick early fractions, he made a huge move starting on the far turn to blow by five of the other seven horses in the field and win by 6 1/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux. Exaggerator was timed in 1:49.66 for 1 1/8 mile. Danzing Candy set a fast pace to set up the late run, going the first six furlongs in spits of 22.15, 45.24 and 1:10.12. After a half-mile, Exaggerator was 16 1/2 lengths in arrears and preparing to unload his knockout punch. Mor Spirit finished second after stalking the pace in fourth. He was 11 lengths in front of Exaggerator after they'd run the first half-mile. Uncle Lino finished third at 26-1 odds, 2 1/4 lengths behind Mor Spirit, after being second at each prior call of the race. Danzing Candy faded to fourth, beaten 13 1/4 lengths.

Keith Desormeaux - "For me, this is like a dream. The (Kentucky) Derby is what everybody in this business dreams of. Yes, the way he finished today and the way he galloped out…If we get a fast pace, and we should, yes, I don’t think there’s any problem with it. I would say (Kent and I) have a very frank relationship. If I feel a certain way about something, I don’t hold anything back, and the same for him. I’m not sure I’d talk to a Mike Smith the way I talk to Kent. We’re just very upfront about everything and express ourselves fully.”

What about Nyquist? “We haven’t been able to beat him, what five (actually three) times? I don’t know if we can or not.”

Kent Desormeaux - “Well, if he shows up the first Saturday in May like he did today . . . he was ultra-confident today. He’s so mature and he walked to the gate like an old pony. He left there quiet and comfortable and I think that’s the difference, when a horse lets you drive and they’re not man-handling themselves. He reminded me of Texas Red. He’s that caliber of horse and it’s extra special to be with Keith, and we don’t even talk too much, it’s all quite understood. All he said in the paddock was, ‘Kent, I’m telling you that I’ve never seen this horse so confident.’ When I galloped off once I was on the track, he took to the track like a duck to water. He never missed a beat and he showed it winning today. I don’t think it has soaked in yet, I’m pretty much in shock. I’m just going to pray that unlike Texas Red, we make it there. He was the fourth horse that I rode in the mud today, and the others felt like they had ice skates on. Exaggerator felt like he had track shoes on. He really liked the going and I think that was part of his incredible effort today. He enjoyed the mud.

“I don’t know (if he can beat Nyquist); we’ll find out Derby Day. I heard two people say that Nyquist couldn’t handle Mohaymen. When I tried to run with him in the San Vicente and he went twenty-two and change I thought I was going to go by him like he was tied to a pole but he wouldn’t let me by. That is a very good horse.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Desormeaux said, “Here’s a news flash. Everything looks good this morning. I said after he was third in the San Felipe that maybe the reasons he didn’t finish were that maybe he was a miler, maybe it was one of those crazy bounce theories, but not now. I think his impressive win can be attributed to a combination of several things: his fitness, his pedigree, but most of all, his demeanor before the race. He’s never been a fidgety horse, but yesterday before the race he was calm and never turned a hair.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Desormeaux was happy with today's workout, saying to Jeremy Balan of bloodhorse.com, "He’s progressing, not regressing. A lot of these horses, when they run big races, they regress."

After the break in the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist was soon in front but ran under the finish line the first time just behind Danzing Candy, who was timed in a brisk 22.58. Danzing Candy fully ran by Nyquist in the first turn, getting the first half-mile in 45.77. Nyquist was four lengths back in second, followed by Gun Runner and Outwork. Going up the backstretch, Gun Runner slipped to the inside and gained second position and began challenging Danzing Candy while Nyquist bided his time to the outside in third. Outwork was still fourth. The first six furlongs went into the books in 1:10.40. Gun Runner and Nyquist put away Danzing Candy in the far turn while Outwork retreated. Nyquist took over in upper stretch, and Gun Runner gamely stayed on while Exaggerator, who was well back in the early going, mounted a furious charge. Nyquist finished in 2:01.31 while besting Exaggerator by 1 1/4 length. Gun Runner finished a stubborn third, beaten 4 1/2 lengths and barely holding off the late-running Mohaymen. That one broke a step slow and was pinched back soon after the gates opened.

The chart call: "Exaggerator rafted  back  off  the  early  pace  saving  ground,  picked  up  steam  into  the  far  turn,  angled  out  and aggressively knifed his way between foes nearing the quarter pole, swung out before being straightened into the stretch, then closed strongly to narrow the gap."

Keith Desormeaux – “I didn’t think Exaggerator hit the brakes as much as Kent alluded to. He burst out of the turn, I thought we had time to catch Nyquist. He had clear running room the entire one-quarter mile stretch. I thought for sure we would catch him. He did kind of level off the last sixteenth of a mile. Maybe he ran out of the training. I didn’t see where Nyquist was during the race until after it was over and he was there right there on the pace. What a horse. I can’t respect that horse enough.”

Kent Desormeaux – “My horse slammed on the brakes at the 3 ½, ducked back to the inside and then took off. When you see the replay, it will be obvious. Before the race, my brother was really calm, calmer than any trainer I have ever ridden for. He just told me to have fun out there.”

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Exaggerator came from off the pace to overtake a tiring Nyquist in upper stretch and prevail by 3 1/2 lengths. Uncle Lino, Nyquist and Awesome Speed broke from posts 2, 3 and 4 and sped up the stretch the first time together, with Nyquist in the center. Awesome Speed appeared to crowd Nyquist before the latter one opened a little space between them. Uncle Lino and Nyqyuist were in the opening stage of a duel that would last a mile. Uncle Lino was ahead after the first quarter in 22.38, and Nyquist led through a half-mile in 46.56 and six furlongs in 1:11.97. Leaving the far turn, Nyquist put away Uncle Lino, but as soon as that happened, Exaggerator blew by Nyquist to lead by 1 1/2 length at the furlong marker and win going away. Cherry Wine came up the rail to nip Nyquist for second by a nose.  Exaggerator was eighth in the 11-horse field at each of the first two calls, trailing by 11 1/2 and 6 1/2 lengths, respectively. After six furlongs he was only 2 1/4 lengths behind. Cherry Wine, 10th at each of the first three calls, was 24, 19 and then 11 3/4 lengths in arrears before mounting his late run. Exaggerator crossed the finish line in 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Exaggerator dove toward the fence in the initial furlong as the leaders were content to contest the pace off the inside, quickly gained along the rail nearing the half marker and took measure of the leaders, was patiently handled leaving the three eighths, angled out to be six wide entering the stretch, forged past Nyquist with three sixteenths remaining, kicked clear then lugged in despite left-handed rousing in mid stretch, kept on after his rider switched to the right stick and held firm."

Keith Desormeaux: “I hope it’s not only because of the muddy track. The horse has been training phenomenally. I think there was a conscious decision on the training approach between the Derby and here. My philosophy was to take it as easy as possible because you’re not going to gain any fitness in those two weeks. I did what I could to get him happy and fresh and strong and I’ve always said he’s always had a great ability to recover and he showed it todayl. It is three weeks from today, so I’ll be there with bells on.”

Kent Desormeaux: “I can’t even fathom. It’s going to take a while. I’m in shock right now. I think that Nyquist had company all the way around the course. They stayed really wide. For the things I’ve had in his previous starts, I had a dream trip today. I was on the fence and they all stayed wide. These turns, you want to paint the fence. We did, they didn’t and, not for nothing, but knowledge is power.”

 

 

FELLOWSHIP (FL)
Owner: Jacks or Better Farm Inc.; Breeder: Jacks or Better Farm Inc.; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 8-6-14-0-0 (28) 3.00; By Awesome of Course (Awesome Again (CAN), Mais Oui) out of Go Girlfriend Go (Demidoff, You Go Girlfriend); Foal Date: March 16, 2013; Trainer: Mark Casse

Fellowship debuted with a win going 4 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park way back on May 7, exactly one year before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. He then was engaged in races restricted to Florida stallions, all at Gulfstream Park, finishing second in the 5 1/2-furlong Birdonthewire Stakes, fifth in the six-furlong Florida Sire Dr. Fager Stakes and seventh in the seven-furlong Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes

Fellowship won his first time going a distance of 1 1/16 mile in the Florida Sire In Reality Stakes. He prevailed by 4 1/2 lengths after trailing a 14-horse field on the far turn. His time at Gulfstream Park was 1:46.13, not all that fast, but promising, given the increased distance. Sent to post at 12-1, he gave his owner/breeder and trainer their record 18th success in the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions. Fellowship was unhurried by Jose Caraballo at the start, settling in last place around the first turn and halfway along the backstretch. Leaving the backstretch, Fellowship split horses and was swung to the outside to launch an eye-catching six-wide sweep of the field. Fellowship finished well clear of stable mate Abercorn, who tracked the early pace and made a steady run in the stretch to finish second. Li’l Meatball closed along the inside to finish third, another 1 3/4 length back. Tribal Drama, the 2-1 favorite, never threatened and finished 10th.

The chart call: "Fellowship  was well reserved racing in back of the pack, saved ground along inside, picked up pace running around far turn, circled field six wide, pulled away."

Stanley Gold: "I was hopeful for all three, but I was looking for Abercorn and Brighton Lane, but this one, he jumped up and did it. You never know with the babies. He had a really outstanding work last week that surprised me, and I thought if he ran back to that work, there's no telling. In the last race, he broke good, and he took himself back to last. I thought it might have been blinkers. I talked to Jose and I said, 'Should I take them off?' He said, 'No.' Before that he said he had problems out of the gate and got eliminated, and he did come on late, and he was fifth that day. He didn't run badly, but he didn't run like I expected. This time, he laid back and he finished strong.... We'll sit down, regroup, and decide what we're going to do."

Fred Brei, owner: "He did it his way. He wound up coming out around horses and he benefitted from that trip. There wasn't a horse in this race, I don't think, that had won going two turns, so we were all finding out today something. I've always liked his breeding, Awesome of Course has always been good to us. He'll stay here and come back and run in the winter races for 3-year-olds. We race in Florida unless there's a compelling reason to race elsewhere."

Jose Caraballo: "He run huge. I let him relax and when I was ready I took him outside and he just exploded. He went by everyone. He was in great shape."

Fellowship wasn't done with his juvenile campaign yet. He was cut back to one turn and finished second in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream, then finished second again in the one-mile Smooth Air won by Rafting after being last of seven early, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. The chart call for the Smooth Air: "Fellowship was allowed to settle and raced off top two flights, picked up pace three furlongs out, moved up to challenge Rafting at head of the lane, finished willingly but could not reach rival and finished second best."

Fellowship continued to make all the dances, running in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Jan. 2. He regressed, finishing fifth by 16 lengths to Awesome Speed. He was last of seven early and got a lively pace up front, but he didn't close on this field. The final time was a spritely 1:35.97. The chart call: "Fellowship  raced off the pacesetters early (NOTE: 5 1/2 lengths back), moved five-wide through the turn and finished evenly in the drive."

Next came the Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 30. Fellowship finished third, beaten six lengths. Mohaymen got an impressive, easy win at 3-10 odds. It was a  3 1/2-length victory under regular rider Junior Alvarado's hand ride. He broke a little more slowly than usual and found himself third behind second choice Greenpointcrusader and longshot Perfect Saint in the backstretch. He was on the inside and looked like he might be trapped, but he took command rounding the far turn and drew away from Greenpointcrusader with authority to hit the wire in 1:42.07. Greenpointcrusader was a clear second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of late-running longshot Fellowship, followed by Conquest Big E, who was beaten nine lengths after trying to contend in the far turn. Frontier Ranger and Perfect Saint rounded out the field.

The chart call: "Fellowship  was bumped at the break, raced unhurried early, moved three-wide through the second turn, angled out further with a furlong to run and finished with good late energy."

Stanley Gold - “I’m really happy with that. He was running and considering that this was a mile and a sixteenth and the horses he was running against, this was big. Farther distance won’t be a problem with him, so we’re going to move on.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Gold said, "There’s no question he’ll go longer. It would be nice to see a bigger field and an honest pace and a little more ground, because he was running down the lane. Yeah, the winner won easy. We got beat six lengths, but he was running. The further they go, the better he’ll like it."

Feb. 18 NOTE: “I’m not planning on doing anything (Saturday) – maybe a little something that’s not very serious – because they both (Fellowship and Awesome Banner) had solid works that I planned them to have when I planned them to have them. I’m not planning on breezing them. He doesn’t want to be rushed, but he does have some lick, the 58-and-change (workout on Feb. 13) shows it. He doesn’t want to be rushed. He wants to finish. He was quietly waiting to go long. There wasn’t a real solid pace in the Holy Bull, and Mohaymen had his way, whether or not he was the best horse in the race. There will be a pace in this race. I expect him to be running late, and I expect him to run a good race. If he does, then maybe people will start to notice him.”

Feb. 24 NOTE: Trainer Gold said, “He’s been the two turns, been in the Holy Bull and got Derby points. He was running at the end. To those who think he passed tired horses, they need to look at it again. He didn’t just pass tired horses. He was running. He’ll go the distance.”

In the Feb. 27 Foutain of Youth Stakes, Fellowship trailed the field early. He made a move in the far turn and finished third, but he actually lost a couple of lengths on Mohaymen after that nice turn move. The chart call: "Fellowship showed no early speed, raced three-wide through the second turn, reached a contending position into the stretch but failed to gain on the top pair late."

Stanley Gold - "The other horse ran his race and I'm sure he'll go on to Florida Derby, and the further the better. He was running."

Jose Lezcano - "He gave me what he had."

March 3 NOTE: Trainer Gold said Fellowship is scheduled to return in the Florida Derby on April 2, saying, "This horse will go as far as we need to. He’s still under the radar; he’s still getting no respect. He’ll be a long shot again. In the meantime, he’s run two consistent races and got beat by six lengths to the number one horse for the Kentucky Derby twice. So, we’ll see what he does going a mile and an eighth. I’m not saying he’s going to win, but if he runs like he’s been doing, he’ll be running late. When a horse is running late, they have a chance to win. I’m looking forward to running him in the Florida Derby. I’m not thinking about the Kentucky Derby right now, but if he continues to run like he’s been running and he’s finishing and he can get in, I would think Jacks or Better would want to go."

March 11 NOTE: After Fellowship breezed four in 47.53 at Gulfstream Park, trainer Gold said, “He worked like he usually works. People like to use the words ‘maintenance work,’ and I guess that’s what it is because he’ll be working again next week. He’s on target for the Florida Derby. Hopefully, everything stays good and we run and make a good showing. Everything’s good right now. So far he’s been right there, and he’s running against the best, and he’ll be running against the best next time. It’s certainly not an easy task, but he’s finishing and as long as he’s finishing he’s got a shot. The extra eighth of a mile is not going to hurt him. We’ll see.”

March 17 NOTE: Trainer Gold said, “Fellowship is going to go in the Florida Derby for sure. He’s training good. He breezed in 47 (on March 12). We’ve got time for another work or two if we want. I’m looking forward to the race. The extra sixteenth of a mile is going to help him. He’ll tell me what he needs to do. I left leeway for him to work one or two more times and he probably will work again, maybe not twice, but it all depends on the weather, the horse, and how it’s going. But he’s right where he needs to be. No one is expecting a large field, so that doesn’t ever help a horse that’s coming off the pace. It wasn’t a large field last time, either, so we’ll deal with it. That’s the way it is.”

March 30: Trainer Gold said the day of the Florida Derby post position draw, “He’s good. He’d better be doing good if he’s going to run against them. Obviously, we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re running against the two best. I’m not going to look for a race somewhere else to avoid them. He gives us reason for optimism. We got beat by one of the top two twice, but he ran good.”

March 31 NOTE: Trainer Gold said, “I’m just worried about the Florida Derby. If it turns out he has enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby or even if he doesn’t have enough points, not everyone with points cares about running in the Derby. We may even be one if we’re lucky enough to be considered or get in, and it might be that Jacks or Better won’t want to run in the Derby. I’m not giving it any thought right now. Sure, you can sit around and dream, but I’m not a dreamer. The races are getting longer. The Kentucky Derby is a mile and a quarter. I’m not thinking about the Kentucky Derby; I’m thinking about the Florida Derby. When a horse is running late, you hope they can continue to sustain the late run. Distance isn’t a problem. It’s still one race at a time. We’re in the Florida Derby; it’s a mile and an eighth. The Fountain of Youth was a mile and a sixteenth. I expect he’s got another sixteenth to keep coming, so we’ll see how close he gets. It’s a big race, obviously. It’s the biggest day of the year, and it’s fun to be a part of the biggest day of the year. There’s nothing to be ashamed of to have the horse that finished third to the No. 1 horse that’s here. I’m going to enjoy it. Obviously, I’m not going to be happy if he runs back, but I’m obviously not expecting him to run bad. My hope is he runs his race, he’s coming and he’s gets close enough to have an impact.”

In the Florida Derby on April 2, Nyquist vanquished Mohaymen, who finished fourth behind the winner, Majesto and Fellowship. The latter two came on late in the stretch while Nyquist set the pace with Mohaymen tracking him wide in about fourth position until he made a move at the leader in the far turn. Nyquist was feathered out wide leaving the turn, pushing Mohaymen wider still. Nyquist galloped away in the lane while one got the feeling Mohaymen was not asked for his all once the race was lost. The winning margin over second finished Majesto was 3 1/4 lengths, with Fellowship another length back in third, four lengths in front of Mohaymen. The winning time was 1:49.11. Nyquist set fractions of 23.60, 47.09, 1:11.39 and 1:36.38.

The chart call: "Fellowship  was unhurried and taken back to settle in or near the back of the pack, saved ground racing just off the inside, crept up closer departing the backstretch, angled out a path and made a move approaching the five sixteenths pole, continued under a ride, came out six wide in the final turn, angled in couple paths and steadily gained position four to five wide in the final furlong."

Jose Lezcano - “I had a good trip. We broke and I got the position I wanted. When I asked him, he gave me a kick, but the other two kept running.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Gold said, “I think the next start he will be even better. He’s improved with each race. He’s run good and consistent all three times against the best. So we know how he’d fare against the best. It’s not like we’ve been running away from them. We went up against the top two up to this point. A mile and a quarter will be better than a mile and an eighth."

April 12 NOTE: Fellowship was transferred to trainer Mark Casse from Stanley Gold. From a courier-journal.com article, Casse said, ""What intrigues me about him is that Gulfstream is notorious for speed bias, and this horse has been able to rally. If he takes to Churchill Downs with his running style, we know he'll like the mile and a quarter, so that's not an issue. I think he's a horse that will suit Churchill well and come with a big run -- at least that's what we're hoping."

April 15 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “We’re going to see how it goes, see how he trains. Fred and I have had a couple of conversations, and if he trains well, we’re going to run in the Derby. If he we’re not happy, we’re going to pass. We won’t make that decision until the very last minute, but right now it is our main focus and our goal.”

April 17 NOTE: After Fellowship breezed four in 48.80, assistant trainer Norm Casse said, “I didn’t really know what to expect, I just kind of went in with no real expectations. He was real full of energy. I was real excited about the way he worked. He moved well, so I was really happy with him. Obviously there will have to be some defections for us to run. But it’s still too early to tell for sure, next week will be his big work and we’ll have a better indicator on where he is and what type of horse we think he is. If he gets in, he deserves a shot, but he’ll have to work his way in.”

April 23 NOTE: Assistant trainer Norman Casse said after today's workout, “He did everything that we wanted him to do. This was just what we liked to see two weeks before a big race. Looks like he just skips over the racetrack. He’s full of himself and has a lot of good energy. It’s just everything you look for in a two-week work in our program.”

Fellowship was still running late in the race, but he couldn't do better than fourth, beaten five lengths, in the Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby day. Sharp Azteca won by 2 1/2 lengths in a fast time of 1:34.37, Forevamo was second and Star Hill was third.

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Fellowship started slowly and finished the same way. He finished eighth, beaten 18 3/4 lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Fellowship made contact with Stradivari leaving the gate, settled off the early pace, raced three wide heading toward the lane but failed to generate a response."

Mark Casse: “I don’t think we had an excuse. There was big pace, and it looked like he made a nice middle move, but he flattened out about the 5/8ths-pole.”

Jose Lezcano: “I had a really good trip. I tried to keep going, but we just couldn’t stay even.”

 

 

LANI (KY)
Owner: Koji Maeda; Breeder: North Hills Co. Ltd.; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-9-18-3-1 (38) 1.92; By Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels) out of Heavenly Romance (Sunday Silence, First Act (IRE)); Foal Date: Feb. 22, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga

Lani, who began his career with five races in Japan, has never raced less than a mile. He debuted racing about a mile and a quarter, finishing fourth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths to a time of 2:05.80. Next out he was shortened up to about nine furlongs and ran second, beaten five lengths to a time of 1:54.80. Third time was the charm for Lani as he won again going about nine furlongs on Nov. 22. Just six days later, he won going about a mile. His times in the latter two races were improved -- 1:52.70 and 1:37.40.

After a layoff, next came graded company, the Hyacinth Stakes at about a mile on Feb. 21. Lani broke poorly, managed to get in contention by the time they got to the top of the stretch, but flattened out to finish fifth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The winner was timed in 1:35.40, so we can see that Lani was still improving despite the loss.

Lani overcame difficulty to win the UAE Derby on March 26. He was fractious at the gate and stumbled badly at the start, resulting in his being positioned last of seven going into the first turn. He was placed on the outside of the field, moved up with a half-mile left and got the lead over longshot Yu Change with around 100 meters to go. Favored Polar River was trapped behind horses in the stretch and was swung out to get clear, finishing well to run second, beaten three parts of a length. The time for about 1 3/16 mile was 1:58.41. Lani galloped out well and wasn't passed by any of his competitors.

The colt is known for being a handful during training and on the track. Before the race, he was saddled in a private area away from the crowds and then went straight onto the track instead of the parade ring.

The chart call: "Lani broke awkwardly, chased leaders 800m out, led 100m out, ran on well."

Yutaka Take – “He’s a very strong horse, so I really thought I had a good chance in the race. Even though he tripped at the start, he travelled really well throughout. Right now he’s still rather immature so he’s got a lot of growing up to do. He’s getting better and better, and I’d like to go to Kentucky.”

Mikio Matsunaga, trainer - “I am so happy, I don’t really know what to say. I was a bit worried after he stumbled at the start, but he showed how good he really can be today, and Take rode a great race. The Meydan staff has been very kind to us, allowing us to take the best care of Lani as possible. He can be very troublesome so we really appreciated the allowances given to us by the track staff."

Koki Maeda, the son of owner - “We always knew he was special. We would really like to win the Kentucky Derby, and based on how he ran over this surface, I think he’ll be able to run well in Kentucky if we go. If there is nothing wrong with the horse after the race and Mr Maeda wants to go, we will send him to the Kentucky Derby.”

STEWARDS' REPORT: "Jockey Take was fined AED 5000 under the provisions of ERA Rule 69B(a) for using the whip to excess, three more than permitted."

LINK TO THE VIDEO OF THE UAE DERBY: http://drc.newzpoint.com/#/ondemand/id/OgJ8kcpHz9/

April 3 NOTE: Lani looks to be only the second Japan-based horse to compete in the Kentucky Derby. The first was Ski Captain, who finished 14th in 1995 under Take – the jockey’s lone Derby mount. He would become the ninth Kentucky Derby starter that raced exclusively outside North America prior to competing in the “Run for the Roses.” None finished in the Top 5: Dr Devious-IRE (seventh in 1992), Thyer (13th in 1992), Citadeed (ninth in 1995), Ski Captain (14th in 1995), China Visit (sixth in 2000), Curule (seventh in 2000), Castle Gandolfo (12th in 2002) and Mubtaahij (eighth in 2015).

April 14 NOTE: “He is getting used to the new surroundings very well,” said Keita Tanaka, agent for owner Koji Maeda. “For the first few days, things were a little crazy, but he’s doing everything okay. All of the people here are treating us really well, which makes me happy. Tanaka said Lani would breeze April 20.

April 20 NOTE: Spokesperson Kieta Tanaka said, “Everything has gone according to plan, so I’m happy with that. We don’t do super-fast works around this time, so everything is what I have planned. We’ll do something faster next week and three or four days before the Derby.”

Lani didn't get much respect going into the Kentucky Derby, but he beat 11 horses. The chart call: "Lani  broke slow and was bumped when Destin came in, settled off the inside, improved slightly into the far turn, was forced extremely wide approaching the stretch, recovered and kept on willingly.

Mikio Matsunaga – “Very proud to be one of the runners. I am very impressed with the atmosphere. He chased from behind and the ground is too fast so it’s not a suitable ground for him, but he did a good run. For Lani and for myself, it’s a big experience for us."

Yutaka Take, rider of Lani (ninth) – “It was a very tough race. He needed more speed.”

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Lani was last, 22 lengths behind after the first half-mile, and ran along uneventully to finish fifth, beaten five lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Lani bobbled at the break and was away last, dropped far back early and raced off the rail, began a run leaving the three eighths, steadied off heels soon into the lane, angled out to split rivals, lugged in briefly near the eighth pole, corrected and kept on with good energy."

Mikio Matsunaga: “He broke from the gate slow as usual. After the wire he passed everybody. This was much better than the Derby. I really feel on a fast track he would have been closer. The race we’re looking forward to now is the Belmont because it’s longer.”

Yutaka Take: “He had a good trip. The stretch was a little too short for him. We had no problems at all and he made up a lot of ground.”

 

 

LAOBAN (KY)
Owner:  McCormick Racing LLC and Southern Equine Stable LLC; Breeder: Respite Farm; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-3-4-0-0 (8) 3.00; By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa May) out of Chattertown (Speightstown, Chatter Chatter); Foal Date: Jan. 31, 2013; $40.000 Keeneland November 2013/$260,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Eric Guillot

Laoban opened his career with a seventh-place finish at Del Mar and a second-place finish at Los Alamitos. Both races were staged at one mile.

Laoban finished third in the one-mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita in January after running evenly in fifth, then fourth, and then third, always about the same distance from the front. He didn't have a very good trip, as we see below.

One of the two California shippers entered in the Risen Star Stakes, Laoban was declared from the race on Monday, Feb. 15. Trainer Guillot said the horse is OK and will aim toward another race, but you really have to take that with a grain of salt, don't you. Later Guillot said Laoban had a fever.

Feb. 28 NOTE: Trainer Guillot said, "He worked good. He went 24 for the last quarter and galloped out in 1:27 and 3. He's pretty fit; I just wanted to get a work over this track. I really wasn't worried about time. He is still a maiden but he's a nice horse. In the Sham, he got slammed out of the gate, got a little rank, went wide and still ran third. I really think he might've been the best that day. He's still got a summer coat on him so he's got a big blanket on him. But horses are cold weather animals by nature, so he hasn't seemed worried about it."

March 2 NOTE: Later trainer Guillot spoke again about the Sham, "He was slammed out of the gate, the saddle slipped up on his withers, he ran six wide in the first turn and then almost clipped heels. It changes the thought process.You don't want to use your horse in a 1 1/16-mile race, but you don't want to get buried either. We might have to try to pull a Moreno (in the Gotham)."

In the March 5 Gotham Stakes, favored Shagaf rated in fourth while on the inside up the backstretch behind fractions of 23.33, 47.16 and 1:11.69, kept running toward pacesetter Laoban in the stretch and got up in the final strides to prevail over him by 1 1/4 length in 1:45.90. Adventist nipped Sunny Ridge for third after the latter one challenged Laoban and was repelled. The track was favoring early speed on this day.

Eric Guillot - "I don't think anybody did anything wrong. We had to go off plan when we drew the rail. He's a big, 17 and 1 horse, and he's a little straight up behind. He never really breaks that sharp. He broke a half-jump slow and he (Aaron Gryder) had to quarter-horse him a little bit to get him rolling. He's got tons of ability but this horse, when you ride him, he gets on the muscle and just keeps peddling. The second quarter, I think, cost us the win, but that's what you have to do when you have a horse that doesn't break that fast. Otherwise, we probably would've been buried and wouldn't have hit the board." On next race: "Maybe (the Wood Memorial). I don't know yet, I'll have to make a decision. Or I might go to Keeneland for the Blue Grass."

On April 9, Laoban set the pace, then faded to fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Meanwhile, Brody's Cause, eleventh of 14 runners after a half-mile run in a brisk 46.75 by Laoban, won the race. While Loaban stayed on the lead through six furlongs in 1:11.44, Brody's Cause was getting ready to make his move. Ninth at that point, and 6 1/4 lengths off the pace, he was on the lead two furlongs later with the mile gone in 1:37.26. He stayed on to win in 1:50.20, prevailing by 1 3/4 length. For a few moments in the stretch run, it looked like Cherry Wine might round out the exacta. My Man Sam got to him in the final jump, eking out the place by a head. Both horses also came from far off the pace. My Man Sam had to work out a good trip after breaking from post 14. Cherry Wine broke from post 3. Loaban hung around for fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths.

Jose Lezcano, rider of fourth-place finisher Laoban - "My horse kind of ran off the whole way around and got tired. He held on very good, but I think if he was more relaxed he could run better."

May 8 NOTE: Laoban was entered in the Kentucky Derby, was also-eligible but didn't make the field. The Preakness is his next target. Blinkers have come off in his recent training in an effort to help him rate.

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Laoban, blinkers off, ran evenly to finish sixth, beaten 12 lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Laoban  bumped with Abiding Star soon after the break, hustled up to contention, lost ground five wide chasing the pace, gained slightly into the far turn, remained a presence to the quarter pole then faded."

Eric Guillot: “He climbed the whole race. He hated the track. He struggled in the mud. He was relaxed, but he just struggled.”

Florent Geroux: “I had a good journey. We stayed off the speed and tried to make our move at the half. Then he just stayed there. But he was fine. He should be real good next time.”

 

 

NYQUIST (KY)
Owner: Reddam Racing; Breeder: Summerhill Farm; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-2-1-0-0 (4) 7.00; By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa Maya) out of Seeking Gabrielle (Forestry, Seeking Regina); Foal Date: March 10, 2013; $180,000 Keeneland November 2013/$230,000 Keeneland September 2014/$400,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida March 2015; 2YO Horse of the Year; Trainer: Doug O'Neill

Owned by J. Paul Reddam, trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez – the I’ll Have Another crew -- Nyquist beat Keith Desormeaux’ Swipe by 5 1/4 lengths to take the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar.

Doug O'Neill - “I think it’s safe to say he’s the best of our 2-year-olds. Physically and mentally, he’s our best. If he stays injury-free, he’s got the mind of a champ.”

Paul Reddam - “There was a lot of hype about the Uncle Mos, especially one other Uncle Mo (at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale). But Dennis liked the one that the hype wasn’t about. Jamie McCalmont, who works with us, also liked him. It’s not too often that he and Dennis agree. So we decided to take a swing and get the colt.”

Dennis O’Neill - “He’s probably the prettiest horse I’ve ever bought. He’s just a gorgeous animal, a classy, classy horse.”

Steve Rothblum of the O’Neill barn - “He’s a first-Saturday-in-May kind of colt. He’s young, and he’s going to get better and better the farther he goes.”

In the Sept. 7 Del Mar Futurity going seven furlongs, Nyquist was much the best and was timed in 1:23.28. The chart call: "Nyquist stalked the pace off the rail, bid between horses into the turn, took a short lead between foes past midway on the turn, drifted out some into the stretch, inched away in upper stretch and kicked clear under a crack of the whip and some hand urging then a long hold late. Swipe finished second, beaten 3 3/4 length. After trailing most of the field early, he surged in the stretch and was well clear of the third finisher.

Doug O'Neill: “I thought we had the perfect trip and Mario did a great job. This is a super horse and, like any great athlete, it’s a matter of staying healthy and if he stays that way he’ll do some big things.”

Mario Gutierriez: “Any other track in the country – if I run a :44 half like that – I’m well in front. But here they were all coming at me. I used him early, but then I didn’t have to use him at all. He just coasted home. He’s a nice colt, really nice. Can I compare him to I’ll Have Another? No, not really different horses. Remember, I rode ‘Another’ as a 3-year-old. This one is only a 2-year-old.”

Nyquist repelled Go Long and Mt Veeder and held off Swipe to win the 1 1/16-mile FrontRunner Stakes a little less than three weeks after the Del Mar Futurity. He also withstood a stewards' inquiry. It was his first race around two turns. He won by three parsts of a length, with Hollywood Don another 5 3/4 lengths back in third, followed by Rare Candy. The time was 1:44.89.

Paul Reddam - “He showed he likes a dogfight. It was a little more exciting than we wanted it to be. (The timing is) not ideal, but the idea was to run in this race and then have five weeks until the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile."

Nyquist continued his winning ways in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland despite having to break from post 12. Swipe again ran second to him, this time by a half-length after breaking from post 11. Brody's Cause was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Nyquist, and Exaggerator came in fourth.  Nyquist was eighth in the early going, about five lengths off the pace, but he was four or five lanes wide. The winning time was 1:43.79.

Paul Reddam - “He took a lot of abuse from handicappers for his descending Beyer Speed Figures coming into the race. I thought, ‘Is it really a criticism that you’re not winning by enough?’"

Doug O'Neill - “Midrace, I thought, ‘Well, they’re not machines. Even great horses every now and then don’t fire. I thought he wasn’t firing. When Mario called on him, he sure did. The race didn't unfold like I expected. We thought, being on the outside there, with kind of a short run to the first turn, we'd be up on the lead, saving ground. I have to watch the replay, but from my recollection we were five or six wide. But Mario did his Mario thing where he just never panicked. From day one, before this horse ever debuted, he had the mind and the stride of a two-turn horse. When he debuted, like, 'wow.' The other day, maybe he wasn't that impressive, maybe because we came back quickly. He was pressured early, and I think with that race under his belt, he turned it around today.”

Mario Gutierrez - “That’s the beauty when you ride a good horse – there’s always time to adapt. Relax, wait for everybody to get their positions, tried saving a little bit of ground in the backstretch; from that point on, it was wait to push the button to go home. I had a little trouble getting over from my outside post, but except for the first turn I had good position. Being wide wasn’t a problem. I didn’t want to get to the rail and get covered up. He was running fine on the outside and so we just stayed there. I’ve always had confidence in this horse. He’s a good one.”

Nyquist got a well-deserved break and was then entered in the Feb. 15 San Vicente Stakes. He broke from the rail and went to the lead in his 3-year-old debut, the San Vicente Stakes, and he didn't let anything catch him. The seven furlongs was timed in a spritely 1:20.71. Nyquist didn't rate at all, running the first half-mile in 44 and change, but it was still a really great return from his layoff. Exaggerator ran like a champ too and finished second, beaten 1 1/2 length after chasing Nyquist in the backstretch and trying to make a winning move in upper stretch. Nyquist repelled that move and eased on out to win fairly easily.

Mario Gutierrez - “He hasn’t run since (Oct. 31), so we know he was going to be rank, but I also believe in his talent. I wanted to fight with him as little as possible today, let him do his thing and you saw the results. I wasn’t worried about Exaggerator today. I can’t be worried about that, about other horses. I know my horse is talented enough to make it to the bigger races, so if I’m worried about other horses now, this early, than that makes me sound like I don’t believe in my horse and I do.”

Doug O'Neill - “Everything went great, and for the race to go the way it did, I’m pumped and so proud of the whole team. Mario was great under pressure, which is what we need right now. Exaggerator is a nice horse, and for him to hold him off the way he did showed you how talented he is. There were some anxious moments when I saw the fractions, and you’re better off on the outside tracking than on the inside being tracked. The post wasn’t an advantage at all, and I think we got pushed by (Sheikh of Sheikhs) a little bit early. But Mario is smart. He knew what he had. I really was impressed with the gallop out. He galloped out great.

“I haven’t talked to Paul. The original plan was the Florida Derby, and there’s a bonus involved, of course, so we’ll huddle up and play it by ear and do whatever is in the best interest of Nyquist for sure.”

Dennis O'Neill - “It was scary, because I saw that horse pressing him, and 44 and change was a little spooky, and then eight and change, and you keep waiting for them to slow down off a layoff like that. To see him kick on and gallop out like that was really, really exciting. I don’t know how good this horse is now. I knew he was a good horse, but I thought today’s performance was amazing. We’re really excited moving forward. It’s a perfect prep. We have seven weeks (to the Florida Derby). We couldn’t ask for anything better. The gallop out was scary, because it looked like Exaggerator had him. He made him run. He kept trying to get a breather, and he couldn’t get a breather the whole way. For a horse to do it is pretty exciting.”

J. Paul Reddam - “That was what we anticipated. We knew Exaggerator was ready, and we knew we’d probably have to go. They can give him respect or not, but that’s not going to affect his performance on the racetrack. We try not to take any of that personally, and if they want to say, ‘That was only seven-eighths – how’s he going to be at a mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter?,’ We’ll let him tell us. When we talked about it at the beginning of the year, we said we’d go to the San Vicente and the Florida Derby because we liked the timing. I think Doug will change his mind a couple times between now and then, because there’s the temptation to stay home. We love Santa Anita. But we’ll see. We just want to take it in stride. It was a good first step. The track was fast, and he ran like the track was fast. He’s just got that mindset that you’re not going to beat him.”

Nyquist was now set to make the seven-furlongs-to-a-mile-and-an-eighth transition that's a popular angle with some handicappers.

Feb. 19 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said,  “Our original plan was to run in the Florida Derby after the San Vicente. After the Breeders’ Cup we wanted to run in the San Vicente and then the Florida Derby, so we’re going to stick with our plan.” O’Neill said he plans to ship Nyquist “about a week before the race.”

March 3 NOTE: Nyquist worked a half mile under exercise rider Jonny Garcia in 48.80. Trainer O'Neill said, “He went great, full of energy. I loved what we saw and we’re very happy. We’re just trying to stay in front of the rain that might be coming this weekend. The plan is to have all breezes here."

March 9 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said, “Our plan right now is to ship on the 28th. We’re scheduled to breeze tomorrow and every week until we go there. When he gets there he’ll just go to the track. He won’t work. The Keeneland race showed he can travel. We’re not concerned about him needing a certain track. I don’t think the surface matters to him."

Trainer O'Neill said after the Florida Derby post position draw, “It’s hard to gauge. Prior to the draw, we didn’t know if they’d be a bad post for him. Number four is just fine. Like the rest of them, we have to leave the gate running and get good position. I think Mohaymen has home-court advantage and he is every professional handicapper’s pick from what I’ve read. He’s the Derby favorite to this point. We’ve got to beat him to earn our respect that way.”

April 1 NOTE: Assistant trainer Leandro Mora said, “We’re all very positive people and try to stay that way and that helps a lot. I have been with Doug for 15 years. I was his first assistant and Jack has been with us since a little bit before I’ll Have Another. We’re blessed to have him. He’s a great guy. “Mario is a smart rider. He does a good job. Johnny (Garcia) does a lot of the work in the morning. He really gets along with Nyquist. When we get the babies, I always pass on the horses and divide them up to the different (exercise) riders. They always ride the same horse and stay with them, and Johnny has been lucky enough to be with the best so far. He’s a very positive guy who gets the horses to train. He was with I’ll Have Another and Goldencents, too. He’s been with us since 2010 and also gets on Gomo and Donworth.”

April 1 NOTE: Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said, "I travel a lot and just came from the New Orleans. I can’t remember when I saw my bed last, but I don’t mind. I worked for Eddie Kenneally and Todd Pletcher before, but I’ll Have Another was a great experience. I did summers at Churchill for Todd while I was at the University of Louisville.  Nyquist is a professional and makes my job a lot easier. He does everything right.”

In the Florida Derby on April 2, Nyquist vanquished Mohaymen, who finished fourth behind the winner, Majesto and Fellowship. The latter two came on late in the stretch while Nyquist set the pace with Mohaymen tracking him wide in about fourth position until he made a move at the leader in the far turn. Nyquist was feathered out wide leaving the turn, pushing Mohaymen wider still. Nyquist galloped away in the lane while one got the feeling Mohaymen was not asked for his all once the race was lost. The winning margin was 3 1/4 lengths, with Fellowship another length back in third, four lengths in front of Mohaymen. The winning time was 1:49.11. Nyquist set fractions of 23.60, 47.09, 1:11.39 and 1:36.38.

Doug O’Neill - “I just thought Mario rode a brilliant race. He showed the way out of there and just kept on going, improved his position. It was all Mario. Mario won the first turn, and the first turn won the race. I think we just had a very lucky trip. Mario broke great and did a great job riding and everything just went right. This whole trip other than being delayed one day, everything else went right. So many things can go wrong in this business. Nyquist traveled well, looked well. Leandro Mora, my main guy here, who’s at the barn 24 hours a day, seven days a week...but Leandro basically sleeps with the horse. It’s a credit to the whole team how he came over, how he looked and how he ran.

“Obviously we’re high as a kite right now. But he seems like you could run him on just about anything. He’s trained on synthetic. It doesn’t seem like footing really bothers him. Johnny Garcia, his daily exercise rider, commented that the one day that he galloped here, that the track was just much more tight than Santa Anita. So he felt like he was really ready to run on a tight track after training at Santa Anita, which has a little more cushion. Maybe he was just really legged up, but you know, going a mile and an eighth in only his second time out as a 3-year-old—we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were optimistic, but you never know, and he exceeded our expectations for sure.

“We drew up thinking two preps before the Derby would leave him with fresh legs. He’s got a lot of miles underneath him in the morning and we have a fresh horse for the afternoon.”

Mario Gutierrez - “It was always part of the plan. It just depends on the break; how the other horses were going to be acting, so coming out of the gate, I broke so clean and so fast so I just had to take the lead.”

Paul Reddam - “When it rained we were happy. Before the races got going, we thought, ‘Uh oh, maybe the track will dry out,’ so I had Doug’s son Daniel do a rain dance, and then it started pouring. Absolutely, we were happy with a wet track.”

April 9 NOTE: Nyquist, who was shipped to Keeneland shortly after the Florida Derby, went to the track for the first time today. He jogged slowly. It looked like he was walking to Downey. There's nothing wrong with him at all, and he looked like he wanted to do more.

April 10 NOTE: After Nyquist jogged energetically at Keeneland, assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said, "Words cannot describe how good he went. He teaches us something every day. It was scary good how he went today.... I'm pretty sure he'll be galloping tomorrow. If the weather is uncooperative, we'll go to the training track."

April 13 NOTE: Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson after a jog and a gallop by Nyquist: “Jonny said he felt better here than he does back home."\

April 15 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said after Nyquist put in a maintenance work at Keeneland, “We were very happy with the work. Jonny got him nice and settled and he actually went a mile. He got his first half in around a minute and the last half right at :50. He was stretching out good and straight as an arrow. We are all very happy with the breeze. This is what we do at home a lot of the time. He has enough natural speed that we are not looking to add any speed, and we will continue with the maintenance.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said after today's workout, "We thought him going in company, he's just, he would do it easier. Cause he's so competitive, and sometimes by himself Jonny's got to ask him a little bit, so we thought it would be easier on him, and man, he was strong early, he really wanted to go, so at this point, really happy. At this point, he's fit and ready, so we're just strictly looking for maintenance. We told Jonny 1:01 and I think the clockers gave him 1:01 and four, so that's pretty good."

April 24 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said, “Nyquist looks great this morning and Land Over Sea looks super. Ideally, they will work next Saturday, but it could be Friday, Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. Whatever day they work and come out of it good, they would ship to Churchill Downs the next day.”

After the break in the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist was soon in front but ran under the finish line the first time just behind Danzing Candy, who was timed in a brisk 22.58. Danzing Candy fully ran by Nyquist in the first turn, getting the first half-mile in 45.77. Nyquist was four lengths back in second, followed by Gun Runner and Outwork. Going up the backstretch, Gun Runner slipped to the inside and gained second position and began challenging Danzing Candy while Nyquist bided his time to the outside in third. Outwork was still fourth. The first six furlongs went into the books in 1:10.40. Gun Runner and Nyquist put away Danzing Candy in the far turn while Outwork retreated. Nyquist took over in upper stretch, and Gun Runner gamely stayed on while Exaggerator, who was well back in the early going, mounted a furious charge. Nyquist finished in 2:01.31 while besting Exaggerator by 1 1/4 length. Gun Runner finished a stubborn third, beaten 4 1/2 lengths and barely holding off the late-running Mohaymen. That one broke a step slow and was pinched back soon after the gates opened.

The chart call: "Nyquist came away in good order, was content to track the pace three deep, took closer order under confident handling leaving the three-eighths pole, overpowered Gun Runner soon into the lane, spurted clear while shifting towards the rail in midstretch, kept on under a downturned right handed stick and  held  Exaggerator at  bay.  

Doug O’Neill – “He’s a special, special horse. You can see it in his eye on a daily basis. He knows how to bring his ‘A’ game. If he was a human athlete, we’d celebrate him as a super star.”

Mario Gutierrez – “It’s unreal. No words can describe it. The trip was amazing. We got a beautiful trip, you know, from the start to the end. And the pressure, it is pressure. Like the horses on the field, it's the Kentucky Derby. It's the only race we have, like, 19 other horses trying to get to the wire first. But, like I say, I get the confidence from Nyquist. I was able to work him since he got to the track, so I know him a lot, and I trust him. And I believe he trusts me as well. Like I say, if anybody watches Nyquist's races, you will see that he will not allow any other horse pass him. He's always ‑‑ he's the kind of horse that always has something left for whatever comes to him late. So he was able to win by five lengths. He's been able to win by a nose. So that's how I get so much confidence from him. Because, if anybody comes late, I know he'll have something to respond to that.”

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Exaggerator came from off the pace to overtake a tiring Nyquist in upper stretch and prevail by 3 1/2 lengths. Uncle Lino, Nyquist and Awesome Speed broke from posts 2, 3 and 4 and sped up the stretch the first time together, with Nyquist in the center. Awesome Speed appeared to crowd Nyquist before the latter one opened a little space between them. Uncle Lino and Nyqyuist were in the opening stage of a duel that would last a mile. Uncle Lino was ahead after the first quarter in 22.38, and Nyquist led through a half-mile in 46.56 and six furlongs in 1:11.97. Leaving the far turn, Nyquist put away Uncle Lino, but as soon as that happened, Exaggerator blew by Nyquist to lead by 1 1/2 length at the furlong marker and win going away. Cherry Wine came up the rail to nip Nyquist for second by a nose.  Exaggerator was eighth in the 11-horse field at each of the first two calls, trailing by 11 1/2 and 6 1/2 lengths, respectively. After six furlongs he was only 2 1/4 lengths behind. Cherry Wine, 10th at each of the first three calls, was 24, 19 and then 11 3/4 lengths in arrears before mounting his late run. Exaggerator crossed the finish line in 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Nyquist came away in good order and engaged in a duel three to four wide outside of Uncle Lino, matched strides with that one and gained a slim lead soon into the lane, ceded command to the winner leaving the three sixteenths, shied inward a bit, altered out as the winner cleared in mid stretch, gave willing pursuit from there and lost the place bob."

Doug O’Neill: “They went pretty good early on. I just really wanted to see a good, clean trip and trouble free. I think Mario did a wonderful job with that. He didn’t bring it today and more than anything Exaggerator just ran a monstrous race. Hats off to them. When he swung out, I thought he might come back, Exaggerator had that momentum and Nyquist had done so much early in the race and just couldn’t keep pace. He still gutted it out and almost held on for second. I’m very proud of him. I didn’t think we could get beat, to be honest with you. Nyquist is such an amazing horse, and he still ran a great race. We’ll kind of figure this all out, watch some replays. I didn’t get a chance to talk with Mario. Nyquist still ran a huge race. We’ll huddle up with Paul and Zillah Reddam and the whole crew and see how he comes out of it. It looked like he came back and got unsaddled in good shape. Maybe we’ll try again.

“We just wanted a clean trip. We thought we had the best horse and wanted to ride him like the best horse and not try to get too cute and get perfect positioning. Him going fast early was really my idea, thinking ‘he’s the best horse, take it to them.’ If we’re going to get beat, let’s get beat being aggressive and not trying to get cute and get in trouble. I thought we were good all the way around. I didn’t have the greatest angle, but there was some point there where it just seemed like they were going to get into a head to head battle and all of a sudden I could see Mario going around him. Oh my God, I didn’t know Exaggerator was that far ahead of him. I’m just so proud of him and I still feel like a winner.

Mario Gutierrez: “I could feel Exaggerator coming. There was nothing we could do. We swung out late, but they were tough. We tried but just didn’t get there.”

 

 

STRADIVARI (KY)
Owner: John D. Gunther, Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier; Breeder: John D. Gunther; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-6-9-2-0 (24) 2.69; By Medaglia d'Oro (El Prado (IRE), Cappucino Bay) out of Bending Strings (American Chance, Straight South); Foal Date: April 24, 2013; RNA $350,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Todd Pletcher

On November 8, Stradivari finished fourth in his debut, a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Aqueduct won by Vorticity.

He was shipped to Florida and scored big in his second outing, which took place on Dec. 5 at Gulfstream Park. Going 1 1/16 mile, Stradivari won by 11 1/4 lengths while timed in 1:44.08. He was the second choice at 9-5. After attending the pace for a half-mile clocked in 48.51, he was in control after six furlongs timed in 1:13.64.

Stradivari needed some time off and came back on April 17 at Keeneland to again win by a large margin going nine furlongs in a very sharp 1:48.64. He prevailed by 14 1/2 lengths at 7-5 odds. Siding Spring, at 6-5, finished fourth.

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Stradivari broke from post 11, tucked in and was fifth at the first three calls, third at the furlong marker and fourth at the finish line, beaten four lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Stradivari broke inward and brushed with Fellowship, corrected then was difficult to settle when rank advancing into the first turn, continued rank heading toward the backstretch, moved with the winner while between horses into the far turn, gave hard chase past the five sixteenths, was carried six wide as the winner angled for room, straightened away to remain a solid presence to mid stretch then gave way grudgingly."

Todd Pletcher: “I thought he ran well. He had to move around a bit a couple of times. He had to make a couple of different moves, but I thought all in all for his fourth start of his career, it was a big effort. I think he handled the footing fine, but it made for a tricky race, the way it unfolded.”

John Velazquez: “I had a good trip. The only thing he didn’t do was relax. He went out from here to the three-quarter pole and tried to do more than I wanted him to. I got right up behind Nyquist and thought we had him, but we just didn’t have enough horse left to compete.”

 

 

UNCLE LINO (KY)
Owner: Tom Manso, Purple Shamrock Racing and Gary Sherlock; Breeder: JPR Stable LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-3-2-0-0 (8) 7.00;  By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa Maya) out of Haysee (Orientate, Oatsee); Foal Date: Feb.  11, 2013; $52,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Gary Sherlock

Uncle Lino broke his maiden in his second start going 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar. His third start was a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on Jan. 3 at Santa Anita, and in a blanket finish he came in third, beaten a head by I Will Score and Rockin Bayou.

Mor Spirit easily won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 5. The winning margin was only 1 1/2 lengths, but Gary Stevens showed quiet confidence throughout, barely asking the winner. Mor Spirit sat a perfect trip in behind dueling leaders I Will Score and Uncle Lino up the backstretch and around the far turn. Stevens waited to call upon the winner leaving the furlong pole and won easily. Uncle Lino broke from the far outside and pushed I Will Score through splits of 23.49, 47.78, 1:12.34 and 1:37.10 before passing him late to get the place by a half-length. The winning time was 1:43.21. Six ran.

Gary Sherlock - “I’m very happy; he ran good. The pace scenario dictated that we had to do what we did today. We ran by I Will Score and beat him. I thought we were going to be able to pass him no problem but Gary just got a perfect trip (on Mor Spirit) and ran by us. We’ll move forward off of this. He won’t be leaving here. I don’t have to go anywhere; there’s a million dollar race four hundred yards from his stall.”

Feb. 21 NOTE: Uncle Lino breezed four furlongs in 47.80 with Fernando Perez up. Trainer Sherlock said, “It was probably the best work he’s ever had by himself."

Feb. 27 NOTE: Uncle Lino worked five furlongs in 1:03 with Fernando Perez aboard. Trainer Sherlock said of the slow move, “He does that all the time. He was by himself, nobody around (at 6:45 a.m.) and he’ll do that 100 times. I’ll put another horse with him next week when he works again.”

March 5 NOTE: Uncle Lino worked five furlongs in 59.60 with regular rider Fernando Perez aboard: Trainer Sherlock said, “I put some horses in front of him. He’s ready.”

On March 12, Uncle Lino finished fourth in the San Felipe Stakes won by Danzing Candy. Six ran. Uncle Lino was sent off at 23-1 odds and was beaten 10 lengths after contesting Danzing Candy's early pace of 22.96 and 46.11.

The Santa Anita Derby on April 9 resulted in a third-place finish for Uncle Lino. He stalked the very fast early pace set by Danzing Candy on a sloppy track, was engulfed by winner Exaggerator along with everything else in the race, and crossed the finish line beaten 8 1/2 lengths.

Trainer Sherlock almost immediately ruled out going to the Kentucky Derby.

In the California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos on April 30, Uncle Lino and first-time gelding Rare Candy dueled throughout the race, and it was Uncle Lino who prevailed by a half-length in a a spritely time of 1:40.82 at odds of 6-5. Early splits were 23.64, 47.10, 1:11.00 and the mile in 1:34.65. The Preakness Stakes was said to be next for Uncle Lino.

On a sloppy Preakness track at Pimlico, Uncle Lino dueled for a mile with Nyquist before retreating. He finished seventh, beaten 13 1/4 lengths by Exaggerator and a time of 1:58.31.

The chart call: "Uncle Lino was hard sent from the gate and sparred two to three wide to the inside of Nyquist, gained a slim lead exiting the far turn, kept up the fight to upper stretch, gave way leaving the eighth pole, returned sore and was vanned off."

Gary Sherlock: The trainer said an attending veterinarian determined that Uncle Lino sustained a minor tendon injury. “He was bleeding from one leg and may have gotten stepped on. That makes more sense than where he finished. He was running awfully good for a long way.”

Fernando Perez: “We had some fast fractions early and I had my horse in a good position, but the horses behind me were faster than my horse and I didn’t want to cause any problems so I waited to slow down. We were going a little too fast early, and I know that we would have finished better if there would have been a slower pace.”

 

 

The Downey Profile is owned by The Downey Profile, LLC. © 2003-2016

The Downey Profile® was awarded a Service Mark by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2008. Renewed 2013.

©