By Dick Downey
On Monday, Bob Baffert dispelled social media media gossip that Justify might be lame on his left hind foot.
“It’s not an issue,” the trainer said. “It was sensitive there. It’s like a diaper rash, what he’s got. He looked great today.”
Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s chief assistant at Churchill Downs, reported that “all is good” with the Derby winner, who walked Monday and will likely have two more walk days before returning to the track.
Justify seemed to be favoring his left hind Sunday morning when he was brought for fans and media at about 8:00 a.m., leading to the inevitable speculation on Twitter, etc.
“He did not run down. They call them scratches or whatever,” Baffert said. “He’s had it before. You get it from wet, and you have to soften it up. It can be irritating. When he stepped on those rocks, it bit him. That’s why he did that. Because he was fine in the morning and today he was fine. He will be going back to the track in a couple of days and everything will be good. He’s responding to the treatment. So we’re good.”
Justify is scheduled to ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico in the middle of next week.
Asmussen Says Tenfold Probable for Preakness
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Preakness winners Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009), said Monday that Tenfold is probable for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Tenfold, a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby in his third career start after winning his first two races at Oaklawn. According to the Maryland Jockey Club, Assmussen said Tenfold worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:00.20 (7/23) this morning at Churchill Downs. The workout isn't reported at Equibase as of this post.
“He’s a very nice horse that is getting better,” Asmussen said. “I liked his work a lot today. We’re expecting big things from him. I was a touch disappointed (in his Arkansas Derby). He’s better than that.”
The Hall of Fame trainer said he plans to be well-represented in Pimlico’s other stakes on Maryland’s showcase week. On Kentucky Derby Day, Asmussen became only the second trainer to win 8,000 races when 2017 Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee won an allowance race.
“Is that not incredible?” he said. “On Derby Day, with my parents in attendance? I am truly blessed.”
Also at Churchill, trainer Tom Amoss said Louisiana Derby runner-up Lone Sailor came out of his also-ran finish in the Derby well and that no decision has been made on the Preakness.
“We’ll see how he trains and make a decision off of that,” he said. “Whether it should be the Preakness or something else, I don’t know. It is not out of the question.”
Quip Training for It
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset continues to prepare Quip, who bypassed the Kentucky Derby.
Elliott Walden, president of co-owner WinStar Farm, on Sunday said a final decision had yet to be made about Quip but continued, “My first inclination is to go ahead and run him, but we need to talk to our partners and see. But we’d set the horse up to run in the Preakness and he worked very well on Thursday. If Justify is supposed to win the Triple Crown, he’ll beat Quip. I just think you try to manage your horses the best you can, and that it’s the right thing for Quip.”
Brisset said that, pending weather, the son of the WinStar stallion Distorted Humor will get a final Preakness work Sunday. He is scheduled to fly to Baltimore May 15 or 16.
“We got the horse set up to run in the Preakness,” he said. “Like Elliott said, they like to do the right thing by the horse. We all agreed the Preakness was the best shot for Quip. We did talk that it didn’t matter who won the Derby that we would be pointing him to the Preakness.”
Brisset, who has trained on his own for a year after being an assistant to Bill Mott, said it wasn’t hard to pass on the Kentucky Derby.
“It was an easy decision for a couple of reasons,” he said. “The horse was showing us that he didn’t want to run back in three weeks. That was the first reason. The second reason was the fact that WinStar had three other horses in the Derby. I was leaning to where I’d pass, and it was easy for them to give me the green light and say, ‘That’s fine, if you feel like the horse needs more time.’ We talk and work as a team with Elliott and all the ownership. It’s not like I’m 70 years old and been at it 40 years and never had one. Hopefully I’ll have another one.
“But it’s horse-first for us. I have too much respect for Quip. He put us on the map. It’s pretty amazing we were lucky enough to have him. It’s a fun ride, and still a fun ride. A classic is a classic,” he added “There’s nothing wrong about running in the Preakness with a shot. I was very happy he was in the stall when I saw all that rain and mud. We have a horse that will come back fresh. He worked very good last week, and I wouldn’t trade my place.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is expected to enter both Bravazo (sixth in the Kentucky Derby) and Sporting Chance in a quest for his seventh Preakness success.
Maryland Jockey Club said today that trainer John Servis, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones for a victory in the 2004 Preakness, will return with Federico Tesio winner Diamond King. Yesterday, NYRA's press office said Diamond King is probable for Saturday's Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic is also under Preakness consideration.
With content from Maryland Jockey Club