DEPARTING – Departing returned to the track early Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for the first time since working a half-mile in :50.40 seconds on Sunday morning.
With trainer Al Stall Jr. leading the Illinois Derby winner to the track with regular morning partner Trina Pasckvale aboard, Departing stood near the six-furlong gap for 10 minutes before galloping a mile.
“We may come out a little later in the morning,” Stall said. “He may stand in the little gate and then gallop a mile and a half.”
GOLDENCENTS – Kevin Krigger was again asked what happened to Goldencents in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished seventeenth as the third betting choice on a a sloppy, sealed track.
“It was one of those races where it kind of threw up a mystery sign in all of our heads and we just had to go back to the drawing board,” said Krigger, who has been aboard for all seven of Goldencents’ races. “We didn’t get the outcome we were looking for, but the greatest thing about it is that the horse came back healthy and we’re here getting ready for the Preakness.”
Krigger said he eased up on the son of Into Mischief once he realized he was out of contention in the Derby, so he hasn’t lost any confidence in him. O’Neill admitted he was impressed by the fact that Krigger did the right thing by his colt.
“Kevin’s such a positive guy and such a positive rider,” O’Neill said Tuesday morning after Krigger took Goldencents out for his regular morning gallop around Pimlico. “He’s been great with the horse, and we’re pretty lucky to have a guy to make that kind of commitment. It just shows how dedicated he is and how passionate he is. He’s a real team player.”
Krigger said it wasn’t a difficult decision to make the commitment to Goldencents.
“I have a lot of faith in him,” he said. “I’ve been on this horse every time, and these guys stuck with me. They kept me on this horse this far, and I would have felt bad if I was in California after they asked me to stay here and I refused. As easily as I could have ridden other horses back there, they could have had someone else on him. I’m on him because they have faith in my riding ability and we get along good – not just me and the horse, but me and the entire team. They’re a great team to work with.”
Meanwhile, Krigger has become something of a local hero in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where his family still lives. In fact, he brought his grandmother here to have knee surgery.
“I found out about two days before the Derby that I had a Facebook page,” said the 29-year-old Preakness rookie. “I guess it was put together by my sister and my cousin, and my mother informed me that the Virgin Islands media are trying to get hold of me to do interviews. She also informed me that a lot of kids are leaving comments as far as I inspired them to follow their dreams. I don’t really keep up with social media, but that made me appreciate my ‘Like’ page for the first time.
Only two of the last eight Derby winners have also captured the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown: Big Brown in 2008 and the O’Neill-trained I’ll Have Another last year.
“I feel we have a good chance to win again; if we get a good trip, I think we can win,” said O’Neill, who also paid his respects to Derby winner Orb. “Shug’s (McGaughey) a Hall of Fame trainer. (Orb) is a Triple Crown threat for sure.”
GOVENOR CHARLIE -- See story at the Home Page of The Downey Profile.
ITSMYLUCKYDAY – Itsmyluckyday was scheduled to arrive at Pimlico Tuesday afternoon.
The Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull winner jogged at Monmouth Park Tuesday morning before being loaded onto a van.
“Everything is good,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who will arrive in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon.
MYLUTE – GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s fifth-place Kentucky Derby runner Mylute walked the shedrow at Barn 29 at Churchill Downs a day after working a half-mile in 49 3/5 seconds.
“He came out of the work good and will jog in the morning,” trainer Tom Amoss said.
ORB -- See story at the Home Page of The Downey Profile.
OXBOW/TITLETOWN FIVE/WILL TAKE CHARGE – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Pimlico contingent that included three candidates for Saturday’s Preakness left the Churchill Downs barn area early Tuesday morning by van for Baltimore. The van is expected to arrive at Pimlico before 5 p.m.