Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®
Alwaysmining: Started Easy, Finished Strong
Alwaysmining breezed a half-mile at Fair Hill Training Center on Friday morning in preparation for a planned start in the 144th Preakness Stakes. Under regular exercise rider Felix Astudillo, he was timed in in 48.20 (1/13) on the synthetic inner track.
“I was very happy with his work today. He started off nice and easy and finished up strong,” trainer Kelly Rubley said. “He galloped out very well, so we’re very pleased.
“I wanted to see him start out nice and easy and finish up strong. My rider thought he was very aggressive going to the pole, which is a great sign,” she added. “Now we’ll see how he comes out tomorrow and get through this week.”
Alwaysmining seemed to enjoy his morning exercise as much as Rubley and Astudillo did.
“His confidence level seems to be getting better and better, so he’s getting more aggressive to breeze. He loves what he does. It makes a big difference. He makes it look easy. It’s a lot of fun to watch,” Rubley said.
Alwaysmining, who concluded his juvenile campaign with three straight victories, is undefeated and unchallenged in three starts this year, all at Laurel Park. The Maryland-bred gelding captured the one-turn mile Miracle Wood by 4 1/4 lengths before successfully negotiating two turns while winning the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms by 6 3/4 lengths and the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio by 11 1/2 lengths.
“He’s always been a lovely mover. You can tell right away that he has an enormous stride and covered a lot of ground and he just seems to get better and better as he continues on,” Rubley said. “It’s definitely helped us with stretching him out, and it seems the farther he goes the better he gets, which is great.”
Alwaysmining earned a fees-paid entry into the Preakness Stakes with his victory in the Tesio for owner Runnymede Racing LLC.
“We’ll see how he comes out of this. He’ll jog on Sunday and then we’ll decide from there whether we gallop or jog another day,” Rubley said. “He’ll go down to Pimlico on Thursday and probably jog Friday morning and then run Saturday.”
Win Win Win Confirmed
Trainer Michael Trombetta confirmed Friday that Win Win Win is headed to the 144th Preakness.
Win Win Win finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby and was moved to ninth by the disqualification of Maximum Security. Trombetta said the Hat Trick colt came out of the Derby in fine shape, but he wanted to observe him for several days before committing to the Preakness.
“He seems pretty darn good,” Trombetta said Friday at Fair Hill Training Center at Elkton, Md.
Win Win Win won the Pasco Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths in track-record time at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 19, was third in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 and earned a berth in the Kentucky Derby with a second-place finish to Vekoma in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 6.
Trombetta said that jockey Julian Pimentel, who was up for the Derby and has ridden the colt in five of his seven starts, will be aboard again on Live Oak Plantation’s homebred.
Laughing Fox ‘Cool’ and ‘Relaxed’
Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Laughing Fox galloped 1 1/2 mile under exercise rider Brooke Stillion at Churchill Downs Friday morning.
The son of Union Rags earned a fees-paid entry into the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown with a victory in the inaugural Oaklawn Invitational last Saturday.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said Laughing Fox will have an easy half-mile work on Monday. Ricardo Santana Jr. has been named for the Preakness.
“What a cool mind,” Asmussen said of Laughing Fox, a flashy-looking chestnut with a distinctive big blaze and four white legs. “He’s a really pretty horse. I just like his attitude, very relaxed, just recently back here and settled in wonderfully, got a good appetite and a great attitude.
“He did not run well in the Rebel,” Asmussen said. “He had a very solid Oaklawn meet; he’s run plenty. He had five runs at Oaklawn, recently winning the Oaklawn Invitational, ran a solid number going a mile and an eighth. And he was beaten a length by the Kentucky Derby winner (Country House) in the Arkansas Derby. I expect him to run well. As much as he’s done, it’s good to still see him as laid back as he is.”
Probable Preakness favorite Improbable galloped 1 1/2 mile Friday at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Humberto Gomez. Jimmy Barnes, assistant trainer to seven-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert, called Improbable “very fresh, very happy.”
Owendale, Warrior's Charge
Trainer Brad Cox’s Preakness contenders Owendale and Warrior’s Charge galloped 1 3/8 mile Friday and are scheduled to work shortly after the track at Churchill Downs opens at 5:30 a.m. Saturday. Owendale, winner of Keeneland’s Lexington Stakes, is ridden in the mornings by Mario Garcia, while Oaklawn allowance winner Warrior’s Charge’s exercise rider is Edvin Hernandez.
War of Will
War of Will, who finished eighth and was placed seventh upon the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Derby, had an energetic 1 1/2-mile gallop under exercise rider Kim Carroll Friday.
Asked to comment on how War of Will felt, Carroll said, “Can I jump up and down? Like a zillion dollars. He felt great.”
Signalman, third in the Blue Grass at Keeneland, galloped 1 1/2 mile under exercise rider Danny Ramsey Friday. Trainer Kenny McPeek said that the General Quarters colt will work five-eighths of a mile at 7:30 a.m. Saturday under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
Bodexpress galloped 1 3/4 mile under Omar Ortiz. Trainer Gustavo Delgado was scheduled to travel to Louisville on Friday and be at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning.
Other Preakness candidates include: Bourbon War, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01.67 at Belmont Thursday; and Anothertwistafate, runner-up in the Lexington and the Sunland Derby in his last two races.