Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®
Daily Preakness Update: Monday, May 13, 2019
Edited by Dick Downey
ALWAYSMINING -- Alwaysmining galloped Monday morning at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Regular exercise rider Felix Astudillo was aboard for the exercise, which came over Fair Hill’s seven-furlong Tapeta synthetic surface.
“He’s doing very well,” trainer Kelly Rubley said. “He galloped this morning and looked wonderful.”
At Fair Hill, Rubley has the option of using both the seven-furlong synthetic track and its surrounding one-mile dirt track. Alwaysmining had his final breeze for the Preakness May 10, going a half-mile in 48.20 seconds, fastest of 13 horses, on the synthetic surface.
“He jogs on the dirt and he generally gallops on the dirt, when it’s not sealed,” Rubley said. “He seems to be in a very good place.”
Alwaysmining takes a six-race win streak into the Preakness. Five of those victories have come in stakes, none more impressive than his 11 1/4-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio Stakes on April 20 at Laurel Park, which earned him an automatic berth in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
A son of Stay Thirsty, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes in 2011, Alwaysmining is attempting to become the ninth Maryland-bred to win the Preakness and first since Deputed Testamony in 1983. Magic Weisner finished second in 2002.
“Sure, to have him be kind of the hometown hero would be kind of neat. But, we’ve got to get it done first,” Rubley said. “He seems to be in a very good place.”
Alwaysmining, who will be ridden by regular jockey Daniel Centeno, will maintain his typical exercise schedule at Fair Hill before arriving late Thursday morning at Pimlico. He will get his first tour of Old Hilltop on Friday.
“We’re just going to keep his normal routine. He’ll gallop tomorrow and Thursday and ship to Pimlico after training here on Thursday,” Rubley said. “I’m undecided what we’ll do, gallop or jog, but we’ll decide that Friday morning.”
ANOTHERTWISTAFATE -- Anothertwistafate, who earned an automatic entry into the Preakness with his victory in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields back in February, is scheduled to fly from Oakland to Baltimore/Washington International airport on Tuesday.
BODEXPRESS -- “I feel good. We’ve got Johnny V,” said trainer Gustavo Delgado, whose son, Gustavo Delgado Jr. oversaw Bodexpress’ training at Churchill Downs while the trainer returned to his Gulfstream Park West base after the Kentucky Derby. “I’m happy with him. My son says he’s been training well.
“We think in the Derby, with getting bumped and checked and everything, he could have run better than he did,” Delgado said. “I think a better result was possible, because he came back to the barn and he wasn’t even tired.”
Delgado Jr. noted that jockey Chris Landeros also had to use Bodexpress more than desirable in the early stages to secure a position heading into the first turn after breaking from the far outside post.
“Probably going straight to the Preakness from the Florida Derby would have been the right thing to do, especially since we were going to have to start from the outside post,” the younger Delgado said, adding with a laugh, “But how can you tell an owner to skip the race, to skip the Derby?”
Instead, he said cheerfully, they’re viewing the Derby as a workout to set Bodexpress up for the Preakness.
Bodexpress will train Tuesday morning before vanning to the Lexington airport for a 1:30 p.m. departure of the Texas Sutton equine charter to Baltimore, Delgado Jr. said.
BOURBON WAR -- Bourbon War will be sporting new attire when he goes to post in the Preakness Stakes with regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.
“We’re adding some short-cup blinkers to the mix this time. It’s nice to keep the rider atop just so he has a feel for what he thinks about the equipment change,” trainer Mark Hennig said.
Bourbon War most recently finished fourth behind disqualified first-place Derby finisher Maximum Security in the March 30 Florida Derby.. The son of Tapit, who closed from ninth in the Florida Derby, had previously rallied from far off the pace to finish a half-length behind victorious Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
Bourbon War, who recorded a five-furlong bullet workout Thursday, jogged over the sloppy going at Belmont Park Monday.
“He’s doing great. He’s been in the mud the last couple days,” Hennig said. “Everything’s fine. All is well.”
Bourbon War is among eight Preakness candidates who did not compete in the Kentucky Derby. Four scheduled starters, Improbable, War of Will, Win Win Win and Bodexpress, ran in the Derby.
“Improbable is the horse to beat. He didn’t get beat far in the Derby. He should be the favorite. Rightfully, so,” Hennig said. “There are new shooters that are bringing great credentials to the table, too. I guess we’ll find out if the new shooters can be competitive with those horses that ran in the Derby. We have confidence in our horse based on his form in Florida, but he still has to reproduce that on the track.”
Bourbon War is scheduled to ship to Pimlico after training at Belmont on Wednesday.
IMPROBABLE -- With trainer Bob Baffert on the scene, Improbable worked an easy half-mile in 51.80 seconds on a chilly Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
“He worked really easy, an easy half around there,” Baffert said. “I didn’t want to do too much with him. I just wanted to make sure that he still has a lot of energy.”
Improbable won all three starts last year but is winless in three starts this year, finishing second in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel and Arkansas Derby prior to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, upgraded to a fourth upon the disqualification of first-place finisher Maximum Security.
“He’s going over the ground really well, looks really healthy,” Baffert said. “He’s really held his weight really well, especially for a horse who shipped twice to Arkansas and then came back here to run in the Derby. That’s what you want to see this time of the year. It looks like he’s enjoying himself out there, so I don’t see anything that would make me want to change my mind. We want to go up there and make sure he’s hitting on all cylinders. We don’t want to go up there and embarrass ourselves. So we were looking good today.”
Baffert will be trying to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown for the third time with a horse that lost the Derby, following champions Point Given in 2001 and Lookin At Lucky in 2010.
“Point Given was a beast,” Baffert said. “This horse has run some big races, hasn’t run a bad one, always shows up. That’s what I like about that horse. The way the field is shaping up, it looks like it’s going to be a big field. It’s still a pretty even bunch. As we saw in the Derby, they’re all right there. That’s why there was so much traffic. They all have the same style, so you still have to get lucky.”
There is a strong possibility that Improbable will go to post Saturday as the favorite.
“I just inherited it, I think. But I wouldn’t say he’s a heavy, heavy favorite. It’s still wide open. Improbable still needs to get away. For some reason, the first 100 yards, he scrambles a little bit. For a horse with as much natural speed as he has, it takes him a while to get going. In the Derby, he was right behind those horses, and when Maximum Security slowed it down down the backside, everybody was bottled up behind. It was one of those things where he was fifth and stayed fifth the whole way, there was no moving. I think post position and the break are still very important for him.
“A mile and a quarter might be stretching it,” he said. “The thing about his mechanics, he’s really light on his feet, so he doesn’t really struggle. We’ll see how he handles Pimlico. He looked great today.”
Improbable will be one of four Preakness contenders who raced in the Derby, along with War of Will, Win Win Win and Bodexpress.
“We won’t have any of the Derby winners in there,” quipped Baffert. “It’s still going to be an exciting race. To me, it’s still an important race. I really enjoy going to these races. I like the Preakness. I really enjoy it; it’s a lot of fun. The pressure is off. We go in there and have a good time.
“All the Classics are really enjoyable. It’s just a different type of race. It’s all about the 3-year-olds,” he added. “The Breeders’ Cup is like the Olympics, different divisions. These Classics are all about the same 3-year-olds. There are a lot of new shooters in here that look tough. There’s a hometown horse (Alwaysmining) that’s really good. That horse from Golden Gate, Anothertwistafate, he’s a really good horse, too. So it’s not a gimme. I’m not going in there feeling like I know I have the heavy muscle. I think I have a really good horse, but it’s a pretty tough race.”
Mike Smith, who rode Justify last year, has the mount for the Preakness.
LAUGHING FOX -- Laughing Fox, who earned an automatic entry by winning Oaklawn Park’s Oaklawn Invitational on May 4, cruised through a leisurely half-mile work in 51.60 seconds under exercise rider Wilson Fabian at Churchill Downs. The breeze was a typical move for a Steve Asmussen-trained horse the week of a race.
“Obviously he ran nine days ago – a quick turnaround for him, which we’ve had some success in two weeks,” said Asmussen, who won the 2007 Preakness with two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and the 2009 Preakness with Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra. “He’s got a great attitude. Nice cool morning, he felt very good. I thought he went over the racetrack very well. I think in the past we’ve been very happy with how horses who have run at Oaklawn have run at Pimlico, so I feel good about that going up there.”
Ricardo Santana Jr., Asmussen’s go-to rider, has the mount on Laughing Fox, who flies to Baltimore on Wednesday.
Asmussen finished third in last year’s foggy Preakness with Tenfold, who's entered in Friday’s Pimlico Special.
MARKET KING -- Market King went out for a routine jog at Churchill Downs as he resumed training following Saturday morning’s five-furlong workout in 1:00.40. That move, on top of one in 1:00.20 four days earlier, encouraged trainer D. Wayne Lukas to put Market King in the Preakness, a race the Hall of Famer has captured six times, most recently in 2013 with Oxbow.
Jon Court has been named to ride.
“He’s fresh and he’s doing well,” Lukas said of Market King. “Looking at the field, I think it’s a real competitive field, but I think it’s a doable deal. They’re only three once; they only get that opportunity one time. If you pass it up, the hill gets steeper in the fall without a doubt. If you like your horse, you give them a shot when they’re three. But I think there’s about seven or eight of them in there taking a shot.”
Lukas has made serveral choices in his career that led to winning major races with horses that defy their odds.
“Last year we waltzed into town with a horse, I don’t know what they put him in the morning line, I think it was about 30-1,” he said of Bravazo, who went off at 15-1 odds and finished a half-length behind Justify in the Preakness. “And Bravazo was one jump from beating Justify. It’s a horse race. You treat it like a horse race. It’s Baffert’s race to lose without a doubt, but he’s coming off a tough Derby and back in two weeks. But I saw him yesterday, and he looked terrific, so I don’t think we’re going to get any breaks. He’s a very solid horse, but you can’t mail it in. You’ve got to go around there.”
Market King finished a non-threatening third in a division of Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes won by Omaha Beach. Market King subsequently finished a distant 11th in Keeneland’s Blue Grass.
“He struggled with the racetrack that day, I thought, and that was back quick for him,” Lukas said. “It was a quick turnaround for him with a van trip and a new track. It probably wasn’t a very good trainer’s decision on my part. But he trains so well here, and I think this track plays more like Pimlico than Keeneland does by a long way. You always question one who hasn’t gone a mile and a quarter, whether he’ll go a mile and three-sixteenths. But like I told Mr. Mack and Mr. Baker, if we’re going to find out, Pimlico is the place to find out, because horses do have a tendency to stay a little longer there.”
Lukas said Market King will van to Baltimore Tuesday, leaving Churchill Downs about 5 a.m.
OWENDALE, WARRIOR'S CHARGE -- At Churchill Downs, the Brad Cox-trained duo of Keeneland’s Lexington winner Owendale and Oaklawn allowance winner Warrior’s Charge galloped 1 1/2 mile. They are expected to do the same Tuesday before flying to Baltimore from Louisville on Wednesday afternoon.
SIGNALMAN -- The Kenny McPeek-trained Signalman, third in Keeneland’s Blue Grass in his last start, galloped 1 1/2 mile under exercise rider Danny Ramsey at Churchill Downs Monday. The son of General Quarters is scheduled to van to Lexington for Tuesday’s Tex Sutton flight to Baltimore.
“He’s doing beautiful,” Ramsey said. “He’s training good; he’s eating good. He’s just got to run good now. We’ve got no excuse. He’s doing extremely well. It’s up to the jock now. We did our part.”
Signalman was third in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and went on to take the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill. He'll have regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. in the saddle.
WAR OF WILL -- The Mark Casse-trained War of Will, who finished eighth in the Derby and was placed seventh, got the morning off before his scheduled Monday afternoon departure on a van ride from Churchill to Pimlico.
WIN WIN WIN -- Win Win Win, who finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby and was placed ninth, is scheduled to ship from Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. to Pimlico on Thursday.