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Top three headed to Preakness

Top three headed to Preakness

Top three headed to Preakness
The Courier-Journal

The top three finishers of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby appear headed to the May 19 Preakness Stakes as long as they come out of the race well, their trainers said this morning.

Carl Nafzger, who won his second Derby when Street Sense and jockey Calvin Borel came from 19th to chase down front-running Hard Spun for a 2-1/4-length victory, said he didn’t want to talk about the Preakness until he had a chance to first speak with owner Jim Tafel. But then he said if all went well the colt “most likely” would advance to the Triple’s Crown second leg.

Street Sense jogged a mile at Churchill Downs today, perhaps the first Derby winner to go to the track the day after since 1990, when Nafzger won with Unbridled. Though unconventional, that is Nafzger’s habit with all his horses, believing the light training helps get out stiffness. Street Sense now will not train for a few days.

Larry Jones, who is stabled 50 miles away from Pimlico at Delaware Park, said Hard Spun will point toward the 1 3/16-mile Preakness. “This is Calvin country. We’re now going to Pino country,” he said with a laugh, referring to jockey Mario Pino, who is the winningest rider all time in Maryland.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said Curlin looked fine this morning. “I was very proud of him to get up to third late,” he said. “… Street Sense came from behind him and Hard Spun was in front of him. I think it was an excellently run Derby, and we were third.”

He said the Preakness “will be considered,” but that he wants to see how Curlin does when he resumes training Wednesday and to talk to the owners before committing.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, whose best finish with his record-tying quintet was sixth-place Circular Quay, said none of his Derby horses will attempt the Preakness. He will run Santa Anita Derby runner-up King of the Roxy.

Other horses expected to contest the Preakness include Chelokee, the Florida Derby third-place finisher; Coolmore Lexington winner Slew’s Tizzy; Federico Tesio winner Xchanger; and one or both of the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Derby Trial winner Flying First Class and Lexington runner-up Starbase. C.P. West, trained by Nick Zito, will go in either the Preakness or the Barbaro Stakes on the undercard. The Barbaro Stakes, named for last year’s Derby winner who suffered catastrophic leg fractures in the Preakness, formerly was the Sir Barton Stakes.

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