Preakness News and Notes

Preakness News and Notes

Odds out for Preakness Stakes; favorite Big Brown a late arrival to Pimlico
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

BALTIMORE (AP) -Sure, Big Brown was a late arrival at the Preakness. No one will hold it against the Kentucky Derby winner if he's first to finish on Saturday.

The colt who racing fans can't wait to see run in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown kept them waiting Wednesday. By the time Big Brown was led off the van and into famed Stall 40 nearly three hours after his scheduled arrival, he was already installed as the 1-2 favorite for Saturday's Preakness.

''I don't know of anybody who can run with him,'' co-owner Michael Iavarone said.

No other horse earned quite the entrance, either. Big Brown is no longer an ordinary horse - he's a Derby champ and a victory at Pimlico could set up a Triple Crown try three weeks later in the Belmont Stakes.

Big Brown had a police escort for the 30-minute ride from the airport to Pimlico. Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. skipped the draw in Baltimore and took the rain delayed flight with Big Brown.

The trainer and his colt were greeted by a horde of media and a few fans that straggled along the stakes barn waiting for a glimpse of Big Brown. Big Brown looked relaxed in his stall as he munched on some hay.

''He's a big shot now,'' Dutrow said.

Those racing fans might as well catch him on the track while they still can. They might not have much longer to watch him race, especially if he wins the Triple Crown at the Belmont. Iavarone told reporters after the Preakness draw that the chances of Big Brown running as a 4-year-old were ''none.''

Iavarone also said he could announce Big Brown's future stud career as early as Thursday. Big Brown could earn big bucks for his team: Smarty Jones, who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2004, was retired to Three Chimney's Farm in Kentucky where he commands six figures for a stud fee.

Big Brown is 4-0 in his career, having won by a combined total of more than 33 lengths.

Dutrow planned to gallop Big Brown on Thursday and Friday, and will run him on a ''little blowout'' on Saturday. A field of 13 3-year-olds was entered Wednesday, with Big Brown drawing the No. 7 post for the 1 3-16th-mile race at Pimlico.

''We've got a good post,'' Dutrow said. ''We're not going to cry if we get beat because of the post.''

Big Brown won the Derby from the No. 20 far outside post and he won the Florida Derby from the No. 12 post. Now, he'll test himself under Kent Desormeaux from nearly the middle of the pack.

The colt will try to join Majestic Prince (1969), Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (1977) and Smarty Jones (2004) as undefeated Derby winners who also won the Preakness. Six of the past 11 Derby winners have gone on to take the second leg of the Triple Crown.

''I'm dreaming of the Belmont,'' Dutrow said.

Iavarone and Richard Schiavo are partners in IEAH Stable, which buys and breeds thoroughbreds and then organizes and manages partnerships in those horses. They co-own Big Brown with Paul Pompa Jr. The last two weeks have been a heady time for the group.

''The first six days we were trying to figure out what happened,'' Iavarone said. ''The last six days, when reality set in, it's been an incredible experience that we got to share with family and friends. It's been unbelievable.''

Gayego was made the 8-1 second choice and will break from the No. 12 post under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. The Arkansas Derby winner is the only Derby starter to take on Big Brown again. Gayego started in the second from the outside post in the Derby and finished 17th, beaten by 36 3/4 lengths.

Lexington Stakes winner Behindatthebar, trained by Todd Pletcher, was the 10-1 third choice and drew the No. 5 post. He skipped the Derby with the Preakness as his main target.

The other 10 starters were all listed at odds of 15-1 or higher.

''I'd say realistically, everybody in the race, except for Big Brown, are all very equal and could run second or third,'' said jockey Jeremy Rose, who won in 2005 with Afleet Alex and will ride Icabad Crane on Saturday. ''I think Big Brown is the standout. But that's why they run them. Maybe he doesn't run his race. But on paper, I think we're as good as everyone else in the race.''

---

The field, from the rail out: Macho Again (Julien Leparoux, 20-1); Tres Borrachos (Tyler Baze, 30-1); Icabad Crane (Jeremy Rose, 30-1); Yankee Bravo (Alex Solis, 15-1); Behindatthebar (David Flores, 10-1); Racecar Rhapsody (Robby Albarado, 30-1); Big Brown (Kent Desormeaux, 1-2); Kentucky Bear (Jamie Theriot, 15-1); Stevil (John Velazquez, 30-1); Riley Tucker (Edgar Prado, 30-1); Giant Moon (Ramon Dominguez, 30-1); Gayego (Mike Smith, 8-1); and Hey Byrn (Charles Lopez, 20-1).

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Re: Preakness News and Notes

Preakness Preview
By Anthony Stabile

With an impressive win in Kentucky Derby 134 under his belt, Big Brown will look to take the next step towards racing immortality with a win in the 133rd Preakness on Saturday, May 17th.

Those of you thinking that Big Brown’s authoritative and convincing 4 ¾ length romp in last Saturday’s G1 Kentucky Derby would send every three-year-old on the planet into hiding, think again. There's a possibility for an eleven or twelve horse field in next Saturday’s 133rd running of the G1 Preakness, which goes 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico, and appears to be more and more of a reality as each hour passes by.

Big Brown returned to the track on Wednesday and trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. noted that all systems were a-go for the Preakness. The son of Boundary will probably not have a major work before the race though Dutrow left the door open for a minor blowout on Thursday or the morning of the race. He’ll continue to train at Churchill before shipping into Pimlico on Wednesday. Kent Desormeaux will return to ride in the Preakness.

While it was first thought that none of the nineteen horses that took Big Brown’s beating in the Run for the Roses would return in the Preakness, trainer Louie Roussel announced earlier in the week that fifth place finisher Recapturetheglory would in fact take another crack at the undefeated Derby champ in Baltimore. And he’s hoping things go a bit more smoothly for his colt and rider Eddie Baird on the way to the track this time around.

In Louisville, Recapturetheglory was spooked by the roar of the over 157,000 fans that packed into Churchill Downs and dumped Baird in the tunnel while heading from the paddock to the track. At Pimlico, Preakness runners are saddled on the turf course in a wide open area and Roussel noted that that factored into his decision to keep his charge on the Triple Crown trail.

No stranger to the Preakness, Roussel won the 1988 running, as well as the Belmont, with his most famous pupil, Risen Star, after he had a terrible trip when third in the Derby.

Of the new shooters aiming for the Preakness, trainer Todd Pletcher may have the best chance at upsetting the applecart with his two runners, Behindatthebar and Harlem Rocker.

After garnering enough graded stakes earnings to run in the Derby with a powerful stretch run to win the G2 Lexington over the Polytrack at Keeneland last out, Pletcher tinkered with the idea of running Behindatthebar back in the Derby off just two weeks rest but decided instead to point for the Preakness. David Flores has the mount.

Harlem Rocker comes into the Preakness fresh off an off the pace score in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct over heavy favorite J Be K, the same prep Bernardini used to win the 2006 running of this event. Like Big Brown, Harlem Rocker is undefeated and will have the services of Eibar Coa.

Trainer Rich Schosberg will send out Giant Moon in the Preakness off a fourth place finish in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last out, won by Derby fourth place finisher Tale of Ekati. Realizing he’d fall short on the graded earnings list, Schosberg immediately began preparing this New York bred son of Giant’s Causeway for the Preakness where he’ll be reunited with Ramon Dominguez.

After sending out Court Vision and Z Humor to off-the-board finishes in the Derby, trainer Bill Mott will saddle Riley Tucker, who’s named after his son, in the Preakness. In his last start, Riley Tucker finished a solid third in the Lexington and will get a rider change to Edgar Prado next Saturday. Racecar Rhapsody, fourth in the Lexington for trainer Ken McPeek will try to improve on conventional dirt in the Preakness. Robby Albarado, who won this aboard Curlin last year, has the call.

Like his fellow Hall of Famer, trainer Nick Zito will see if Stevil can produce a better result in the Preakness than his duo of Cool Coal Man and Anak Nakal did in the Derby. Fourth in the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland last out, John Velazquez picks up the mount in the Preakness. Blue Grass third place finisher Kentucky Bear will be making just his fourth start in the Preakness for trainer Reade Baker. Jamie Theriot will ride.

Tres Borrachos and jockey Tyler Baze figure to be on or close to the lead in the Preakness after tiring to be third in the G2 Arkansas Derby for trainer Beau Greely last out. Macho Again, winner of the Derby Trial going 7 ½ furlongs last out will see if he can stretch out another ¼ mile in the Preakness for trainer Dallas Stewart and jockey Julien Leparoux. Yankee Bravo, fourth in the G1 Santa Anita Derby behind Colonel John ships in from California for trainer Paddy Gallagher. Alex Solis will ride.

While it will not have any affect on the Preakness, which is just about a week away, the G2 Peter Pan going 1 1/8 miles at Belmont this Saturday could have serious implications on the tracks’ signature event, the 1 ½ miles, G1 Belmont Stakes, on Saturday June 7th.

With the defection of the precocious Lieutenant Ron due to a bruised foot, the role of favorite figures to fall upon Golden Spikes in the Peter Pan. After finishing fifth in the G2 Fountain of Youth two back at Gulfstream Park, trainer Marty Wolfson removed the blinkers from Golden Spikes and was rewarded with a second place finish behind Recapturetheglory in the G2 Illinois Derby last out.

Though there appears to be some other speed in here, look for Golden Spikes to be on or close to the lead under new rider Edgar Prado. Keep an eye on the weather though as this colt was off-the-board in his lone wet track try in the G2 Hutcheson earlier this winter and the forecast calls for approximately two inches of rain in the New York City area on Friday.

Though all nine runners are born and bred right here in the U.S., the Peter Pan offers up some international flavor this year as two Japanese based runners have shipped over from the Land of the Rising Sun with intentions of using this as a prep for the Belmont. They are Casino Drive and Spark Candle.

While it may seem a bit ambitious for the connections of Casino Drive to be thinking “Belmont Stakes” off just a 11 ½ length maiden win, it was going 1 1/8 miles and more importantly, Casino Drive is a half-brother to the last two winners of the “Test of the Champion,” Jazil and Rags to Riches. Kent Desormeaux will ride.

Stablemate Spark Candle is impeccably bred as well (by A.P. Indy, out of champion Serena’s Song) but finished off the board in his lone dirt start last off after winning just once in four tries on turf. He’ll race in blinkers for the first time in the Peter Pan and will have Jorge Chavez in the saddle. Both colts are trained by Kazuo Fujisawa.

Chavez rode the other international import, Tomcito, in his first two starts in the U.S. but trainer Dante Zanelli has reached out for Cornelio Velasquez in the Peter Pan. In his stateside debut, Tomcito closed to be third behind Big Brown in the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream before finishing sixth when he appeared to struggle over the Keeneland Polytrack in the Lexington last out, costing him a spot in the Derby. Already a winner at 1 ¼ and 1 ½ miles as a two year old down in Peru, Tomcito figures to have plenty of pace to run at in the Peter Pan and is bred to handle an off track as well.

If you’re looking for an improving colt that’s bred to run all day and figures to offer some value in the Peter Pan look no further than the Shug McGaughey trained Cosmic. After grabbing some minor awards in his first three career starts over turf and Polytrack, Cosmic just missed in his dirt and seasonal debut at Gulfstream after an awful trip.

A maiden win around two turns in Florida followed by last minute rally that nailed down an entry level allowance contest at Aqueduct last out leads one to think that this colt is just starting to figure out what this is all about and could be one to watch on Saturday and later on this season. Regular rider Javier Castellano has the call.

The second, third and fifth place finishers in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico last out - Mint Lane, Deputyville and Fast Talking - along with Ready’s Echo from the Todd Pletcher barn complete the field.

In one other race of note, one time Preakness probable and G3 San Rafael winner El Gato Malo heads a field of thirteen that includes graded stakes placed Golden Yank, King’s Silver Son, Texas Wildcatter, Isabull, Samba Rooster, Leonides and My Pal Charlie going 1 1/16 miles in the G3 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park in Texas.

VegasInsider.com

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Will it be Big Brown in a runaway?

The 133rd Preakness Stakes leaves the gate at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday afternoon with Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown locked in as a big favorite.

Big Brown will be surrounded by an unfamiliar field in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, as only one other horse that raced in the Derby will be joining him in the Preakness. It actually looked like Big Brown would be the lone Derby participant in the Preakness for the first time in 60 years, before Gayego became a late addition to the Preakness field.

Gayego isn’t exactly the cream of the crop though, as he finished 17th out of the 20-horse Derby field. Derby entrant Recapturetheglory was also expected to run in the Preakness before a sudden fever forced him to withdraw.

This will be just the sixth time in Preakness history that only two Derby horses are in the running. That last happened in 1980 when Codex and Derby winner Genuine Risk took part. Codex went on to upset Genuine Risk and win the Preakness.

After his 4 ¾-length victory in the Derby maintained his undefeated record, it looks like the Preakness is Big Brown’s race to lose. Big Brown’s biggest challenger in the Preakness appears to be Behindatthebar. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland earlier this year, but was held out of the Derby because the race took place just two weeks later. Behindatthebar will be on fresh legs at Pimlico, but he may have to run the race of his life to outpace Big Brown.

Also worth a look as an underdog is Yankee Bravo. Yankee Bravo started the season as a contender in many experts’ eyes after winning the California Derby in grand fashion. However, a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby and a fourth place in the Santa Anita Derby dropped Yankee Bravo’s stock and kept him out of the Derby. He could make a big comeback with an upset win in the Preakness.

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Will it be Big Brown in a runaway?

The 133rd Preakness Stakes leaves the gate at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday afternoon with Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown locked in as a big favorite.

Big Brown will be surrounded by an unfamiliar field in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, as only one other horse that raced in the Derby will be joining him in the Preakness. It actually looked like Big Brown would be the lone Derby participant in the Preakness for the first time in 60 years, before Gayego became a late addition to the Preakness field.

Gayego isn’t exactly the cream of the crop though, as he finished 17th out of the 20-horse Derby field. Derby entrant Recapturetheglory was also expected to run in the Preakness before a sudden fever forced him to withdraw.

This will be just the sixth time in Preakness history that only two Derby horses are in the running. That last happened in 1980 when Codex and Derby winner Genuine Risk took part. Codex went on to upset Genuine Risk and win the Preakness.

After his 4 ¾-length victory in the Derby maintained his undefeated record, it looks like the Preakness is Big Brown’s race to lose. Big Brown’s biggest challenger in the Preakness appears to be Behindatthebar. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland earlier this year, but was held out of the Derby because the race took place just two weeks later. Behindatthebar will be on fresh legs at Pimlico, but he may have to run the race of his life to outpace Big Brown.

Also worth a look as an underdog is Yankee Bravo. Yankee Bravo started the season as a contender in many experts’ eyes after winning the California Derby in grand fashion. However, a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby and a fourth place in the Santa Anita Derby dropped Yankee Bravo’s stock and kept him out of the Derby. He could make a big comeback with an upset win in the Preakness.

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After the Favorite, Preakness Field a Shame
by Robert Ferringo

"They're scared."

That was my initial thought when I first scanned the projected field for the 2008 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, which will be run at 6 p.m., on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Pimlico, Md. My first thought was that Big Brown's dominating win at Churchill Downs just two short weeks ago was enough to have these thoroughbreds shaking in their horseshoes.

Recapturetheglory, the fifth-place finisher at this year's Kentucky Derby, is currently the only horse with the cajones to challenge Big Brown, the uber-horse that has everyone dreaming of the Golden Age of Horse Racing and the classic performances of the sport's great gallopers. This was quite a surprise to yours truly, as I thought several of the sprinters and pace setters would be perfect challengers for Big Brown in the 1-and-3/16th race in Maryland. Bob Black Jack, Cowboy Cal, Denis of Cork and, especially, Z Fortune, were horses that I was looking for to compete with the Favorite in this weekend's event. However, for a variety of reasons these mounts are apparently going to sit this one out rather than risk further embarrassment.

Is it fear? Is it fatigue? Or is it scheming? Are horses like Pyro and Colonel John simply regrouping. Are they lying in wait, hoping that Big Brown decimates the field at Pimlico to set up a high-stakes rematch in New York for the Belmont? Could be interesting. But is that the case? Or have these horses caught a glimpse of something. Has the confidence and performance of Big Brown and its handler's infected the stables and pushed the rest of the field to the brink of retreat and surrender?

Many questions abound as we enter the running of the middle-child of the Triple Crown. But one thing is for certain: this field is a farce. It's a mockery. It's mares to the slaughter, as Big Brown should most certainly overwhelm this field of second-rate rides. The Derby winner is currently posted as an absurd 1-to-4 favorite for the Preakness. The next lowest odds are for Behindatthebar at 10-to-1. There is also a pair of 16-to-1 long shots at No. 3 and No. 4 on the board, but beyond that it's all lottery tickets.

This is in stark contrast to last year's field. In 2007 all three of the top horses at the Kentucky Derby ran it back and had a rematch at Pimlico, with Curlin, Street Sense, and Hard Spun all finishing in the money for the second-straight race. There were several small-odds horses running in the tight 10-horse field and the competition was tight from the outset.

Not this time. Nope. No one wants to be humiliated, apparently. Even though there is shame in the absence of any great challenger in this year's Preakness. They are scared. So we should be scared to bet on anyone but the chalk.

Which leaves us in quite the pickle. With a $100 bankroll do we risk it all on the Dominator? Is there value in that, with a payout of 25 cents on the dollar? Or is it worth it to lay a little action on some of the middle-priced long shots and hope that the Racing Gods are ready to smite the hubris of this horse? I suppose that depends on what you see when you look at the "contenders".

Behindatthebar (10-to-1) - This horse has won three of its last four races but has several strikes against it making a serious move at Pimlico. First, he is a closer. And better closers at the Derby couldn't get a whiff of Big Brown. This horse might have a better chance at the Belmont. But that brings us to the second problem: this horse has run only one race on dirt, and that was a very mediocre fifth-place finish against a short field at El Camino. Also, as we saw in Kentucky, the synthetic specialists were not up to the task when making the jump to a dirt track.

And with these two glaring flaws right in your face, here is supposed to be Big Brown's top competition.

Kentucky Bear (16-to-1) - This is one of the more lightly run horses in the Preakness field and Kentucky Bear last saddled up at the Blue Grass Stakes on April 12. Because he only managed three races this horse hadn't earned enough to find its way into the Derby field. But considering how poorly other horses that ran in the Blue Grass performed it was likely for the better. Kentucky Bear took seventh in the Fountain of Youth; it's only real run against any top-flight competition. He has posted a 93 Beyer rating, but that won't be enough.

Yankee Bravo (16-to-1) - This is a potential sleeper, but truly not much of one. Yankee Bravo posted a disappointing fifth at Santa Anita and also came up short on earnings in regards to the Derby field. This horse has just one start on dirt, a respectable third-place run at the Louisiana Derby. Yankee Bravo has won three of five starts in its career and was one of the favorites at Santa Anita. But this is another turf horse trying to compete with the Big Brown on dirt.

Giant Moon (20-to-1) - Giant Moon is a New York-bred colt that won its first four starts before hitting the proverbial wall. Also, all of its wins came against exclusively New York fields. Moon posted a respectable fourth-place finish at the Wood Memorial but New York horses have a checkered past in the Preakness and can't really be taken seriously.

Macho Again (20-to-1) - Here's yet another retread and degenerate that wasn't good enough for the Derby but is now supposed to spring an upset. Not at these odds. And likely not ever. Macho has won three of eight starts, including a win at Churchill Downs on April 26. This horse was in the Preakness, then out, then back in last week. If its trainer isn't even sure if it's going to run then I can be sure that it's not going to win.

DOCSPORTS.COM

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