Courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed Tuesday that Titletown Five will be entered for the Preakness, giving him three starters for the second time in his career. Kentucky Derby runners Oxbow (6th) and Will Take Charge (8th) are also scheduled to compete in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Lukas decided to add Titletown Five to the roster of Preakness candidates after the Tiznow colt worked a half-mile in :47 3/5 Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. It was the fifth fastest of 35 recorded at the distance. Titletown Five has a record of 1-2-1 from seven starts. In his most recent outing, he was fourth in the Derby Trial.
“We had flirted with the idea of going into the Kentucky Derby and late additions bumped us from that,” Lukas said. “He has been doing so well lately and today just highlighted that. It was a brilliant work and a great gallop out. I just thought that it was a good spot maybe to try him. He’s an exceptional horse He’s very talented with good tactical speed. He’ll make some noise there.”
Lukas saddled Editor’s Note (3rd), Victory Speech (5th) and Prince of Thieves (7th) for the 1996 Preakness. If all three go to the post on May 18, it will extend his Preakness record to 40 competitors, including winners Codex (1980), Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999).
“I feel comfortable starting this horse,” he said. “I own a piece of him with Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, the all-pro players. They’re excited about him and so am I.”
Lukas said he was securing a rider for Titletown Five.
Itsmyluckyday, who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, was confirmed Tuesday morning as a likely starter in the Preakness. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. expressed confidence that the sloppy track at Churchill Downs was the reason for his Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull winner’s subpar showing.
“For a horse to train that well and run that poorly and come out of the race so well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out,” he said.
Itsmyluckyday has shown his connections nothing but positive signals since the Derby.
“Everything’s going 100 percent,” Plesa said.” He went to the track today, and my assistant trainer (Frankie Perez) and exercise rider (Peter Shelton) gave him a 10-plus on a scale from 1-10.”
The son of Lawyer Ron jogged two miles at Churchill Downs.
“It’s a good thing we went around twice and not once because I might not have gotten him back to the barn, because he was feeling so good,” Shelton said.
Itsmyluckyday was scheduled to leave Churchill Downs at 4 p.m. and is expected to arrive at Monmouth Park at approximately 2 a.m. Wednesday. Plesa said his colt would likely arrive at Pimlico on Monday or Tuesday.
Meanwhile at Belmont Park, trainer Shug McGaughey was pleased with what he saw in Kentucky Derby winner Orb Tuesday morning.
“We walked him under tack. Right now we’re in good shape,” McGaughey said. “He looks the picture, looks bright, happy with himself.”
McGaughey said Orb would return to the racetrack Wednesday morning.
The Bob Baffert-trained Govenor Charlie worked six furlongs at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. Working in company with Fed Biz, Govenor Charlie was clocked in 1:11 2/5 after posting fractions of :12, :23 4/5, :35 2/5 and :58 3/5 under Ricardo Santana Jr. Stakes winner Fed Biz, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, was also clocked in 1:11 2/5.
Also at Churchill, Grade III Illinois Derby winner Departing galloped 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning and is scheduled to tune up for the Preakness with a breeze on Saturday or Sunday. Mylute, fifth-place finisher in the Derby, walked the shedrow and could return to the racetrack on Wednesday morning.
Chad Brown-trained Normandy Invasion, the fourth-place Derby finisher, and Rudy Rodriguez-trained Vyjack, who finished 18th in the Derby, remain Preakness possibles.
Street Spice, the fifth-place finisher in the Illinois Derby, is under consideration for a run in the Preakness. Trainer Greg Geier said Tuesday that he will make the decision on whether to try the Preakness after he works the Street Sense colt this weekend.
The Kentucky-bred has a 2-0-1 record in six starts, all at Chicago-area tracks. At odds of 44-1, he finished 5 ½ lengths behind Preakness-bound Departing in the Illinois Derby on April 20 at Hawthorne.
“He had a lot of trouble in the Illinois Derby and got bumped around three or four times,” Geier said. “He was about eight-wide all the way around there.”
Bellarmine, an allowance winner on the Kentucky Derby undercard, has been withdrawn from Preakness consideration by trainer Ken McPeek.
Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents became the first Preakness horse on the scene, settling in at Pimlico Race Course Tuesday after arriving in the middle of the night from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
In 2012, trainer Doug O’Neill sent Derby winner I’ll Have Another to Baltimore two days after the race, and the colt won the Preakness. Goldencents didn’t run well in the Derby Saturday, finishing 17th on the sloppy, sealed track, but O’Neill decided to follow the plan that worked so well last year and shipped the colt to Pimlico early to prepare for the Preakness.
Maryland Jockey Club officials approved O’Neill’s request to have his Derby horse and 10 other runners occupy Barn D, the same place I’ll Have Another stayed in 2012.
“The horse is doing fantastic,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. “He ate up everything last night. We just walked him this morning and his energy level is high. He’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and we’re happy to see that in him.”
Goldencents flew from Louisville to New York on Monday afternoon and was sent by van to Baltimore. He arrived at 1:30 a.m.
“That was a little later than expected,” Sisterson said. “We got him bedded down straightaway and he got a good night’s rest.”
Goldencents is expected to return to the track for a jog on Thursday, resume galloping on Friday and have a timed workout Monday morning.
Jockey Kevin Krigger is a member of Team O’Neill at Pimlico. The 29-year-old native of St. Croix, has ridden Goldencents in all seven of his starts and will be aboard in the Preakness. He will be the first African-American rider to compete in the Preakness since Wayne Barnett in 1985.
Krigger accepted an invitation to remain with the colt between the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He will exercise Goldencents and other O’Neill-trained runners in Maryland and ride them in the races at Pimlico.
“This horse is our bread and our butter, our best horse,” Krigger said. “The day I was leaving to go back to California on Monday, my agent phoned me and said ‘Doug would like you to stay and get on the horse.’ This is something I’ve always wanted to do, gallop him every day. It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make.”
Krigger said he understands that he could lose some business with trainers who regularly give him mounts in California and is willing to make that gamble.
“If we get it done, I don’t see where that should be a negative impact,” Krigger said. “I’m going to give him my best to get it done. If we get it done, just me staying here and winning it should erase the fact that I stayed.”