Courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club:
Itsmyluckyday, who arrived at Monmouth Park from Churchill Downs Wednesday morning, will have a new rider for the Preakness. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will replace Elvis Trujillo aboard the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull winner, who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby.
“We had an opportunity to ride John Velazquez. No slight to Elvis Trujillo. Elvis did a fantastic job, no question. The Derby was what the Derby was. It was a racetrack that was unfavorable to our horse,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “But with John being open, we just felt that we had to take advantage of having one of the very top riders in the country.”
The son of Lawyer Ron had returned to the racetrack Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs, where he jogged two miles.
Five-time Preakness-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas has firmed up the jockey assignments for his three Preakness candidates. He reported Wednesday morning that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will replace Jon Court aboard Will Take Charge, while Julien Leparoux will have the mount aboard Titletown Five and Gary Stevens will retain the mount on Oxbow.
Smith, 47, has competed in the Preakness 14 times since 1984. He picked up his lone win on Prairie Bayou in 1993 and has two seconds on his resume: Mine That Bird in 2009 and Bodemeister in 2012. Leparoux has been blanked with five Preakness mounts, including 2008 second-place finisher Macho Again. Stevens has ridden two Preakness winners, Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001), from 16 mounts.
Titletown Five, who finished fourth in the Derby Trial, walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs Wednesday following his half-mile work of: 47 3/5 on Tuesday. The son of Tiznow is owned in partnership by Lukas, Pro Football Hall of Famers Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, plus Ed Martin, David Miller and Margaret Shade.
Lukas sent Calumet Farm’s Oxbow and Willis Horton’s Will Take Charge to the track for the first time Wednesday since their respective sixth- and eighth-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby.
“I was going to walk them another day, but I had them out on the lawn yesterday about 3 and they were so disruptive, I was afraid they were going to hurt themselves,” Lukas said. “I had to bring them out today.”
Oxbow and Will Take Charge both jogged twice around the Churchill track.
On a rainy Wednesday morning at Belmont Park, Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb went to the racetrack for the first time since his Kentucky Derby victory last Saturday, jogging a mile under exercise rider Jenn Patterson in preparation for the Preakness Stakes on May 18.
“The weather was terrible, so instead of galloping, he just jogged,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “It was a pretty miserable morning when he went out. But Jenn said he was feeling good and moving good. All signs are good.”
Although plans changed Wednesday due to the muddy track, McGaughey said Orb will gallop Thursday morning, rain or shine, and is likely to breeze on Monday before shipping to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.
After adding a Kentucky Derby victory to his Hall of Fame resume, McGaughey has been somewhat overwhelmed by the avalanche of congratulations and tributes to his consummate horsemanship.
“It’s hugely appreciated. I appreciated the reception we got in Louisville. What’s happened after the Derby is absolutely mind-boggling and very, very flattering for me,” McGaughey said. “The phone calls, the emails, the newspaper articles have just been absolutely wonderful. Nobody knows how much how I appreciate this reception.”
McGaughey has long been respected for his low-key, no-nonsense approach to training thoroughbreds.
“I try to conduct myself in the right way and try to run my stable in the best possible way. I try to surround myself with good people, who played a role in this,” he said. “I think that people have appreciated that. I had no idea that a horse race could bring that out.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill’s Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents walked the shedrow at his barn at Pimlico for 30 minutes Wednesday morning. He will return to the track at 8:30 Thursday morning for the first time since finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday.
Goldencents shipped from Kentucky Monday and was the first Preakness candidate to arrive at Pimlico.
“He’s great. He’s settled in really well,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. “We’re happy with him.”
Eleven other horses from O’Neill’s stable traveled overnight from Kentucky and arrived at Pimlico at 4 a.m. Wednesday. Some of them will compete at Pimlico.
“It depends how they train over the track,” Sisterson said. “We expect to run a few, but we’re going to make sure that they’re all 100 percent before we make a decision. They all shipped in well.”
Jockey Kevin Krigger, who will be aboard Goldencents when he goes out to jog Thursday, has a mount on Sunday’s program at Pimlico.
GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Mylute returned to the track for the first time since the Run for the Roses with an easy jog early Wednesday morning at Churchill.
“Everything was fine this morning,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “He will gallop the rest of the week and the partnership will get together Saturday after training and make a decision on the Preakness.”
Mike Pegram’s Governor Charlie came out of his work on Tuesday in fine shape and remains a prospect for the Preakness, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday morning.
The Midnight Lute colt completed six furlongs on 1:11 2/5 at Churchill Downs. Following his routine, Baffert will fly in from California and watch the colt breeze before making the call on whether to enter the Preakness.
“He’s going to work Sunday or Monday and then I’ll decide,” Baffert said. “He worked really well. He’s going to have to convince me when he works again.”
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing galloped 1 ½ miles on a fast track early Wednesday at Churchill Downs. Trained by Al Stall Jr., the Illinois Derby winner is scheduled to work Saturday or Sunday depending on weather. Friday’s forecast in Louisville is for scattered thunderstorms with a 50 percent chance of rain and Saturday’s outlook is for a few showers and a 30 percent chance of rain.
Normandy Invasion, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Vyjack, 18th in the Derby, and Street Spice remain candidates for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.