Normandy Invasion to bypass Preakness Stakes; Departing works at Churchill

Courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club:

 

Trainer Chad Brown reported Sunday afternoon that Rick Porter’s Normandy Invasion will not run in the Preakness Stakes.

 

 “Mr. Porter and I decided to pass on the Preakness with Normandy Invasion and focus on the summer campaign with him,” Brown said.

 

 Normandy Invasion turned in a strong performance in the Kentucky Derby, taking the lead in the stretch before finishing fourth, 3 1/2 lengths behind Orb. Brown had initially ruled out the Preakness on the morning after the Derby but decided on Monday to consider the middle jewel of the Triple Crown for a few days.

 

The declaration of Normandy Invasion leaves the potential Preakness field with ten probables, including Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Holy Bull Stakes winner Itsmyluckyday. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said a decision on whether to run Gotham Stakes winner Vyjack, who finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby, may not be made until Wednesday when entries are taken.

 

With trainer Al Stall Jr. and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. watching from the grandstand, Illinois Derby winner Departing – one of the new shooters expected for the Preakness – worked a half-mile in 50 2/5 seconds over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning in preparation for the 1 3/16-miles classic.

With former jockey Larry Melancon up, Departing worked on his own while producing fractions of :13 1/5, :25 2/5, :38 1/5 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:03 4/5.

“I wanted him to go a little slower the first part than the second part and he hit right on what we were looking for,” Stall said. “He did enough to get the day off tomorrow. He is a gelding and doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He had galloped two miles on Thursday and a spirited mile and half Friday.”

Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Departing is scheduled to walk Monday and then train Tuesday and Wednesday morning before shipping to Pimlico Race Course on Wednesday afternoon. Stall said he has a 2 p.m. flight Wednesday and would be in Baltimore in time for the Preakness draw that afternoon.

Departing will be the second Preakness starter for Stall, whose Terrain finished seventh in 2009 behind eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Like Terrain, Departing did not run in the Kentucky Derby prior to the Preakness.

“After the Louisiana Derby, the Kentucky Derby was off the table with the point system,” Stall said. “It worked out well for us. The Illinois Derby billed itself as a prep for the Preakness and hopefully we can make it successful for the Illinois Derby.”

As many as eight horses that ran in the Derby remain under consideration for the Preakness, headed by Orb.

Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb visited the Belmont Park paddock before galloping 1 ½ miles over a sloppy track Sunday morning.

Trainer Shug McGaughey also continued to stay busy with a flood of media requests that come with saddling the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

“I think it’s a big responsibility to accommodate what’s out there and try to portray what the win means to all of us – myself and my family, the Janneys and Phippses and their families and all the people at the barn,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I’d like to get it out there to people that racing can be a fun and rewarding sport.”

Orb, who captured the Derby by 2 ½ lengths, is scheduled to breeze at Belmont Park Monday morning, as long as the track at Belmont dries out.

“I think it will be fine. The sun’s out, there’s no humidity and the wind’s picking up. I think it’ll be fine,” said McGaughey, who is planning to ship Orb to Pimlico Monday following the scheduled breeze.

 

Trainer Doug O’Neill has decided not to work the Santa Anita Derby winner between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, who has been overseeing the care of O’Neill’s 14 horses at Pimlico, said that a plan for a breeze Monday morning had been scrapped and the colt will gallop up to the Preakness.

“It was never certain that he was going to work. It was kind of tentative,” Sisterson said. “We never worked I’ll Have Another, so we’re going to stay on that schedule.”

O’Neill sent 2012 Derby winner I’ll Have Another to Pimlico two days after his victory at Churchill Downs. The colt flourished in the low-key atmosphere at Pimlico, turned in vigorous gallops and won the Preakness. Goldencents disappointed as the third choice in the Derby wagering, finishing 17th on the sloppy, sealed racetrack. O’Neill followed suit, though, and shipped Goldencents to Pimlico, where he resumed his morning-gallop schedule last Friday under his regular jockey, Kevin Krigger.

 

”He’s getting enough out of his training where he doesn’t need to work,” Sisterson said. “He’s doing very well.”

Krigger put Goldencents through the same routine Sunday, jogging down the stretch and around the first turn before sending him off to gallop a lap of the track.

“The one thing we’re starting to notice is he’s getting better each day,” Sisterson said. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong since we got here. He seems to be really getting over the track well and striding out. We’re very happy with him.”

O’Neill is scheduled to travel from California to Baltimore on Sunday and be at the barn at Pimlico Monday morning.

Itsmyluckyday worked a half mile in 47.20 between races at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon in preparation for a start in the Preakness. Elvis Trujillo was aboard for the move.

Itsmyluckyday was ridden by Trujillo in the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 15th, but Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount for the Preakness. Trujillo had previously ridden the Florida-bred colt to victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull before a second-place finish behind Orb in the Florida Derby.

 

Mike Pegram’s Govenor Charlie had an easy two-mile gallop under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez at Churchill Downs Sunday morning. The Bob Baffert trainee, who schooled in the Churchill paddock during Sunday’s first race, is scheduled to work Monday as is Tom Amoss trainee Mylute and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained trio of Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five.

 

“Oxbow and Will Take Charge will work in the morning and Titletown Five will breeze through the stretch,” Lukas said.

 

“It will be an easy half, nothing fancy,” Amoss said of Mylute’s planned move.

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