2018 Preakness Notes – Part I

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BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Good Magic will run in the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, trainer Chad Brown announced on Sunday.
The morning after Good Magic finished 2½ lengths behind Justify over the sloppy track at Churchill Downs, Brown said he would take the colt back to his base at Belmont Park, spend a week observing how he came out of the race, consult with the owners and then make a decision.
“The horse has just been training very well since the Derby,” Brown said. “He bounced out of the race in great condition and I think he deserves a chance in the race. He’s doing great.”
Like most trainers, Brown does not typically run a horse back in two weeks, but he said Good Magic had shown him that he is ready for the Preakness.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the horse,” he said. “I really don’t have anything else planned for him before, say, either the Haskell (G1) or the Jim Dandy (G2) anyway. That said, I wouldn’t do it just because he’s going to get a bit of a freshening. He has to be doing well, and he’s doing exceptionally well. He’s doing far better than I expected exiting the Derby. It’s remarkable to see how well the horse is moving and his energy level. He already has his weight back. He just looks great. I’m excited about it.”
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This will be the fourth consecutive year that the top two finishers in the Kentucky Derby have a rematch in the Preakness. In each of the last two years, the Derby runner-up finished ahead of the Derby winner in the Preakness. Brown acknowledged that Justify presents an imposing challenge for his colt.
“It’s a tall order,” he said. “The horse is unbeaten and to a degree untested. He ran a great race in the Derby and he is clearly the horse to beat. We’re going to need to close the gap on him somehow. We’re going to need to improve. Even though our horse ran an excellent race in the Derby and earned a lot of respect from everybody, he needs to again move forward and we need to have Justify come back to us a little bit. I think that the margin that I saw between the two horses is not out of the question that we’ll be able to make up that difference.”
Good Magic, co-owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Farm, broke his maiden winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and was voted the Eclipse Award as the 2-year-old male champion. This year, he was third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and won the Blue Grass (G2) prior to the Kentucky Derby. e Five purchased Good Magic for $1,000,000 as a yearling at Keeneland and subsequently sold a 50 percent share to Stonestreet, which bred the colt.
Brown, 39, has won the Eclipse Award as the champion trainer the past two years. He won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing in his debut in the race.
Good Magic is scheduled to ship to Baltimore on Monday and will gallop on the track Tuesday morning.
Barnes in ‘Awesome Position’ with Baffert, Justify
Justify made a visit to the starting gate and had a routine gallop Sunday morning at Churchill Downs as the Kentucky Derby winner prepares for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and an attempt to stay on course for a Triple Crown sweep.
“He stood in the gate, we jogged down the stretch a little ways and then galloped a mile and a half,” said assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, who is overseeing Justify’s training while Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is in California. Baffert is expected to arrive in Louisville Sunday night, with Justify flying to Baltimore on Wednesday.
As Baffert’s chief assistant, Barnes is a familiar sight at Churchill Downs –
and everywhere from Monmouth Park to Mountaineer, from Oaklawn Park to Belmont Park, Saratoga in August and Dubai in March, wherever Baffert has a quality stakes horse hitting the road.
Justify, the heavy favorite to annex the Preakness Stakes after running his record to 4-for-4 with his coronation in the Kentucky Derby, is yet another Baffert star placed in Barnes’ care while on the road.
He’s the latest in an almost unfathomable sequence where Baffert has had American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown champion, Arrogate, the world’s all-time money-earner who raced in 2016-17 and now, Justify, who became the first horse since Apollo (1882) to win the Kentucky Derby without racing at 2. The stable has uncorked so many record-setting horses that a horse such as 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern barely makes the discussion.
“It’s an awesome position to have, and I’m just blessed to be here,” said Barnes, whose first full year with Baffert was 1999, when the barn had the champion filly Silverbulletday. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. These horses are like once in a lifetime horses coming through the barn. We just keep enjoying it while they come, because you never know when you might have a slow year.
“I’ve trained on my own; it’s a tough go. I like dealing with this caliber of horses, prefer to be at this level. So I’d rather just stay right here. You put in a lot of hours. It’s a dedication thing. Luckily my wife works with us, so I get to spend a lot of time with her. Maybe not at home, but we’re at the barn every day together. It’s worked out for us, we’ve been married 32 years. Just keep going along here as long as it lasts,” he added.
Barnes’ wife, top-notch exercise rider Dana Barnes, has worked for Baffert since 1998. Jimmy heard there could be an opening for an assistant in the stable, asked Baffert to keep him in mind, was hired and wound up being the chief assistant when Eoin Harty went on his own in 2000.
Barnes previously had worked for Hall of Famers Charlie Whittingham and Jerry Hollendorfer, as well as David Hofmans, who saddled Touch Gold for a 1997 Belmont Stakes (G1) victory over the Baffert-trained Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm.
“I tend to point myself toward good stables, yes, absolutely,” Barnes said. “I’ve been very fortunate to end up dealing with great horses for a long time now.”
Diamond King ‘Right on the Money’ in 5F Breeze 
Cash is King, LC Racing and D.J. Stable’s Diamond King turned in his final work for the 143rd Preakness with a five-furlong breeze Sunday morning at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa.
Frankie Pennington was aboard as the stakes-winning son of Grade 1 winner Quality Road went in 1:01.50 over a sloppy main track in company with 4-year-old gelding Colonel Juan. Diamond King galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.53.
“Everything went super, very good. It was exactly what I was looking for,” trainer John Servis said. “I told him I was looking for around 1:01 and then let him gallop out on his own … so it was right on the money.”
Diamond King has worked twice since his victory in the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio Stakes April 21 at Laurel Park that earned him an automatic berth into the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. He breezed a half-mile on his own in 50.21 seconds May 6 at Parx.
“He went in company today because he works better in company than he does by himself. He can be a bit lazy,” Servis said. “I’m very happy with him. I’m tickled to death. I think he’s doing great.”
Considering the weather and the forecast, Servis was relieved to get Sunday’s work in as planned,  rather than have to push it back to Monday.
“Very much so,” he said. “It was a sealed racetrack. It wasn’t the best racetrack in the world but the bottom was good. I would have preferred a fast racetrack, but for a wet track it was very good, actually.”
Diamond King will have an easy day Monday and will remain at Parx until later in the week. All Preakness horses must be on the grounds by noon on Thursday, May 17.
“He’ll walk tomorrow and then I’ll just play it by ear after that,” Servis said. “I’ll see how he comes out of this work and how everything is and adjust his schedule accordingly.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who notched his second Preakness victory last year aboard Cloud Computing, has been named to ride.
Justify figures to be a strong favorite in the Preakness, and Servis was complimentary of the Kentucky Derby winner.
“He’s very impressive. Especially as good as he did it, and as good as he looks, it’s just hard to imagine that was only his fourth start,” he said. “He’s a good horse. He might be a great horse. I think we’re finding that out.”
Lone Sailor Confirmed for Preakness; Ortiz Jr. to Ride
Owner G M B Racing on Saturday evening tweeted that the Tom Amoss-trained Lone Sailor, its Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up and Kentucky Derby eighth-place finisher, will run in the Preakness and that Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount.
“When we got into this thing in 2014, on the back of our silks are three crowns, the Triple Crown,” said Greg Bensel, the senior vice president for communications for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA Pelicans, who also oversees G M B Racing for Gayle Benson, now the owner of the Saints and Pelicans following husband Tom Benson’s death March 15.
“A lot of people don’t particularly know that’s what it stands for,” Bensel said of the G M B’s silks design. “But our goal is always to run in the Triple Crown races, to run at the highest level. We’ve always dreamt of the Kentucky Derby, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have three in the last three years. We’ve won the Woody Stephens at Belmont, but the Preakness and Baltimore have always been a place we’ve wanted to run and be a part of that.”
G M B Racing was represented in the 2016 Kentucky Derby by Mo Tom (8th) and Tom’s Ready (12th), who went on to win the Woody Stephens (G2) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
“Our horses, although they ran eighth and 12th in 2016 (in the Derby), our head guy, Mo Tom, was a guy who’d lose a lot of weight and couldn’t really bounce back. This guy, Tom Amoss gave us a good report Derby night, a great report the next day. I’m talking about him eating his whole tub, lively, got the look in his eye, went out for a full gallop a couple days later, full of energy, full of spunk. So no reason to not think about the Preakness,” Bensel said.
“Then you want to take a peek at the field. You want to see what Justify is doing; you want to see who else is entered; you want to see how big the field is because he’s a deep closer,” he added. “You saw how he got held up by (a stopping) Free Drop Billy in the Derby, and then he lost a shoe. So he was running against all odds in that Derby, and still he came fighting hard in the slop to be eighth. We’re hearing that we’re probably going to have a lot of wetness and moisture in Baltimore this week. We hear the field will be somewhat lighter. Justify or no Justify, we are on go. All systems point to go for us.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. has picked up the mount aboard Lone Sailor, who was ridden by James Graham in the Derby.
“We called on Irad Ortiz here. No disrespect to James Graham. We love James Graham; he’s been great to us. But we’re going to try something a little different here and take our chance,” Bensel said. “We’ve got a horse with a big engine, who is healthy, who’s sound, who’s full of energy. And why not?”
Lone Sailor galloped Sunday morning at Churchill Downs and will fly to Baltimore Wednesday. Amoss said the colt definitely deserves another chance with the cards reshuffled.
“The caveat here is that it was a very sloppy track Derby Day,” Amoss said. “But having said that, it’s hard to not want to take a chance against a group that didn’t come home very fast in the Kentucky Derby. Our horse, like many others, got in trouble in the race and we’d like another shot at this group. I have great respect for the group, and I thought going into the Kentucky Derby that the race went through California – which it turned out to do. But I’m looking forward to getting another chance at what hopefully is a fast track, although looking at the weather ahead, it looks like more rain.”
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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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