2018 Preakness Notes – Part I

Press Release

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.”

Championship Pimlico Meet Opens Today. Highlighted by Preakness Day

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Championship racing returns to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., Thursday for the opening of its 12-day Preakness Meet at Pimlico, highlighted by the 143rd running of the $1.5 million, Grade 1 Preakness Stakes Saturday, May 19.

The Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, the 1 3/16-mile Preakness anchors eight stakes on a 14-race card that includes the $250,000 Dixie (G2), $150,000 Gallorette Stakes (G3) and $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3). Post time on Preakness Day is 10:30 a.m.

Justify, undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 5, will attempt to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying seventh victory in the Preakness. All four of Baffert’s previous Derby winners have gone on to win the Preakness, including 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.

The 94th running of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies is the focal point of a 14-race program on Friday, May 18, that offers seven stakes including the historic $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) and $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3). Post time is 11:30 a.m.

Racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday with the exception of Sunday, May 20 (the day after the Preakness). The meet wraps up with a special Memorial Day program on Monday, May 28.

“We’re thrilled to get the Preakness Meet at Pimlico started Thursday,” said Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Pimlico is legendary, and the Preakness, Black-Eyed Susan and Pimlico Special are historic and significant events on the sporting calendar. The Stronach Group has done an incredible job improving the customer experience here with upgrades in food and beverage, a revamped infield layout that will connect Infield guests with the races, upgrades to the Preakness Village and Turfside Terrace and new Wi-Fi throughout the clubhouse and infield.

“Horsemen throughout North America are committed to providing world-class racing during the Preakness Meet at Pimlico, full fields, and great racing on the main track and turf course. We’re excited about what has become one of the best boutique race meets in the country.”

A field of seven 3-year-olds and up will go 1 1/16 miles over the turf course in a $23,000 claiming event to open Thursday’s nine-race program that begins at 1:10 p.m. Five races have been carded for the grass attracting 54 entries, an average of 10.8 per race.

Thursday’s feature comes in Race 5, a $47,000 third-level optional claiming allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the grass that drew multiple stakes winner O Dionysus and stakes-placed Grandiflora, Barney Rebel, Dattt Melody and Southside Warrior. Warrioroftheroses, third in the 2016 Pimlico Special, is entered for main track only.

Pimlico will also serve up a nine-race program Friday, May 11, that features five turf races that saw 68 horses entered, an average of 13.6 per race.

Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado enters the Pimlico meet on the verge of becoming only the eighth rider in Thoroughbred history to reach 7,000 career victories. A 24-time leading rider in Maryland from 1991-99, he stands at 6,997 and is named in two of nine races both Thursday and Friday.

Pimlico is once again offering bonus money totaling $100,000 to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the 15 stakes races during Preakness weekend. The trainer with the most points will receive $50,000, second $25,000, third $12,000, fourth $7,000, fifth $4,000 and sixth $2,000.

Points are accumulated for finishing first (10 points), second (seven), third (five), fourth (three) and having a starter (one) in the Skipat, Miss Preakness, Allaire DuPont Distaff, Black-Eyed Susan, Pimlico Special, Hilltop, Jim McKay Turf Sprint, Maryland Sprint, LARC Sir Barton, Chick Lang, Preakness, Gallorette, James W. Murphy, Dixie and The Very One.

There will also be bonus money totaling $50,000 for trainers with the most points in non-stakes races during Preakness weekend. The points are accumulated in similar fashion with $25,000 going to the leader, $10,000 to second, $7,500 to third, $2,500 to fourth and $1,000 to fifth.

Pimlico will serve as the launching pad for the renewed Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series, an assortment of 25 races at tracks in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania which originally debuted in 1997 and ran for five years.

The Maryland Sprint and Skipat, the latter for fillies and mares, open the dirt sprint division of the MATCH Series on May 18 and 19, respectively. The turf sprint division is kicked off with the Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 18 and The Very One for females May 19.

Seven guaranteed multi-race wagering pools will be offered over Preakness weekend.

On Friday, May 18 the Late Pick 5 (Races 7-11), offering an industry-low 12 percent takeout, and Pick 4 wagers covering Races 8-11 and 11-14 will each be guaranteed at $300,000.

On Preakness Day there will be guaranteed pools of $2 million in the Pick covering Races 10-13, $1 million in the Late Pick 5 (Races 9-13), $500,000 in the Pick 4 spanning Races 6-9 and $250,000 in the early Pick 5 (Races 2-6).

Preakness Week at Pimlico offers several events including Sunrise at Old Hilltop, where fans can have breakfast trackside while watching horses go through their morning exercise Tuesday, May 15 through Friday, May 18; the traditional Alibi Breakfast on Thursday, May 17; and Budweiser InfieldFest, one of the country’s most eclectic outdoor music festivals.

Headlining this year’s InfieldFest on Preakness Day are Post Malone, 21 Savage and Odesza on the event’s new 65-foot mega-stage designed to give attendees a view of the live racing. Also scheduled to perform are DJs Vice and Frank Walker. Additional information can be found at www.preakness.com.

Source: Press Release