Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome
is being treated for the recurrence of a minor throat irritation that
his connections say will not affect his preparation for the 139th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course Saturday.
Photo: Jerry Dzierwinski, Maryland Jockey Club
Sherman, assistant to his father, trainer Art Sherman, said that the
colt has a small throat blister that is being treated with a glycerin
throat wash. The blister was discovered during a thorough examination
after California Chrome coughed Thursday morning.
“He’s fine,” Alan Sherman said. “He had it going into the Derby and it
went away. After he ran in there, it came back a little bit, but it’s
not a big deal at all.”
the colt coughed, blood work was done and he was scoped. Nothing but
the blister was found. Alan Sherman said a throat blister is fairly
“I don’t know how they get them, but a lot of horses get them,” Sherman said, comparing it to an itchy throat for a human.
questions arose about the status of the colt’s health, Alan Sherman
issued a statement to dispel rumors that California Chrome was sick.
horse is completely fine,” he said in the statement. “His blood work
came back perfect. He coughed about four times today and we got him
checked out right away. The blister isn’t going to affect him at all;
the vet said there were absolutely no other problems, nothing else going
his meeting with the media Thursday morning, Art Sherman repeated that
he dislikes running a horse back in two weeks, the time between the
Derby and the Preakness, and talked in general terms about what else he
worries about during the Triple Crown.
“I’ve always got concerns: the weather, hoping that he doesn’t get a
cold,” Sherman said. “You’re always watching him, taking his temperature
three times a day because of the change in weather. One day it’s hot;
one day it’s like this. The next day it will be raining. You’ve got to
monitor your horse really well and make sure that he is 100 percent.
That’s my key worry right now, that he doesn’t catch a cold, or anything
acknowledged the arrival of some fast new entrants will present pace
challenges in the Preakness that did not materialize in the slowly run
think there is a going to be a different scenario of the race,” Art
Sherman said. “It looks like there is going to be some legitimate speed,
but don’t underestimate this horse. He’s been head and head with horses
in :09 (1:09) and change and did draw off and he did do a mile in 1:33
and change. He can go with the best, I think. He’s proven it. He’s kind
of like push-button. You don’t have to be on the lead, but when you ask
him to run he’s going to give you a burst coming down the lane.”
California Chrome drew post 3 and is the 3-5 morning-line favorite in the Preakness.
– Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, seeking his sixth Preakness
victory, said he would relish having Bayern’s rider, Rosie Napravnik,
make history as the first female jockey to win Maryland’s signature
was like when Chantal Sutherland was riding Game On Dude,” Baffert
said. “I got so much joy out of winning a big race that had never been
done before with a female rider. It brought an extra flair to it.”
who won her career debut at Pimlico in 2005, is making her second
appearance in the Preakness. She was third on Mylute last year. Bayern
and Napravnik finished first in the Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill Downs
on April 26, but were disqualified and placed second for interference in
the stretch. Baffert kept her on the speedy Bayern for the Preakness.
had a lot of success with her, but I’ve put her on a lot of live
horses,” Baffert said. “She helps me out at Churchill. She’s got the
right attitude. She knows that I could bring somebody in from California
to ride a horse at any time, and she has no problem with that. When she
breezes my horses she knows what I want, what I expect. She works
really well with us.”
to Equibase stats, Napravnik has eight wins, three seconds and earnings
of $1,045,434 with 15 mounts on Baffert horses. Five of those victories
have come in stakes, topped by three Grade 1 triumphs. In addition to
Bayern, Napravnik has two other stakes mounts on Baffert horses at
Pimlico this weekend: Jojo Warrior in the Miss Preakness and Cat Burglar
in the Pimlico Special.
ride her because she’s a great rider and I think she’s getting better
and better,” Baffert said. “She’s better this year than she was last
year. I’ve seen her really changing a lot. Once you have it, you still
need the horse underneath you. A great jockey like her keeps a good
horse from getting beat.”
Baffert said Napravnik is focused and fiercely competitive.
lot of jockeys are intimidated when they ride for me. She’s not,” he
said. “She just rides her horse. I never say hardly a word to her. I
just throw her on there, that’s it, and I just leave her alone. She does
her homework and I don’t have to say too much to her.”
acknowledged Napravnik’s connection to Pimlico and Maryland racing, but
said a win in the Preakness would be special, period.
think if she was from Alaska it would mean a big deal to her,” he said.
“Believe me, when you cross the wire and you win the Preakness or a
classic race, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s huge.”
the direction of Baffert’s assistant, Jim Barnes, Bayern galloped on
the track at Pimlico Thursday morning. The son of Offlee Wild shipped
from Kentucky to Baltimore Wednesday.
DYNAMIC IMPACT – John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact
enjoyed an easy first day at Pimlico after arriving from Churchill
Downs by galloping 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Wayne Brown.
likes to take his time out there,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his
father Mark Casse, who will be at Pimlico Friday. “It was a very good
first day and it looked like he got over the track real well.”
Impact went to the track after the renovation break, which was a
departure from his normal routine of going out around 6:30 with the
second set of Casse-trained horses.
was our first day here and I’m glad I brought another horse so I could
do a test run,” Norman Casse said of taking Miss Preakness entrant Tepin
to the track first on a foggy morning.
“Tomorrow he will go out at 6:30.”
Training hours Friday are 5-9 a.m. with no renovation break and training Saturday is limited to Preakness horses from 5-6 a.m.
For Brown, it was the first time he had been aboard Dynamic Impact since March at Oaklawn Park.
Impact, listed at 12-1 on the morning line, will break from post
position one and be ridden by Miguel Mena. This is the first Preakness
mount for Mena.
GENERAL A ROD – Skychai Racing and Starlight Racing’s General a Rod
made his regular early-morning appearance on the track at Pimlico to
gallop a mile and a quarter, but trainer Mike Maker basically had to
take the word of exercise rider Joel Barrientos for it. He and fellow
Preakness contender Kid Cruz were both out at the same time.
“I don’t know,” Maker said when asked who won the galloping contest between the two. “It was too foggy for me to tell.”
was the second concern for Maker in the past 12 hours or so at Pimlico.
The first occurred at Wednesday’s post-position draw.
was all good until we drew the 2-hole,” the former D. Wayne Lukas
assistant said. “It is what it is. Obviously the makeup of the race is
going to decide (strategy). If he can get out, so be it. If he can’t
there’s really nothing you can do, unless you plow somebody over. That’s
why we’ll let (jockey) Javier (Castellano) decide.”
Racing’s managing partner Jack Wolf stopped by Barn D to check on the
colt co-owned with Skychai Racing, who was named – not for the famous
Yankee third baseman, but – for original owner J. Armando Rodriguez.
Starlight and Skychai purchased the colt after his close third-place
finish in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 29 at Gulfstream Park.
“I’ve always liked this horse since the first time I saw him on January First,” Wolf said. “He’s a fighter.”
was the original trainer and retained his position in large part
because of his past associations with Skychai. He was thrilled to remain
General a Rod’s trainer.
always had a lot of confidence in this horse,” Maker said. “He’s got a
great attitude and he never gets nervous about anything. If he’s good
enough, he’ll prevail. If not, we’ll find a softer spot next time.”
The Kentucky Derby was the first time he had been off the board in six career starts (11th) after breaking slowly and encountering typical Derby traffic.
a Rod is actually still eligible for preliminary allowance conditions
no matter what happens Saturday in the Preakness. Other than the
maiden-breaking win in his first start at Keeneland in October, his only
other victory came in a stakes race – the ungraded Gulfstream Park
Derby on his 3-year-old birthday New Year’s Day.
KID CRUZ – Trainer Linda Rice was on hand to watch Kid Cruz
go to the track for his regular post-6 a.m. gallop with exercise rider
Reul Munoz. He and fellow Preakness contender General a Rod were out at
the same time, but Rice was unaware of it.
didn’t see him (General a Rod),” she said. “There was so much fog out
there I was struggling to find my own horse. We let him stretch out down
the lane a little bit and try to let him know where the wire is. He’s
son of Lemon Drop Kid is set to make his first graded-stakes start in
the Preakness. He comes into the Preakness with only five starts, but
his last two were stakes wins in the Private Terms at Laurel and the
Federico Tesio at Pimlico. He is the only Preakness candidate to run
over the Pimlico track.
won over the track, so we’re going to find out if he can handle this
type of competition,” said Rice, who will be saddling her first
Preakness starter in hopes of making history. A female trainer never has
won the Middle Jewel of Triple Crown. “I’m excited to see how it plays
out. We’re here and we’re ready to go.”
by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, Kid Cruz appears
to be one of the contenders who would benefit most from a lively,
contested pace. All three of his victories have come from off the pace,
sometimes far off it.
he ran in the Private Terms, he was so far back, I thought, ‘Oh, my
God, what’s wrong?’” she said. “He was 22 lengths back. We planned to be
off the pace and make a run, but that was a surprise to me and actually
a concern at the time.”
Julian Pimentel apparently was less concerned as Kid Cruz passed all
nine opponents and went on to win by four widening lengths. However,
that victory came with an unexpected price tag as Kid Cruz incurred an
apparent shoulder injury that would keep him out of the Wood Memorial
(G1) and cost him any chance he had of making the Kentucky Derby.
had sent him for a lot of tests and exams, nuclear scans and what not,”
Rice said. “We figured out everything it was not, and then landed on it
being a pinched nerve at the base of his neck. He responded well to
treatment, but that caused us to miss the Wood. I knew it was an outside
chance we could even make the Wood, but I was trying to keep the Derby
B was the Tesio on April 19 as a prep for the Preakness. His 3 ½-length
victory in that race was less harrowing for Rice as Pimentel kept him a
bit closer to the pace. Pimentel has ridden in the Preakness only once
previously, having finished 11th aboard Norman Asbjornson in 2011.
impressed me enough in his last two races, and he’s trained very well
where I think he deserves a chance at this race,” Rice said.
PABLO DEL MONTE – During his first morning at Pimlico Thursday, Pablo Del Monte galloped 1 ¼ miles through the fog under exercise rider Mike Clark.
Wesley Ward-trained chestnut colt was shipped from Louisville, Ky. to
Baltimore Wednesday and settled in nicely, members of Ward’s staff
reported. Pablo Del Monte drew post 9 for the Preakness and will be
ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.
RIA ANTONIA – With exercise rider Maurice Sanchez aboard, the only filly in Saturday’s Preakness field, Ria Antonia, jogged a mile in dense fog a little after 6:30 Thursday morning at Pimlico.
“It was like driving 60 in the fog,” Sanchez said with a laugh. “I don’t think she noticed the fog, but I sure did.”
by Tom Amoss, Ria Antonia shipped to Pimlico Wednesday afternoon from
Churchill Downs and Sanchez, who traveled with the filly on the flight,
said everything about the ship was smooth.
Ria Antonia was scheduled to school in the paddock Thursday and will train at about the same time Friday.
Paolucci, head of Loooch Racing and owner of the filly along with
Christopher Dunn, has no qualms about tackling the colts with Ria
Antonia after her sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
can’t be any harder than running against (Oaks winner) Untapable,”
Paolucci said. “It looks to me like California Chrome and everybody
is the second-leading money earner in the field behind only California
Chrome and she is the only other Grade 1 winner in the field besides
California Chrome. How can people say that she does not belong?”
Borel, winner of the 2009 Preakness aboard Rachel Alexandra, the most
recent filly to run in the Preakness, has the mount Saturday and will
break from post position six. At 30-1, Ria Antonia is the longest price
on the morning line.
RIDE ON CURLIN
– Trainer Billy Gowan led Ride On Curlin on a 35-minute walking regimen
in the shedrow of the Preakness Stakes Barn Thursday morning, a day
after his final breeze (half-mile in 49 3/5 seconds) for Saturday’s
Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
“He looks really good; his legs are good, and he ate everything, so we’re fine,” Gowan said after the lengthy walk.
originally had some trepidation about drawing the far outside post in
the Preakness field of 10, but ultimately decided he’ll be much better
off than he was in Louisville, where he drew post 18 and trailed the
field early after jockey Calvin Borel took a sharp left out of the gate
to get to the rail.
is what it is,” Gowan said of post 10. “It’s better than being in the
1-hole. My horse has got a little speed, you know. He doesn’t have to be
dead last like he was in the Derby. He’s got tactical speed. I think
it’s really perfect because there ought to be some speed to go out
there. Hopefully, he can just tuck in before we get to the turn and save
a little ground.”
Gowan said Borel took a chance that just didn’t work out because of the slow pace.
wasn’t anything we discussed,” he said. “That was his idea, not mine.
With this jock (Joel Rosario), I’ll just tell him that our horse does
have speed and just use your own judgment. If the pace is crawling –
Calvin didn’t know the pace was going to be crawling in the Derby – just
let him run away from there and see where he is. If the pace is
crawling, go up there and join them. If it’s blistering just lay off
them. It’s common sense, you would think.”
Before the Derby, Ride On Curlin was a good second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and third in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
think he’s a good horse,” Gowan said. “I think he’s one of the top
3-year-olds in the country. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. Hopefully,
one of these days we’ll get the chance to show it, maybe Saturday.”
RING WEEKEND – St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend arrived
at Pimlico Thursday shortly before 11 a.m. following a van ride from
trainer Graham Motion’s base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
trained him this morning,” assistant trainer and exercise rider Alice
Clapham said. “He’ll just walk this afternoon and he’ll train tomorrow
Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner was accompanied on the van by Under
Control, who was entered in Thursday’s seventh race at Pimlico. Ring
Weekend was knocked out of a run in the Kentucky Derby when he lost a
few days of training with a fever.
been really happy with him. He breezed very well the other day, and I
think after that they decided to give him a shot in here,” Clapham said.
Weekend, who followed up his Tampa Bay Derby win with a second-place
finish in the Calder Derby on April 5, is rated at 20-1 in the morning
SOCIAL INCLUSION – Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion jogged a half-mile and galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Domingo Navarro Thursday morning at Pimlico.
3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled to make only his
fourth career start in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, and if
successful in prevailing over Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome
and eighth other rivals, his trainer, Manny Azpurua, would become the
oldest trainer to saddle a Preakness winner.
weeks after 77-year-old Art Sherman became the oldest trainer to saddle
a Kentucky Derby winner, the 85-year-old Azpurua would eclipse the
record of legendary “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons, who was 82 years and 10
months old when he scored with Bold Ruler for a 1957 Preakness victory,
should Social Inclusion win Saturday.
who saddled more than 3000 winners in his native Venezuela before
venturing to the U.S. in 1979, has never given a thought to retirement.
“I love this business. I love the horses,” said Azpurua, his voice cracking with emotion.
passion for training, which has enabled him to achieve longstanding
success in South Florida for more than three decades, is appreciated by
Ron Sanchez, who operates Rontos Racing.
feel a lot of respect for him. He was a national hero of racing fans in
Venezuela. The more I know him, the more I want to learn from him. I’m
proud of Manny Azpurua,” said Sanchez, who moved to the U.S. from
Venezuela permanently in 2010. “This is my man. We’re going to make it.
No matter what, we’re going to stick together. He knows the horses; he
loves the horses.”
loyalty was in evidence when he received offers to buy Social Inclusion
after his maiden victory by 7 ½ lengths and following his track
record-breaking triumph in his second start at Gulfstream.
respect him so much. I didn’t sell the horse because they wanted to
take the horse away from him. Loyalty is a big word,” Sanchez said.
Inclusion, who is rated second in the Preakness morning line at 5-1,
will have a lot of support in Venezuela Saturday as the tries to rebound
from a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on
is focusing attention on this horse, like they did with Wildcat Red
(trained by Venezuela native Jose Garoffalo) in the Kentucky Derby. But I
think there’s more focus because they think this horse has a better
chance of winning than Wildcat Red did,” said Sanchez, who has received
several requests for interviews from the Venezuelan media. “He’s second
choice. They’ll be cheering for us. Venezuelan horse racing fans are the
best. There are 500 simulcast facilities around the country.”