Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas arrived at Pimlico Race Course with his
three-horse contingent of Oxbow, Titletown Five and Will Take Charge
at 4:55 p.m. Tuesday following a grueling 12 ½-hour van ride from
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club
better than I am probably. It’s a long little trip.” said the
77-year-old Hall of Fame trainer, who rode in one of the two vans that
transported his three hopefuls for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and six
other horses from Kentucky.
Take Charge and Oxbow, the eighth- and sixth-place Kentucky Derby
finishers, respectively, walked off the first trailer. Titletown Five
emerged from the second, and all three looked no worse for wear. Both
Oxbow and Will Take Charge are coming back on two weeks of rest after
solid performances at Churchill Downs on May 4.
here in pretty good shape,” said Lukas, who dismissed any notion that
through numbers alone he might be in control of the Middle Jewel of the
Triple Crown with three of the nine probable starters.
don’t think I’m in control unless Shug scratches,” Lukas said,
referring to Shug McGaughey, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Orb. “If
he’ll scratch, I’ll feel better about the whole race. That’s an
exceptional horse, and in great hands. It’s going to be difficult to
beat him. His work this week was great, and I know Shug’s very confident
worked at Churchill on Monday for jockey Gary Stevens, going four
furlongs in 49 4/5 seconds. Will Take Charge went in 48 1/5 seconds in
his final workout for the Preakness. He gets a rider switch to Mike
Smith for the Preakness.
Stevens (Point Given, Silver Charm) and Smith (Prairie Bayou) have three winners in the Preakness between them.
Five, owned by a group that includes Paul Hornung and Willie Davis of
Green Bay Packers fame, ran fourth in the Derby Trial on April 27. A win
might have sent the son of Tiznow onto the Derby, but that became a
moot point when he failed to qualify under the new points system.
won the LeComte (G3) in January at Fair Grounds and was second in the
Rebel behind Will Take Charge at Oaklawn before finishing a troubled
fifth in the Arkansas Derby. Will Take Charge’s other win this year came
in the ungraded Smarty Jones at Oaklawn on Jan. 21.
think we’ll be effective,” Lukas said. “You can’t mail it in. It’s a
different surface, a shorter race, the configuration of the track’s a
little bit different. You have to run uphill at the end of it. I think
we’re learning a little bit about them (his three horses) every time. If
you look at the aerial view of the Derby, Will Take Charge ran one hell
of a race.”
has started 37 runners in the Preakness and won in his first attempt
with Codex in 1980. His last winner was Charismatic in 1999 after scores
by Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994) and Timber Country
(1995). Titletown Five would be the first colt to win in which Lukas had
a share of the ownership as well.
Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Preakness hopeful Itsmyluckyday arrived by
van from Monmouth Park at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. The Gulfstream Park
Derby and Holy Bull (G3) winner, who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, was accompanied on the ride to Pimlico by assistant trainer Frankie Perez.
went good. He’s so professional. Nothing bothers him,” said Perez, who
has worked for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. for 20 years.