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Preachintothedevil Aims at Albany

Mike Lee winner Preachintothedevil, aiming for a start in the 1 1/8-mile Albany on August 24, turned in a 1:16.54 six-furlong breeze at Saratoga on Thursday.


“It was just a little maintenance stuff,” said Gary Contessa, who trains the colt for Crossed Sabres Farm. “He went nicely galloped out strongly. He’s right on schedule for the Albany .”


Preachintothedevil is exiting a 4 ¼-length runner-up effort behind stablemate Socialsaul in the July 16 New York Derby at Finger Lakes . Socialsaul, owned by Samotowka Stables, will breeze tomorrow and is also probable for the Albany , Contessa said.


The Mike Lee and the New York Derby form the first two legs of the Big Apple Triple, a series for 3-year-old New York-breds that was inaugurated in 1999.


If either Preachintothedevil or Socialsaul win the Albany , Contessa would become the first trainer to win all three legs of the Big Apple Triple in the same year with two different horses, but would not receive the $100,000 bonus awarded to the connections of any horse who sweeps the series. Tin Cup Chalice, who won all three legs in 2008, is the only horse to complete the sweep.


“If they gave me a free lunch or something [for winning all three races], I’d be happy,” quipped Contessa.


Contessa believes both Preachintothedevil and Socialsaul have an equal chance of winning the Albany .


“Socialsaul had the perfect trip [in the New York Derby], while Preachintothedevil had a very eventful trip,” said Contessa. “He stumbled coming out of the gate, checked off heels going into the first turn, and was blocked on the backside, so he didn’t have the best trip.


“I don’t even have an opinion as to who will win [the Albany ],” continued Contessa. “I like them both. We’ll see who the better horse is in the Albany . I think they are very close. It’s hard to separate those two. I just hope I win it with one of them! Some other horse could beat us.”



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