Trainer John Shirreffs shoots for a transcontinental
stakes sweep Saturday when he saddles Mr. Commons in the Preakness Stakes at
Pimlico while sending out Makoma in the Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Assistant Michelle Jensen will saddle Makoma in the
absence of her boss in Maryland
and hopes for a replay of Kentucky Derby Day in 2005, when she saddled
Hollywood Story to victory in the Hawthorne Handicap here shortly after
Shirreffs sent out Giacomo to a startling upset at Churchill Downs.
Victor Espinoza, who won on Hollywood Story after she
nearly fell on the first turn, has the Preakness call on Mr. Commons, who drew
the outside post in a field of 14 and was listed at 20-1 in the morning line.
The Preakness will be simulcast here Saturday during a card that begins early –
11 a.m. first post.
“That’s my thought,” said Jensen Thursday of her
hopes for a replay.
“Makoma is at the top of her game now and is a
beautiful mover. I’m going to school her during the first race today.”
Makoma, a homebred owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, will
make her stakes debut after two wins in five starts. The 4-year-old
Kentucky-bred filly is by Malibu Moon out of the Dixieland Band mare Rhapsodic
and will be ridden for the first time by Chantal Sutherland.
Makoma seeks to give Shirreffs his fourth victory in
six years in the Milady, a Grade II test for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles
on Cushion Track. The conditioner won with Proposed in 2006 before scoring
twice with the legendary Zenyatta for the Mosses in 2008 and 2009.
Trainer Bob Baffert also seeks a Preakness-Milady
sweep. He will saddle Midnight Interlude with Martin Garcia in quest of a sixth
Preakness win and send out American Story with Alonso Quinonez in quest of an
initial Milady score.
After agonizing much of the week, trainer Art Sherman
elected to run Ultra Blend in her first try in graded stakes company in the
Milady instead of the Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-breds Sunday. “I’m
going to try her,” said Sherman
of the multiple Cal-bred stakes winner. “I think it’s the time. I hope I’m