Race of the Week 2017

Derby Horses Don't Work For Preakness

I'll Have Another jogs before the Preakness

The coolest clocker on the internet, Bruno DeJulio, knows what to look for when watching horses workout in the mornings. Here's his take on the action (or lack thereof) between the Derby and Preakness!


Derby horses don't work much these days.

Yes, Derby horses going into the Preakness don't do much these days between running a mile and one quarter on the first Saturday in May and the Preakness two weeks later.


It's a question that not only handicappers ask but the media as well, "how they working into the Preakness?"

Well, they are exercising and galloping into the Preakness, but not working. The ones that are working are the fresh faces that were either excluded out of Derby as they lacked the earnings or simply, are Johnny-come-latelys to spoil the party.

A work is used to gain fitness, and to remove lactic acid out of the muscles caused by strenuous efforts. Usually, a strong gallop with a good finish can do the same thing.


I'll Have Another never missed a beat off the Derby win. He looked great the day after the Derby, and the day after that, and the day after that. He didn't drop in weight and his coat remained vibrant. His last gallop we saw on Thursday was outstanding. He is aggressive and that will have him closer to Bodemeister in the Preakness.

Remember, he has the speed to be close up, just look at his Lewis win at Santa Anita and the Santa Anita Derby.

Bodemeister is a cranky galloper, or as we call him, 'Crabby'. You will undoubtedly hear someone in the media or at the track call him sore or off, just as they did with Lookin at Lucky during his three-year-old campaign. The big complaint about 'Lucky was that he was off behind and he was very winded after working. That never hurt him in the afternoon, so it's just how the horse is. By the way, the winded thing, tells me there was a lot of adrenaline working in his system.


Bode reminds of Kona Gold, the superstar sprinter for Bruce Headley. He galloped like the wheels were going to come off at any time, or Cash Refund, the good sprinter for Steve Margolis, whom like Kona, barely picks his feet up off the ground and when galloping his gait completely changes. You should see him gallop at CD, he looks like a 5K claimer, but open the gates or give them their head and they explode.

Bode is the same kind of horse - maybe that's a trait of speedy, fast, quick types who rely on the quickness and agility rather than raw power and strength. He needs the lead and is not comfortable in close quarter combat.

Creative Cause is almost made out of the same cloth. He doesn't jog well, he doesn't do much, he needs a warm up. He needs a pony that he can't tick off and get kicked. Creative Cause is a confrontational type of horse, however, he has proven to back down on numerous occasions when in a dogfight. He did it in the Del Mar Futurity when intimated by Majestic City, he backed down when Union Rags came alongside in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, and yielded to I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby. He tried to do it in the San Felipe, but Bodemeister was tired and had not the strength to fight back.

Went the Day Well, ran on well in the Derby, albeit the slow final fraction and galloped out well. He lacks the explosion needed over the Pimlico surface. He will ramble on late and pick up tired horses. He also may be too far back early.

The Preakness is a race that is run at a high tempo, a tempo that served Shackleford well last year and played against Animal Kingdom, but don't tell that to Graham Motion, who still stings, in tongue and cheek, as he asked politely on twitter recently for someone to arrange the removal of the large poster of Shackleford in the grandstand before he arrives.


Better be on your toes and ready for combat. If you don't like close proximity you have no shot  at that big poster in the grandstand next year.


Good luck to all. 


--Bruno DeJulio, RacingwithBruno.com 



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Older Comments about Derby Horses Don't Work For Preakness...

Thank you for explaining exercise, gallop, work for those of us that are new to horse racing

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