Preakness Stakes, not Derby, to be Alwaysmining's larger goal

April 02, 2019 10:24am
Preakness Stakes, not Derby, to be Alwaysmining's larger goal
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

The Maryland-bred Alwaysmining, a winner of five consecutive races at Laurel Park, will stay home for his next start rather than jump on the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail.

Joe Cassidy, racing manager for Gregory and Caroline Bentley’s Runnymede Racing, said the son of Stay Thirsty is pointing next to Laurel’s April 20 Federico Tesio Stakes, a “Win and You’re In” race toward the Preakness Stakes.

“The big thing with him being a gelding is longevity,” Cassidy said.

Since beating winners for the first time last October in what was his seventh start, Alwaysmining has swept the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, Heft Stakes, Miracle Wood Stakes and then carried his speed around two turns last time in the March 16 Private Terms Stakes.

“If anything, I think he’s gotten a little sharper from it all,” said Cassidy, who received video of last Saturday’s four-furlong return to the work tab over Fair Hill’s synthetic.

“Visually, it’s a beautiful work. He looks like he’s doing it really easy. His energy’s back.”

The Tesio runs at nine furlongs, which will represent a career-long distance to the Kelly Rubley trainee. Alwaysmining could then go on to the second leg of the Triple Crown series on May 18 at Pimlico.

“If he tells us he’s good enough, we’d love to be there,” Cassidy said of the Preakness. “If he doesn’t want to do that, there’s options.”

Aside from the Tesio, connections had pondered entering Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, another 1 1/8-mile race. But “we’d be jamming him back in three weeks,” Cassidy said.

Still, there will be reason to watch. Among the Blue Grass’ top contenders is Win Win Win, a colt that Alwaysmining defeated Dec. 29 in the Heft Stakes. From there, Win Win Win went on to take Tampa Bay Downs’ Pasco Stakes in record fashion.

Alwaysmining's Private Terms victory came by 6 3/4 lengths with Daniel Centeno in the irons. The lightbulb moment, however, occurred last fall in Alwaysmining’s second race in Rubley’s care, a 10-length allowance score at Laurel.

"He came out of there running and we all looked at each other like, ‘Wow, did that really just happen?’” Cassidy said. “He wasn’t supposed to do that to a nice group of horses.”

From there, connections mapped out a plan they’re sticking to, remaining on the Maryland circuit with the winner of six races in 11 starts.


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