Undefeated Preamble making stakes debut in Pimlico's Chick Lang

Maryland Jockey Club
May 15, 2019 05:51pm
Undefeated Preamble making stakes debut in Pimlico's Chick Lang
Photo: Jonathan Lintner

WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s Preamble, undefeated in three career starts, will face stakes company for the first time along with fellow unbeaten Pyron in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Chick Lang at Pimlico Race Course.

For 3-year-olds, the Chick Lang is among nine stakes, five graded, worth $2.8 million on a 14-race program highlighted by the Preakness Stakes.

Preamble, a chestnut son of champion sprinter Speightstown, won his only start this year by 2 ¾ lengths in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance April 6 at Keeneland. He captured each of his starts at 2, both at six furlongs, breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in September.

“He’s 3-for-3. He’s a pretty fast horse,” trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. “Hopefully, we keep him undefeated. Of course, it’s going to be his first stakes test.”

WinStar Farm and China Horse Club were part of the ownership group that campaigned Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown champion they retired with a perfect 6-0 record who now stands at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. for $150,000 live foal.

Without Triple Crown race aspirations for Preamble, the connections decided to give the grandson of 1993 2-year-old male champion Dehere plenty of time following his second-level optional claiming allowance triumph last October, his first try against winners.

“We are pretty excited about him. He was 2-for-2 last year for us and, talking with the ownership, we all agreed he wasn’t a two-turn horse so there was no point to try and think about the [Kentucky] Derby. After he won at Keeneland we kind of wrapped him up for the winter,” Brisset said.

“The horse came back to Payson with us in the beginning of the year,” he added. “Seven furlongs may have been his maximum distance. I don’t think he wants to run farther than that. It was a tough spot to come back, even if on paper it looked like he won pretty easy. He’s been training well since.”

Brisset decided to bypass last Sunday's Gold Fever Stakes at Belmont Park and point for the Chick Lang, promoted to graded status for 2019. It was run as the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes from 1975-2009 and renamed following the death of racing industry legend John ‘Chick’ Lang, known as “Mr. Preakness.”

“We decided it was a graded stakes and we thought it would be a good spot for him,” Brisset said. “The sire was a champion and the mare [Beautician] was pretty quick, too. They did try to run her a couple times going two turns but it looked like every time they cut her back to one turn, she run a pretty fast number. This is why we decided we didn’t really have any Derby dream with him. He’s a smaller type sprinter.”

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pyron has won each of his two starts this year after going unraced at 2, breaking his maiden Feb. 24 and coming back with a 2 ¾-length triumph in an optional claiming allowance April 13, both going six furlongs at Oaklawn Park.

“He’s two-for-two and deserves this opportunity,” Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’s kind of a laid-back horse for somebody who is 2-for-2 and has run as fast as he has. I’m anxious to see how he steps up against this competition.”

West Point Thoroughbreds and Chris Larsen’s Still Dreaming, a half-brother to 2016 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, returns to graded company for the first time since finishing seventh in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3) Feb. 9 at Tampa Bay Downs.

After another failed attempt around two turns in the March 16 Private Terms at Laurel Park behind Preakness contender Alwaysmining, trainer Graham Motion cut Still Dreaming back to springing for the first time since his career debut last November. The chestnut colt responded with a gutsy nose triumph in an optional claiming allowance going seven furlongs April 13, also at Laurel.

“It was a pretty nice effort last time. Ideally, I’d rather this was seven-eighths, but that’s not the case,” Motion said. “I always thought of him as potentially one of my best 3-year-olds, or my best 3-year-old. As a sprinter he kind of came from off of it last time, and I would imagine shortening up again to three-quarters that’s what he’ll do again.”

Also entered are Malpais and Admiral Lynch, 1-2, respectively, in the Robert Hilton Memorial April 20 at Charles Town; Roar Stakes winner Gladiator King; Cabot and Confessor, both making their stakes debut; and Lexitonian.


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