2016 Preakness Stakes field

2016 Preakness Stakes Field Probables

The obvious leader on the board will be Nyquist, who ran an outstanding race against a competitive field to win the Kentucky Derby as the favorite. Despite allowing for a large field, the 2016 Preakness Stakes field is likely to be ten or less. The 1 3/16th mile race has previously been won by the Kentucky Derby for the past two years.

The runner-up at Churchill Downs this past weekend will likely toss his name in to the hat. Exaggerator ran an absolutely outstanding race but was no match for the sheer speed of Nyquist down the stretch. He fought hard to rally past Gun Runner, who also seems likely for the 2016 Preakness Stakes field.

Recent Kentucky Derby hopefuls such as Lani and Suddenbreakingnews, who finished 9th and 5th respectively, are also going to try and topple Nyquist in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Sharp Azteca is also pointed towards the Preakness Stakes field after a win at the Pat Day Mile, which was part of the Kentucky Derby undercard. Fourth place finisher, Fellowship, is also leaning towards taking part in the second leg of the Triple Crown. The Mark Casse trainee finished third at the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby before landing fourth at the Pat Day Mile.

New shooters are also expected for the race. Laoban and Cherry Wine were both slotted as alternates for the Kentucky Derby but never made the gate since all of the originally nominated horses made the call. Lexington Stakes winner, Collected, is also expected to enter the race after missing the derby. Uncle Lino will also likely enter after winning the California Chrome stakes. Awesome Speed is another probable for the 2016 Preakness Stakes field.

The mystery of the race seems to already be Stradivari, who won an allowance at Keeneland but has yet to compete in a stakes race.

“We’re very excited that the Derby winner and a couple others from the race are coming to the Preakness,” said Georgeanne Hale, racing secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club. “It looks like we’re going to have good field sizes and great weather. All 15 stakes Preakness weekend look to be coming together and right now it looks like two fantastic days of racing.”

The 2016 Preakness Stakes field will hit Pimlico Racecourse on May 21st in an attempt to derail Nyquist’s bid for the Triple Crown.

Jimmy Fallon with Puppy

Jimmy Fallon Predicts Derby With Puppies

Last year, Jimmy Fallon had a post full of puppies chase down dog food to pick out the eventual Kentucky Derby winner. The winning puppy shared the same number as American Pharoah, who would go on to win the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. So which puppy won the race on Fallon’s show this year?

If you guessed Mor Spirit by a nose, then you win!

Mor Spirit has been receiving almost no love in the Kentucky Derby lead up despite standing as the third favorite in the Kentucky Derby futures wager market for most of the year. The Bob Baffert trainee came second at the Kentucky Derby Jockey Club late last year before winning the Los Alamitos Futurity to cap his 2015 campaign. A lack of a recent win despite three strong outings on the derby trail have cooled off the hype around this the Baffert trainee.

His 2016 debut saw him beat Uncle Lino and I Will Score at the Robert B. Lewis, continuing the momentum he had built in the winter. Mor Spirit would then go on to stand as runner-up at the San Felipe Stakes to Danzing Candy, who blazed past the field to win. A rematch between the two was set up for the Santa Anita Derby, a race which was overrun by Exaggerator. Mor Spirit would finish second in that race as well.

So it’s nice to see Mor Spirit get some love, even it is from Jimmy Fallon and some puppies. The same set-up on the NBC show saw American Pharoah predicted as the winner. Maybe Jimm Fallon is on to something? Maybe that was just the hungriest puppy?

Mor Spirit will run out of the 17th post in a field of 20 with 12/1 odds. The 2016 Kentucky Derby will run on Saturday, May 7th at 6:34pm EST.

Nyquist remains the favorite at 3/1 with Exaggerator behind him at 8/1. Creator, Gun Runner and Mohaymen are the three co-third favorites at 10/1. Mor Spirit shares the same odds as Brody’s Cause, both standing as co-fourth favorites.

Repole Reminisces About Uncle Mo

To hear it the way Mike Repole describes it, the former Uncle Mo owner believes there was a lot of untapped potential left on the racetrack based on the insight shared regarding the success of his first sire crop.

“If Uncle Mo was healthy at 3, I think we would have seen a lot of what American Pharoah did last year,” said Repole earlier this week. “He was that spectacular and that brilliant.”

That’s some heavy praise, especially when you consider that American Pharoah was a Triple Crown winner last year. The dominating American Pharoah didn’t only win the Triple Crown, but by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic he also become a “Grand Slam” winner.

Even so, Repole has never been shy to express his opinions. This year he will be represented at the Kentucky Derby by Outwork, an Uncle Mo homebred. Hopefully Outwork won’t fade away like Uncle Mo, who was a force to reckon with in the early stages of his career.

Uncle Mo went undefeated in his first four career starts, and eventually was scratched from the 2011 Kentucky Derby due to what was later diagnosed as cholangiohepatitis (rare liver disorder).

“Uncle Mo was such a brilliant, special racehorse. To never have the chance to win the Derby with him was tough for me,” said Repole. “You can be 3-years-old on the First Saturday in May one time in your life. To miss that—you don’t get a second chance.”

Outwork heads into the Derby having won three-of-four starts, and with a confident Repole by his side. “It’s 100% opposite of the way I was feeling with Uncle Mo. He wasn’t eating, he wasn’t feeling good. This horse is eating everything, feeling good, grabbing the exercise rider, and taking him for a ride.”

Corey Lanerie

Corey Lanerie Gets Another Shot At Mo Tom

It’s been a strange and wild ride for jockey Corey Lanerie and Mo Tom. The pair is just six weeks removed from an errant run at the Louisiana Derby that almost cost the rider his relationship with the Kentucky Derby contender. Even trainer Tom Amoss was pretty quick to throw Lanerie under the proverbial hooves after a disappointing fourth place finish at Fair Grounds’ biggest race.

Expectations for Mo Tom have been fairly high during the prep for the Triple Crown series. He was supposed to win both the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby, but had almost identical problems in both races as he was forced in to hard checks down the homestretch. Trainer Tom Amoss was not shy about criticizing his jockey’s course of action in either race either.

“I don’t understand the ride Corey, to be quite frank with you,” Amoss said at the end of the Louisiana Derby. “I was not at my professional best with Corey afterward and I apologize for that. It’s all the work we put into the horse. To watch that unfold is, the only thing I can compare it to is being present to watch your son get beat up on the playground. It’s hard to watch.” Amoss went as far as to say that, “I just hope he didn’t hurt my hors,” after seeing Corey Lanerie ride him to the rail.

To his credit, Lanerie admitted fault after a crushing Louisiana Derby race. “He’s a great horse,” Lanerie said of Mo Tom. “I got him in a ton of trouble. I had more horse than I knew what to do with. It was a bad ride and totally my fault.” Lanerie even expressed that he’d be surprised if Amoss let him ride Mo Tom again.

Eventually, Amoss came around. Time heals all wounds but it also has a way of reminding handlers that they can’t change things up on their horses too much before a big race. “Corey knows this track better than anybody and he knows my horse better than anybody,” Amoss expressed after announcing that the jockey would return in Mo Tom’s saddle for the Kentucky Derby. “We feel blessed to have him.”

Corey Lanerie is one of the winningest riders at Churchill Downs and that likely played a big factor. But it also goes a long way in reminding us that Amoss trusts Lanerie with his horse once more and that words spoken in the heat of the action can often be sensationalized.

“He gets along with him great and also knows his nuances,” Amoss continued on the relationship that Corey Lanerie has with Mo Tom. “That may sound like a contradiction, but he does. The thing about Mo Tom is that he has this switch; he turns it off out of the gate and relaxes, but when you turn that switch on, he goes in a hurry. I think it has surprised a lot of people. With Corey on him, he knows that when he turns that switch on, it’s go time.

“Corey also knows how long he can carry that kick, and it’s more than the average horse. Those aren’t things you can describe to a rider who has never ridden him in a race. We feel lucky to have him.”

There is no mistaking that Mo Tom is a lot of horse to handle. Even with just two low-grade stakes victories on his resume, horse men know that Mo Tom had the muscle and desire to make dazzling home stretch runs at both the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby. Hopefully this time, Corey Lanerie can find the right line for Mo Tom to prove just how great he actually is.

Talk about a redemption story.

Synthetic Track Might be in Aqueduct’s Future

The past few years it has been nothing but talk by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and its plans to install a synthetic racing surface at Aqueduct Racetrack. That talk might finally turn into action, as the NYRA announced they are earmarking a 2017 capital budget expense attached to the project.

A state panel overseeing the NYRA’s finances was told by its President, Chris Kay, that costs are still in the negotiation stage, but that the expected cost should come in somewhere between nine to twelve million dollars. Kay also noted how they would like to bring in trainers from Woodbine, who recently replaced the Tapeta surface there with a Polytrack one.

“We believe having a synthetic track at Aqueduct would be very helpful in bringing horses from other locales,” said Kay. In addition to a synthetic turf replacement at Aqueduct, Kay and the NYRA are also looking into the possibility of installing a synthetic track at Belmont Park.

Two selling points for synthetic surfaces, according to Kay, are that they “have scored well” when it comes to reducing catastrophic injuries and they provide “a more stable surface” for racehorses.

Most talks with Horseman have been positive, but they did have some concerns regarding the switch from dirt to synthetic tracks when moving horses. Aqueduct has two dirt tracks. Kay said, “We will certainly explore that with the trainers as we move forward.”

Uncle Lino Sets Track Record and Wins California Chrome Stakes

Uncle Lino Pointed to Preakness Stakes for Next Start

Uncle Lino went wire to wire as the 7/5 favorite Saturday to win the $150,000 California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos. The 3-year old son of Uncle Mo set a track record covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.82 and holding off 15-1 shot Rare Candy by a half-length in a stretch duel. Uncle Lino set a pressured pace just off the rail and held on gamely under a left-handed urging by jockey Fernando Perez.

“He came out running and was comfortable all the way around,” Perez said. “I was still very confident when (Rare Candy) came to us, because my horse just wasn’t going to let him go by.”

Uncle Lino had been running against higher-class horses with a second, third and fourth place finish in the Robert B. Lewis, Santa Anita Derby and San Felipe Stakes. Those finishes were all against winners competing in the upcoming Kentucky Derby, Mor Spirit, Exaggerator and Danzing Candy.

“Somebody asked me if this horse should win today,’’ said trainer Gary Sherlock. “I said, ‘Well, the horses that have been beating him are running in the Kentucky Derby, so I think he’s got a pretty good chance.’’

Uncle Lino increased his earnings to $316,160 and paid $4.60, $3.20 and $3. Long shot Touched by Autism finished third at 71-1 providing a trifecta payout of $319.70 on a $1 ticket. Sherlock said after the race that he’s considering the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) for Uncle Lino’s next start. “It’s something we’ve talked about,’’ said Sherlock. “We’ll see how he comes out of this race. We get an extra week from the Kentucky Derby horses.’’

In a winner’s circle Saturday, Sherman presented Los Alamitos owner and president Dr. Edward Allred with the silks jockey Victor Espinoza wore when California Chrome won the Dubai World Cup. “It’s an honor to be stabled at Los Alamitos,’’ said Sherman.