Todd Pletcher Preps for Belmont Stakes

The 2017 Triple Crown gamut is close to completion, with only the Belmont Stakes (G1) left on the docket. Trainer Todd Pletcher has a couple of charges he will most likely send in an attempt to snag the last slice of the Triple Crown pie in Tapwrit and Patch. He sent them both out to work on May 27.

Patch is coming off a 14th place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and did not run in the Preakness Stakes (G1). Tapwrit, the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner, also skipped out on the Preakness after finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher, as we know, trained Always Dreaming to a win in the Kentucky Derby, but they finished eighth in the Preakness.

During the 9:30 AM work, Tapwrit was timed running five furlongs in 1:02.25 under jockey Jose Ortiz. Patch worked out earlier than Tapwrit, hitting the track at 7:45 AM with jockey John Velazquez, who rode Always Dreaming to Kentucky Derby glory last month. They ran four furlongs in :50.24.

“I thought Tapwrit worked well; he’s not an overzealous workhorse but we got a good solid five-eighths into him on what I’d describe as a relatively slow training track,” said Pletcher. “I thought it served its purpose and he seemed to work as he normally does. (Patch) worked fine. Neither horse are ones that overachieve in the mornings but they have that solid, grinding style that could suit the Belmont.”

Tapwrit is definite to start in the Belmont Stakes, according to Pletcher, but he has yet to make a decision on Patch.

Record Day at Preakness Stakes

Pimlico Sets Attendance and Handle Records for Preakness Stakes

Cloud Computing closed in the deep stretch to win the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) on a record day at Pimlico Race Course. And a track-record 140,327 witness the exciting finish. The Maryland Jockey Club announced that Saturday’s Preakness Stakes card broke all handle and attendance records at Pimlico.

Cloud Computing edges Classic Empire in 142nd Preakness Stakes

Total handle on Pimlico’s 14-race program was $97,168,658, an increase of three percent over the previous record of $94,127,434 and a 14-percent increase over 2015 wagering. The attendance of 140,327 broke last year’s record of 135,256.

The Maryland Jockey Club also announced that in-state handle was up 7.1 percent from last year and 10.4 percent from 2015.

“From morning into evening, we witnessed an incredible day of world-class racing and eclectic entertainment,” said Sal Sinatra, President of the Maryland Jockey Club. “The sport of Thoroughbred racing is being rejuvenated and reimagined by the Stronach family. Their commitment to this sport is remarkable and unparalleled. Their vision is being embraced by horsemen and fans around the country.”

Betting on the Preakness this year was $60.2 million when counting all wagers that ended in the race, down 1.7 percent from the record of $61.3 million set last year. This year’s Preakness had 10 horses, while last year’s race had 11 horses.

Overnight television ratings for the race portion of the Preakness broadcast on NBC peaked at 6.2 with a 14 share, identical to the overnight figures for the race portion of the broadcast last year. NBC said the broadcast was the highest-rated sports broadcast of the weekend.

Sinatra added. “We want to thank the fans who came to Pimlico Saturday as well as the horsemen who supported our program this weekend. And, of course, the incredible equine athletes for their spirit and beauty.”

Preakness Stakes Aftermath Part 2

Always Dreaming was the 6/5 pre-race favorite to win the 142nd annual Preakness Stakes. If he did, the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner would have had a shot to make history in his quest to become the 13th horse ever to win the Triple Crown. While Always Dreaming lead after three-quarters, he quickly faded away during the stretch run, and finished a distant eighth.

Trainer Todd Pletcher mentioned that Always Dreaming was healthy following the Preakness Stakes, but wasn’t sure what happened to make him fall to the back of the pack late in the race.

“He’s healthy and happy,” said Pletcher. “We’ll head back to Belmont … and regroup. When I spoke to the ownership after the race yesterday, we all decided we wouldn’t make a decision (regarding his next start) until we got him home and evaluated him. … Talking to (jockey John Velazquez) a little more, he was concerned down the backside, that he wasn’t taking him there the same way he was taking him there in the Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby (G1).

“Other than that, I don’t have a good explanation. He came back healthy and looks good. … The surface—I hate to use that as an excuse, because he’s run well over all kinds of different surfaces, (but) this one was a little bit different, because it was in that drying-out phase. But it wasn’t his day, I suppose.”

Senior Investment, who finished third in the Preakness Stakes, will run in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

“We just used this as a prep race,” joked trainer, Kenny McPeek. “We felt all along he wanted a mile and a half, but the Belmont is tougher than this sometimes, because the pace can be much slower. Does it suit him? He’s just going to keep coming. … We made a decision yesterday before the race, if he finishes fourth or better, he punches his ticket.”

Cloud Computing

Preakness Stakes Aftermath Part 1

The day after winning the Preakness Stakes (G1) in an upset, Cloud Computing was set to leave Baltimore and the Pimlico Race Course and return to his Belmont Park home. Trainer Chad Brown left the night before, but before leaving his discussed the possibility of Cloud Computing running in the Belmont Stakes (G1), the third and final leg of the Triple Crown. Cloud Computing

“We haven’t ruled it [Belmont Stakes] out,” said Brown. “We’re just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.”

As for Belmont Stakes runner-up, Classic Empire, his trainer Mark Casse said running in the Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

“Right now I’d say there’s a very good shot he’s going to run in the Belmont,” said Casse. “But we won’t make that (decision yet). We’ll see how he acts and does everything.”

If Classic Empire does run in the Belmont Stakes, Casse mentioned an equipment change could be in order, saying the removal of blinkers could keep his charge engaged. Casse believes Classic Empire, who was leading after the final turn, might have been caught off guard by Cloud Computing’s late surge.

“If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would do differently is I would take the blinkers off him. I’m not so sure how much he saw that horse coming,” said Casse. “He dug back in, but the other horse had some momentum on him, and if you watch him going on out, he took off again.”

Cloud Computing 2017 Preakness

Cloud Computing Upsets 2017 Preakness

The dream of a Triple Crown winner is over for this year. Cloud Computing stormed the backstretch of the 2017 Preakness Stakes to beat Classic Empire in a staggering upset. The 12/1 underdog bested the 2/1 second choice to finish with a time of 1:55.98, which happens to be the fastest time in five years.

Always Dreaming took the field out with a fantastic break from the gate, and dragged Classic Empire with him in to the first corner. Cloud Computing sat in third with 45/1 longshot Term of Art trailing in fourth. Nothing changed as Always Dreaming, a 6/5 favorite, ran out in front with Classic Empire shadowing him on the outside. The top-four remain unchanged for almost the entire race.

Everything changed drastically in the 2017 Preakness at the top of the final turn when Always Dreaming faded out of nowhere. He’d eventually finish eighth, but leave the door wide open for a surging Classic Empire who looked to have regained his championship form. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner was well on pace, but Cloud Computing came on strong and managed to outwork his opponent to win by a neck.

At 12/1, Cloud Computing was worth a strong $28.80, $8.60 and $6.00 across the board. Classic Empire delivered $4.40 and $4.00 in second while Senior Investment was a big payday for whomever backed him at 30/1 with a $10.20 payout.

Trianer Chad Brown admitted that running Cloud Computing on a lengthy rest in the 2017 Preakness after he skipped the Kentucky Derby was part of the long-term strategy, despite the fact that this may upset racing fans. “I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” Brown said. “Our horse is very talented, too. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses and our strategy was, if we were going to ever beat them, let’s take them on two weeks’ rest when we have six, and it worked.”

As for Always Dreaming, it simply wasn’t his day. The three weeks he has to regroup for the Belmont Stakes may very well give him the recovery he needs to be a winner. But we’ll see. The 2017 Preakness may be a tad disappointing, but the Belmont could very well be a revenge song for Always Dreaming. It’s also apparent that Chad Brown thinks that the 1 1/2 mile distance would be too much for Cloud Computing. So there’s that.

 

 

Senior Investment

Senior Investment Puts in Final Preakness Work

Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3) winner Senior Investment put in his final work at Keeneland in preparation for the Preakness Stakes (G1). Senior Investment was ridden by jockey Channing Hill, under the watchful eye of trainer Kenny McPeek. They would be timed completing the five-furlong work in 1:02 and would gallop out to six furlongs in a time of 1:14. The final time was satisfactory after things got off to a slow start with early fractions of :13 and :25 2/5. Senior Investment

“It was just a maintenance work. Good gallop out,” said McPeek.

“He went off good. Everything was super solid. Nice and normal—just an everyday move. He came home good,” said Hill. Hill was on top of Senior Investment when he won the Lexington Stakes and also rode him to a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

“He’s just such a cool guy. His mentality gets him a long way. He’s just so calm and relaxed. He does anything you ask him to, and he loves running by horses,” continued Hill. “He was great getting to the quarter pole. Once we lost our company, he stayed on business, but I think he prefers chasing someone down. We’re going into this race good and hopefully we can upset some people.”

Senior Investment was purchased by McPeek at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale for $95,000. In eight career starts, he has won three and earned a shade over $207,080. Senior Investment is bred by Dixiana Farms.

Royal Mo

Royal Mo Injured in Last Preakness Workout

In his final timed workout before the Preakness Stakes (G1), Royal Mo suffered a devastating injury. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens had flown in from Southern California to ride Royal Mo and he was the one who initially heard a loud “pop” during their workout. Royal Mo

“Initially I thought he just overreached and hit himself, but then there was a loud pop,” said Stevens.

“Unfortunately, when he hit the ground next, I knew he didn’t hit himself. He was just towing me around there, having a brilliant work. Then I heard it coming out of the turn. He looked after me and I looked after him.”

Once he pulled Royal Mo up, Stevens jumped off the colt around the 3/16 pole at Pimlico. Trainer John Shirreffs quickly darted out towards them from the grandstand. Bandages and a splint were put on on Royal Mo, who was then loaded onto an equine ambulance.

“He was in distress, but they had a good bandage on him and probably saved him,” said Stevens.

Tests were taken at Pimlico stakes barn, where x-rays revealed a “fracture of the right-front sesamoid.”

“There isn’t any other damage, so that’s a very good thing for him, for his life after racing,” said Shirreffs. “It’s very difficult. There were a lot of hopes and dreams with Royal Mo from Mr. and Mrs. Moss and my wife, Dottie. They were all excited to see him run, so they’re obviously devastated.”

Royal Mo was 2-2-1 and headed into the Preakness Stakes.

Royal Mo out of Preakness Following Career-Ending Injury

Royal Mo Suffers Fracture During Workout

Royal Mo, one of the contenders for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, suffered a career-ending sesamoid fracture to his right front ankle during his final work at Pimlico Race Course Sunday.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Royal Mo was transported to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania, the facility best known for treating 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro after he fractured a hind leg in the 2006 Preakness.

“The one positive side is there wasn’t any other damage to that leg, he doesn’t have a condylar or any other ligaments that were injured, just the right sesamoid,” said Shirreffs.

Shirreffs said the injury is still “devastating”, and the Maryland Veterinary Group’s Dr. Dan Dreyfuss, who attended to Royal Mo at Pimlico, added Royal Mo “is done as a racehorse. If there are no complications, from a life standpoint he should be okay”.

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens had flown in to Baltimore for Royal Mo’s workout, and said he was “relishing the track” as he raced five furlongs in company. But near the quarter pole on sloppy, off track, Stevens heard a loud “pop”. Stevens immediately hopped off Royal Mo and helped support the injured leg until first Shirreffs and then Dreyfuss arrived.

“Gary Stevens was holding up the leg and Mr. Shirreffs was there helping as well. The leg did not spend much time on the ground after they got him pulled up, which is really important,” Dreyfuss said.

Royal Mo had ankle wraps on his ankles and that those bandages helped prevent further damage. Dreyfuss tranquilized Royal Mo and then affixed a Kimzey splint to the injured limb to provide support.

Royal Mo is a big, beautiful son of Uncle Mo, who sired 2016 Kentucky Derby champion Nyquist. Royal Mo won two races in six starts including the Grade III Robert B. Lewis. He was on the also eligible-list for the Kentucky Derby, but did not draw into the race. Royal Mo’s final race was a 3rd place finish in the Santa Anita Derby.

The injury to Royal Mo means there are 10 horses committed to racing in the Preakness, and entries are due Wednesday morning with post-position draw Wednesday night.

Always Dreaming Confirmed for Preakness Stakes

After winning the 143rd Kentucky Derby (G1), Always Dreaming will now begin preparations for the 142nd Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 20 in his quest of competing for the Triple Crown.

The invitation for Always Dreaming to compete in the Preakness Stakes was officially sent to Always Dreaming’s trainer Todd Pletcher by Maryland Jockey Club President/General Manager Sal Sinatra on the morning of Saturday, May 7.

“I congratulated him on winning the race and extended him the traditional invitation to the Preakness, which he accepted,” said Sinatra. “We are thrilled to have the Derby winner and he is excited about coming. He’s going into the Preakness barn and putting Always Dreaming in stall 40, which is historically reserved for the Derby winner. He said he wanted to keep the mojo going.”

Always Dreaming, who is owned by a tandem of St. Elias Stables, MeB Racing Stables, Siena Farm, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Brooklyn Boyz Stables, will arrive at Pimlico Race Course on May 9. He will be joined by fellow Preakness contender Royal Mo.

Other notable horses who might compete in the Preakness Stakes includes Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee and Classic Empire, if he is fully healed from a right eye issue. Girvin’s connections said they’ll consider the Preakness and Belmont Stakes (G1), while Gunnevera trainer Antonio Sano said a decision to run won’t be made until it’s discussed with majority owner Solomon Del-Valle.

One horse that likely won’t make the trip to Pimlico is Irish War Cry.

“I don’t see a lot of reason to go on to the Preakness at this point,” said Irish War Cry trainer Graham Motion. “He’s had a pretty good campaign this spring, so it’s likely we’ll skip that and make a plan to point for the Haskell (Invitational Stakes, G1).”

Preakness Stakes Racing Stats and Facts

Preakness Stats and Interesting Facts

The 142nd Preakness Stakes is just over a week away and will be run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, May 20. Pimlico Race Course is the second-oldest racetrack in the country and opened on Oct. 25, 1870.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will get much of the attention in pursuit of the Triple Crown, but there are four other Derby runners taking a shot at him and seven additional ‘new shooters’ that will be fresher for the Preakness.

Kentucky Derby entrants in the Preakness Stakes

Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, Gunnevera, Hence, Lookin At Lee

New Shooters in the Preakness Stakes

Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money, Lancaster Bomber, Multiplier, Royal Mo, Senior Investment, Term of Art

Pimlico Racetrack

Here are some additional interesting facts about the Preakness Stakes as you handicap and review information for the upcoming race and second jewel of the Triple Crown.

The Preakness Stakes has not always been run at Pimlico Race Course. Over 100 years ago it was run in New York, the Bronx and also on Coney Island, NY. The Preakness was also run before the Kentucky Derby 11 times, and the current spacing of the Triple Crown races with the Preakness 2 weeks after the Kentucky Derby has been in place since 1969.

  • In the last 27 years, the Preakness was won by a horse that ran in the Kentucky Derby 24 times. Just three winners did not run in the Derby.
  • The Preakness post-time favorite has won the race 72 times in 141 runnings.
  • When looking for a big long shot in the Preakness, know this: No horse sent off at odds greater than 23-1 has ever won the Preakness Stakes. Master Derby won the Preakness at 23-1 in 1975.
  • Legendary racehorse Secretariat holds the record for running the fastest time at the Preakness Stakes, at 1:53. Secretariat, however, wasn’t officially named the record-holder until 2012 when the Maryland Racing Commission reviewed a videotape of the race and decided Secretariat’s original winning time of 1:55 was incorrect.
  • The Black-Eyed Susan Blanket, awarded to the winner of the Preakness, was first presented in 1940. The blanket measures 18 inches wide and 90 inches in length.

Now it’s up to you to figure out who will wear it as the winner of the 142nd Preakness Stakes!