Belmont Stakes Contenders
Black-Eyed Susan Day
Preakness Thursday Photos
Andromeda's Hero, who will run in the William
Donald Schaefer Handicap on Saturday,
comes out of the stakes barn for a gallop.
This year is a bit quieter than usual, with only three of the Preakness horses currently on the grounds, but all of them were out this morning to stretch their legs and get a feel for the racing surface. This was also the day for the traditional Alibi Breakfast where the trainers of the horses get to make their excuses for Saturday and have a little fun.
Platinum Couple, whose dam Ingot's Dance Away is a half-sister to Skip Away, also jogged around the track today. He was the first to arrive at Pimlico and the only horses in the stakes barn on Wednesday. One of his owners and the son of trainer Joe Lostritto, Glenn, said "It's like a dream come true. For all my dadís been through, just for him to put the saddle on that horse on Saturday will be one of my happiest days."
Brother Derek arrived at Pimlico on Wednesday afternoon about 2:30 and today he got his first jog over the track. "He bounced out of the Derby fine. We came in with a fresh horse, and it seems to be working," trainer Dan Hendricks said. "He's full of himself this morning, bouncing around real good. He handled the track and everything went real well."
Hemingway's Key also took his first trip over the Pimlico surface this morning. Trainer Nick Zito said, "Letís put it this way, if he doesn't show something Saturday, then he might have to be gelded. Maybe he'd be better off. That's the last thing I want to do because I know he's got much more ability than heís showing."
In The Gold, who will be one of the favorites in the Allaire DuPont Breeders' Cup Distaff, was another of trainer Nick Zito's horses who was out this morning. She was second in the Kentucky Oaks last year and won the Gazelle at Saratoga.
The Preakness saddlecloths for favorites Brother Derek, Barbaro, and Sweetnorthernsaint on display at the Alibi Breakfast on Thursday morning.
Brother Derek's trainer Dan Hendricks at the Alibi Breakfast. He said, "The Kentucky Derby answered a lot of questions. He could come from behind, he could take dirt, have a troubled trip and still run his race. He never quit trying. We knew going in we were going to have a problem with the outside post but he overcame much adversity. This time he just has to run a mile and 3/16."
Sweetnorthernsaint's trainer Mike Trombetta at the Alibi Breakfast. He said, "It's real exciting, we're glad to be here with everybody. I was shocked to drop down to favorite at post time (in the Derby), I never figured that out." Asked about his horse's chances, "It's a tough task (to beat Barbaro), he's training well and we're looking forward to the opportunity. Kent (Desormeaux) is great, knows his way around here."
Like Now's trainer Kiaran McLaughlin at the post position drawn on Wednesday evening. At the Alibi Breakfast he said that he skipped the Derby because of "the two weeks (before the Preakness), he's a gelding so we thought we could find an easier spot than the 20-horse field of the Kentucky Derby. I don't know if it'll be easier, but less trouble anyway. We hope that (Barbaro) bounces, and we're coming off of 4 weeks. We drew the inside so we hope to beat the other speed horses to the first turn."
Miss Preakness, Cheryl Gill, with the Woodlawn Vase. The Woodlawn Vase is the permanent Preakness trophy and the most valuable trophy in sports, worth over $1 million. The silver trophy is 34 inches tall, weighs almost 30 pounds, and was created by Tiffany and Company in 1860. The winner gets a smaller sterling silver replica to keep.
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