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Preakness Thursday Photos


Shackleford poses for the fans at Pimlico Thursday morning.
Date: 05/19/2011

Nine of the 14 Preakness entrants are at the stakes barn at Pimlico, and all of them went out on the main track for either a gallop or a jog around the muddy main track. It was warm and very humid, with a bit of fog at times and a few sprinkles by the end of the morning with more rain expected in the afternoon. Morning line favorite and Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is still at Fair Hill training center and will ship in on Saturday morning.

• Preakness Entries
• Alibi Breakfast
• Preakness Analysis - trying to pick a winner


Dialed In galloped 1 1/2 miles over the muddy track through fog under exercise rider Stacy Pryor. Trainer Nick Zito said of his disappointing Derby finish as the favorite, "It was the greatest eighth-place finish you'll ever see. You don't get anything for that. But when you look at the way he closed, in any kind of a normal race, he would have been right there. But we didn't get anything. This is his style of running. He loves what he's doing and we're not going to change it. We just have to hope for a decent pace, just a normal pace," Zito said. "When I say a normal pace, I mean not :48 and 1:13."

Shackleford joggged 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Faustino Ramos. Trainer Dale Romans said, "He just bounced around over it. He's worked on wet tracks before. It was fine. I'm sure we're not going to get the same pace scenario we got in the Derby (1:13 2/5 for 3/4) with Flashpoint and a couple others in the race, but 1 3/16 should be right up his alley."

Mucho Macho Man galloped twice around and schooled in the starting gate on Thursday. Trainer Kathy Ritvo said, "He's one of the easiest horses to gallop, everyone tells me. All my riders say it's unbelievable how good he is. If you want him to go, he'll go. If you don't, he'll fall asleep galloping. He'll be just like a pony. He doesn't waste a lot of energy. I think that's why he's a good horse."

Midnight Interlude was sent out to the track by trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert said, "We had a loaded gun (in the Derby) but apparently we didn't have any powder. I think he just lost interest. It was really unexplainable. I was very puzzled with the effort. He broke well, he was right there and then he got shuffled back down and was off the pace. He's used to running up close in the clear. He's still green. Martin needs to put him in the race, keep him on the bit and give him a chance to be there. He will keep going, but he didn't like being taken back." Martin Garcia gets the call on Saturday.

Astrology galloped on the muddy track for trainer Steve Asmussen. Co-owner George Bolton said, "It was the equivalent of the flu in a human being. It was not a cold. He was sick and we lost a month due to it. So we had to kind of backtrack. He had had five starts, so no one panicked about being kind of behind the 8-ball, but then it looked like he wasn't going to get the number of starts he needed to go to Churchill Downs, so it was a fairly easy decision to skip (the Derby). He ran well enough in the Jerome. He was pinned on the rail and lost a little ground going around the turn, it was very muddy, and he came flying at the end. They thought it was a good enough effort to keep going, not to backtrack, but to take another shot going forward with him. That's why we're here." Mike Smith will be in the irons for the Preakness.

Dance City went out onto the track Thursday morning and galloped 1 1/4 miles and visited the starting gate. Trainer Todd Pletcher said of post 8, "Everything went smoothly. We're optimistic. The horse has always run well. He's always run competitively. Obviously, he's had a little bit of spacing between the races. He's trained well, and I think the Arkansas Derby has shown to be one of the key preps. I like the post position (8) and on paper I like the way the race shapes up." Ramon Dominguez will be aboard for late owner Edward P. Evans.

Flashpoint was one of the last horses to take to the track on Thursday morning. Trainer Wesley Ward said, "He just got a little feel for the track. It's definitely got tight turns, so I really do believe it favors speed, and that's an advantage to us. The best horse is going to win most of the time, but this race historically has had an advantage to horses that kind of get the rail and race forwardly."

Mr. Commons jogged twice around the muddy track. Victor Espinoza, who last won the Preakness aboard War Emblem in 2002, will be in the irons for trainer John Shirreffs and owner St. George Farm Racing LLC. Owner Ian Banwell said, "John is one of the great trainers in the world. What he has conveyed to us is that the horse trains every day on the dirt and he has never seen him not like the surface. It's really sort of his home surface. We had him on the grass one time and he clearly looks like he likes grass, but maybe he's just one of these versatile horses."

Sway Away went out for a gallop Thursday morning under assistant trainer Miguel Carranza. Racing manager Mersad Metanovic said, "("I think it's going to be a complete opposite of the Derby. I believe there's plenty of speed. I think there will be a lot of pressure on the jockeys to actually ride their horses and put them in the race early. I think it's going to be a complete opposite of the Derby. I believe there's plenty of speed. I think there will be a lot of pressure on the jockeys to actually ride their horses and put them in the race early."
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