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The blanket for the Preakness winner was on display at the Alibi Breakfast.
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  • 2016 Alibi Breakfast

    Date: 05/19/2016

    The Alibi Breakfast is a Pimlico tradition that dates back to the 1930's. On the porch of the historic Clubhouse, owners, trainers, and press would discuss the horses over coffee each morning during training hours. Some of the greatest tales of racing ever to reach print were told those mornings. The tradition of the Preakness Alibi Breakfast started in the 1940's, a chance for the connections of Preakness entrants to solicit interesting and often colorful race predictions. Hosted by Baltimore radio personalities Scott Garceau and Keith Mills, the event not only allows each trainer to be interviewed in a relaxed atmosphere, but also for the Maryland Jockey Club to present awards to members of the media and others who have made significant contributions to the local racing industry.

    One tradition is the Archbishop of Baltimore, currently William E. Lori, gives the race his blessing and prays for nice weather on race day. Given the forecasted rain this was welcome. In addition he said he's not feeling a "Triple Crown vibe" this year, perhaps jinxing the chances of Nyquist?

    Nyquist was represented at the breakfast by trainer Doug O'Neill and owner Paul Reddam. Asked if he would be going to bed early the evening before the Preakness as the horses do, O'Neill joked "We go to bed early too. We're athletes! American Pharoah did a wonderful job. Those are big shoes to fill, but Nyquist can fill them if we’re as fortunate to do as much as American Pharoah. It would be wonderful if he could fill those shoes and carry the torch forward.”

    Cherry Wine was represented by trainer Dale Romans, accompanied by his assistant and wife Tammy Fox (left). Romans said he would be one of the few people at Pimlico doing the "rain dance". Cherry Wine broke his maiden over a sloppy Churchill Downs track in November, a race that was scheduled for turf.

    Uncle Lino was represented by trainer Gary Sherlock, who said, “He’s improved a lot mentally. He’s not crazy, but he’s been like a little kid, wanting to go, go, go all the time. Now he drops his head when he does his work.”

    Exaggerator was represented by trainer Keith Desormeaux, who said, "With our (closing) running style (post 5) inconsequential. (Jockey and younger brother Kent Desormeaux) is going to take back or get him to relax right out of the gate, so it really doesn’t matter. Being that Nyquist is speed-oriented, he’ll probably get pressed from the outside, which may make him go a little bit faster. I guess that’s tactically advantageous to us.”

    Lani was represented by trainer Mikio Matsunaga (left) who spoke through an interpreter. He said, "It was a very big deal for me to have a runner in the Kentucky Derby. This horse has been a challenge for me as a trainer (because he is fractious in the gate). We've worked on those issues a lot at Belmont Park and we hope they are rectified in time for the Preakness."
    Collected was represented by Bob Baffert, who complained that the fried chicken which had been on the menu for previous breakfasts, was missing this year. He said "We started him on the grass and I thought he ran better on the (Del Mar) oval than down the (Santa Anita) hill. He didn't like the wet track in the Southwest, ran 4th, so we thought about going back on grass but ran really well at Sunland, since we didn't think anybody would show up for that race. So after he won the Lexington we thought to take a shot at the Preakness with a fresh horse. Nyquist, you can't knock him." Baffert was also on hand with Justin Zayat to receive a Special Award of Merit for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

    Abiding Star was represented by trainer Ned Allard, who said, "We'll find out how tough he is on Saturday. Doesn't look like he wants a fast track, he wants some mud so we're hoping for rain."

    The Preakness trophy was on display along with the custom painted plates and special Alibi Breakfast saddle cloths for each of the Preakness horses.

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