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 a blessing given by a local Roman Catholic Church leader. This year Adam Parker, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, asked for good weather and safe racing.
Always Dreaming was represented by owners Anthony Bonomo and Vincent Viola of Brookly BOyz, owner Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds, and trainer Todd Pletcher. Bonomo said, "This was our dream so in order to realize it was fantastic. I have the easiest job, I just write the checks. It's a team that wins races. (During the Derby stretch run) I was staring at the big screen, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was amazing. There are 10 great horses and 10 great trainers in this race and we respect all of them. I've been fortunate to get to know Todd outside the track, Todd the person." Viola said, "I wish every $2 bettor, and we all started as $2 bettors, could experience a fraction of what we did when we won the Derby. It's a big responsibility to own horses and such a privilege." Pletcher said, "Coming to Pimlico the people here are very kind, very accomodating, I don't think anywhere does a better job welcoming horsemen, the owners, the crowd. One of the benefits of being a trainer is you get to meet a lot of great people. These (owners) are special guys, they've accomplished a lot, so it's been great listening to some of their ideas. The horse is settling in very well and we have him where we want him. Getting here a week early is beneficial. I was happy for Johnny when he won on Animal Kingdom but we've won 1600 races together so winning the Derby together was something that we felt should happen. I never want to be overconfident."
Gunnevera was represented by trainer Antonio Sano and his son, assistant Alex Sano who is studying to be an equine veterinarian. Alex said, "It's been a really terrific journey. My dad knew the horse was a champion since the day he got to the barn. When we ran him in a stakes he looked at me and said 'Son, we're going to the Kentucky Derby this year.' and I replied 'Sure dad...' I'm proud of my dad and his hard work and I'm looking forward to Saturday. Thank God we made it this far. Horse is in top condition, he's at the top of his game, we're lucky to be at this level. Todd Pletcher, Mark and Norman Casse, they've all been good to us, good people, and they have top horses in the race. We're very happy to get Big Money Mike (Smith) to ride for us."
Conquest Mo Money was represented by owner Tom McKenna of Judge Lanier Stable. The stable is named after his grandfather. McKenna said, "It's fantastic, we're honored to be here. We are a team, everybody at this table. Jorge (Carreno) the jockey, Miguel (Hernandez, trainer), Dusty... We're all associated with the horse and we all do it as a team. I'd like to see a lot more people get into this business, that's what we need. We need more owners, we need to drive this business. Everybody, every $2 bettor out there, get a race horse. Doesn't cost a whole lot, it's the best investment to make. Well, you'll lose a little bit... but let's get involved in the sport. Go to TOBA.org and they'll get you into the business." When asked if he remembered the first race he saw with his grandfather, he said, "I don't remember the first horserace I saw with my grandfather, but I remember the first time he put me on a quarter horse! It was a race for senior jockeys and it was a 440 (yards) and I was scared to death, it was a thrill ride! I think I was 5th or 6th but I was scared to death!"
Unfortunately, many of the horsemen did not attend the breakfast this year, and many of the entrant's tables were like this. MC Keith Mills said that paddock schooling was taking place at the same time which probably contributed.
The Woodlawn Vase was on display as usual, but the saddle cloths for the Alibi Breakfast were on the tables for each horse this year instead of laid out next to the trophy.
Triple Crown quick links:
2017 Belmont Stakes Entries - A field of 12 was entered for the Belmont Stakes with Irish War Cry the lukewarm favorite at 7-2. Get all the horses, post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
Analyzing the Belmont Stakes Contenders - Our annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Belmont winner. This year the top two are clear with a 5-way tie for third spot.
Cloud Computing wins the Preakness (G1) - Cloud Computing pressed the pace and got up to win the 2017 Preakness (G1) by a head over Classic Empire with Senior Investment third. Favorite Always Dreaming faded to 8th. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Preakness Undercard Stakes Results - There were 7 other stakes on Preakness day, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) on the turf won by World Approval, the Gallorette (G3) won by Cambodia, and the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3) won by Whitmore. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 7 races here.
Black-Eyed Susan Day Results - Actress broke her maiden in the mud to win the 2017 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico on Friday. There were 6 other stakes on the card including the Pimlico Special (G3) won by Shaman Ghost, the Allaire Dupont Distaff (G3) won by Terra Promessa, and the Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) won by Vertical Oak. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 7 races here.
Thursday Preakness Photos - Two photos each and comments for all 10 Preakness horses from Thursday morning at Pimlico. Everyone galloped today since training ends early Friday.
2017 Alibi Breakfast - The traditional Alibi Breakfast was held on Thursday May 18, before the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes. Connections of some of the 10 Preakness entrants were on hand to swap stories about their horse as well as watch the presentation of the annual awards.
2017 Preakness Entries - A field of 10 was entered for the 142nd Preakness on Saturday, with Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming drawing post 4 as the 4-5 favorite. Classic Empire is second choice at 3-1 from post 5. Get the horses, posts, odds, and free past performances here.
Wednesday Preakness Photos - Two photos each and comments for all the Preakness horses from Wednesday afternoon at Pimlico, except Multiplier who arrived late yesterday.
Tuesday Preakness Photos - Photos and comments for seven of the Preakness horses from Tuesday afternoon at Pimlico, including Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, and five others who arrived today.
Preakness Entry Rules - the field is limited to 14 starters, here is how they determine the order of preference if more than that enter.
Preakness Infield - After the massive tightening of the rules which resulted in a huge drop in attendance in 2009, things have relaxed slightly and you can buy a special "all you can drink beer" Mug Club ticket now.
Preakness Traditions - Black-eyed Susans to the winner, the Woodlawn Vase trophy, the Alibi Breakfast, painting the weather vane, and more.
Always Dreaming romps in the 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) - Favorite Always Dreaming led most of the way to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 3/4 lengths in the slop at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Longshots Lookin at Lee and Battle of Midway finished second and third. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Derby Undercard Stakes Results - There were 6 other stakes on the card today with the Derby, including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by Divisidero, the Humana Distaff (G1) won by Paulassilverlining, the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) won by Roca Rojo, the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) won by Limousine Liberal, the American Turf (G2) won by Arklow, and the Pat Day Mile (G3) won by Wild Shot. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Abel Tasman wins the 2017 Kentucky Oaks (G1) - Abel Tasman came from last early on to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1) by 1 1/4 lengths in the slop at Churchill Downs on Friday. Daddys Lil Darling was second and Lockdown was 3rd while favorite Paradise Woods faded to 11th. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks Undercard Stakes Results - There were 5 other stakes on the card today with the Oaks, including the La Troienne (G1) won by Big World, the Alysheba (G2) won by Bird Song, the Eight Belles (G2) won by Benner Island, the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) won by Green Mask, and the Edgewood Stakes (G3) won by La Coronel. Get the results, charts, and photos here.