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Classic Empire's table at the Alibi Breakfast.

2017 Alibi Breakfast

Date: 05/18/2017

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.

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