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Justify Triple Crown Gear



The Preakness trophy at the Alibi Breakfast.

2019 Alibi Breakfast

Date: 05/16/2019

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 Rev. Matthew Buening for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, asked for good weather and safe racing, saying "May half of our stories be true and may one of us be right in our predictions. We thank you in advance for good weather."

Bob Ehalt received the David F. Woods Award for excellence in journalism for his article "Baffert and the Triple Crown: Two out of Three Ain’t Bad? It’s Unprecedented". “It is truly an honor to be presented with this highly respected award and be included among so many great and talented recipients,” Ehalt said. “I’m thankful to Pimlico and the Maryland Jockey Club for their continued support of this award that honors David F. Woods and recognizes the tremendous efforts of the journalists who cover this historic event.”

Steve Byk was the Old Hilltop Award winner. His eponymous "At the Races with Steve Byk" is racing's only national daily news and talk show. He also created Dee Tee Stables, a racing club to attract new owners at minimal cost. Byk said, "I can’t leave this podium without saying, this race belongs on these grounds, forever. The Maryland breeder and ownership community sustained racing here through a very difficult period of time. Really call upon them to work with the city, the state, The Stronach Group, Park Heights Renaissance. People have tried to marginalize our industry, the people in this neighborhood have been marginalized. We should work together and build a new Hilltop.”

Steve Heuertz received the Jerry Frutkoff Photography Award for his photo of eventual Triple Crown winner Justify jumping a puddle while racing in front of the grandstand in last year's Preakness. Heuertz is based in Chicago and regularly covers Arlington and Hawthorne as well as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup.

War of Will was represented by trainer Mark Casse. Asked to compare War of Will with Tepin, he said, “She would just get it done. She wasn’t real fluid on the track. She would trip, nearly fall, give me a heart attack half the time. But him, he just skips along. He doesn’t get tired. He has extremely quick turn of foot when you ask it.”
Improbable was represented by co-owner Jack Wolf of Starlight Racing. Wolf said, "Very exciting. This is more like a party -- not the pressure of the Derby on you. This seems to be the most fun place. The Preakness would not be the Preakness if it weren't run here. Other track improvements -- I guess I'd be more of a traditionalist."
Market King was represented by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He admitted that he likes the atmosphere at Pimlico so much he needed a horse to get in. Market King will be his record 44th starter. "I had to have an excuse. I looked down the shed row and said, 'He's probably the best excuse I've got.' I didn't have anything that can really run. I thought, 'I'll take him; he's pretty, he's got breeding.' [...] My biggest concern is if he can get 1 3/16. He's got a little speed and he'll get into it early. Bob (Baffert) and I and Mark Casse have won 13 Preaknesses between us. Bob's got 7, I've got 6, Mark's trying to get one. Between my rider Jon Court and myself we have 141 years of experience." Asked about his first Preakness win, when Codex upset Derby-winning filly Genuine Risk he said, "We had half the population of America against me. As soon as we beat the filly all the women in America hated me." Asked what would be a good crowd Saturday he said "If they get 100,000 here, 90% of them are not coming for the race. They're here for the block party out there (infield), they don't care about the race we're running. We get a lot of cameraderie here that you don't get at the Derby. We share a locker room, so to speak. There's a warmth here, the hospitality is second to none."
Alwaysmining was represented owners Greg and Caroline Bentley of Runnymede Racing LLC. Greg said, "This is the place to be. It all starts here in Maryland for our story with Alwaysmining. We are in the middle of it now and enjoying it a great deal."

Signalman was represented trainer Ken McPeek and his wife Sherri who he introduced as his favorite owner. Asked about the race moving to Laurel, McPeek said, "Certainly nothing I can control. If they move it, they move it -- upgrade and make it even better." Sherry added, "It would be like the Derby leaving Louisville." The horse was named for the breeder who was a signalman in the Navy, and took into account the sire General Quarters. Asked for an excuse if his horse loses, McPeek quipped "He hadn't run in 6 weeks so he needed the race!"

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