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The statue with the silks of last year's Preakness winner Rombauer in front of the Preakness Stakes Barn.
All nine of the Preakness horses were out on the track this morning for a gallop as well as all 13 of the Black-Eyed Susan fillies. Weather today was overcast and cool, with light drizzle early on, but the clouds were breaking up and the sun starting to show by 8:30am and it was already starting to get warm. Friday and Saturday are supposed to be clear, but the temperature will be 92 on Friday and 97 on Saturday!
|Armagnac galloped 1 3/8 miles. Trainer Tim Yakteen said, "I think he has taken to the track very nicely and he has settled in great. As a trainer, when you get to right before a race, you basically don't want any surprises. When everything is going smooth, you just want to keep it that way. You want to keep them healthy and happy, and that is what we are doing."
|Creative Minister makes his stakes debut in the Preakness. "When he ran in his maiden race at Gulfstream, it was the wrong distance," trainer Ken McPeek said. "We really were trying to get a mile and a sixteenth into him, but the race didn't fill. But his seven-eighths race was impressive. I was actually happy that he ran second. I knew that I could come back on opening week at Keeneland, and there'd be a good spot for him there going two turns. He's jumped through those two hoops pretty easily, in my opinion. He's trained well, and he's a good-doing (eating) horse and sturdy," he added. "Certainly, on the physical, you can look at him and say, 'This is a really nice horse.' … These things are wide open, and you get one opportunity."
|Early Voting galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Marino Garcia. Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown said, "It was nice, smooth like we always do. He handled the track really well. He likes it. Coming home here he reared up. I think that's pretty good. He's always like that. He's the same."
|Epicenter galloped twice around on Thursday. Trainer Steve Asmussen said, "But from what we've seen from the two days that he's been on the racetrack and his demeanor in the stall, he's been consistent. His appetite has been the same. He's cleaned up. He's been very relaxed going to the track. He's looked very lively on the racetrack, and he's cooled out very comfortably. So, I think he's settled in extremely well. But that is a variable that we were concerned about coming in."
|Fenwick galloped under exercise rider Kelton Brown. Brown said, "I backed him up about a half a mile and let him gallop around really slow and take everything in. It's a lot with all the cameras and everything. He handled everything like a champ." Trainer Kevin McKathan added, "I think he'll probably go off at 80-1, actually. It would be awesome. This is one of those deals where you can stop and take a breath and say, 'You know what? We can do this. It can happen.' Everyone is like, 'This is a sport for the rich and famous,' but let me just tell you that, if you end up with a good horse, you can beat them all. You can beat them all. That horse has no idea what he cost, no idea what kind of plane they flew in here on. If you lead the best one over there and you get the right trip, anyone can get lucky. It's one of those things."
|Happy Jack got his first look at the Pimlico Race Course surface at 6:30AM, jogging 1/2 mile and galloping 1/2 mile under exercise rider Antonio Romero. Romero said, "He felt great out there. I thought he handled the track really good." Sabas Rivera, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill added, "Nice and easy."
|Secret Oath jogged and galloped Thursday. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "The big secret of probably trying to win this thing is to read the horse, see what you've got in front of you, see what they need and don't need. With the turnaround of two weeks, the big thing is fluid levels, electrolytes, stuff like that is more important than how far we gallop. It doesn't make a lot of difference. You're just trying to get her filled up. Being a filly, she's real rangy and slight-built anyhow. She isn't tucked up. I feel pretty good about her. I actually think that she is training better these two weeks than she did the two weeks before the Oaks. Even with the trip here, it seems like she is taking a hold of it. That might be maturity and getting into the groove of what we really want to do."
|Simplification galloped 1 1/2 miles. Trainer Antonio Sano said, "I'm so happy to be at the Preakness again, to have two horses in the race in five years. I'm so proud."
|Skippylongstocking galloped once around. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said, "We just hope to be the best on the day. That's what I hope. He is training well coming into the race. He has had a good week. He is a horse that is improving. He needs to find more, obviously. It's a competitive race. Epicenter is a deserving favorite, the filly [Secret Oath] from [D. Wayne] Lukas is a good filly. Early Voting, Simplification, there are quality horses in the race." Asked about the horse's name, Joseph added, "After speaking to the owner, he said he and his childhood friend, when they were young kids, just called each other Skippy." One day, someone just said, "Skippylongstocking!" And it just stuck around. That is 25, 30 years ago now. He just decided to name a horse Skippylongstocking. A very simple reason."
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