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Trainer D. Wayne Lukas and his Preakness filly Secret Oath on Wednesday morning
All the Preakness horses and Black-Eyed Susan fillies are at Pimlico now and many were out on the track this morning. Weather today was beautiful and cool, but is supposed to get hotter for the weekend with temperatures pushing in to the 90's with only a tiny chance of rain.
|Armagnac galloped about 1 mile after flying in from California on Tuesday. Trainer Tim Yakteen said, "Just an easy gallop. He traveled well. He looked good out there. They all look good out there. We were able to drop him down in competition and just get him set up with a field that would be sort of a confidence booster for him. I think we accomplished that. He broke away with a clean break and got into a nice little rhythm." Asked about the pace scenario Yakteen added, "I can't give you my secrets here. I've got to keep something to ourselves,"
|Creative Minister galloped twice around under exercise rider Danny Ramsey. Ramsey said, "He was jumping around. I walked him this morning because he was feeling so good. I walked him 35, close to 40 minutes. I thought that would settle him down a bit. And bam. He started jumping and feeling good, so I said to the groom, 'Let's put the saddle on him and take him to the track.' It's typical of him. I gallop him at Churchill, and he's jumping around and feeling good. I thought the trip might have settled him down a little bit. The trip didn't take anything out of him."
|Early Voting galloped under exercise rider Marino Garcia at 8:30AM after the renovation break. Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown said, "He galloped a mile and a quarter. I was really happy with him coming home. He likes it here, so he's in good shape. He's moved forward from the Wood. He got the time off. He's in good shape."
|Epicenter jogged 1 mile after vanning in Tuesday. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said, "He's traveling really well. It seems like his energy level is good. He's bounced out of the Derby with relative ease and made the ship fine. Just trying to get settled in and get our schooling done and run Saturday. He's extremely talented. We're lucky to have him. He's been very consistent in his training, very workmanlike, shows up and does his job. That's the great thing about horses like that, the consistency of them." He will school in the starting gate and paddock on Thursday.
|Fenwick shipped in overnight, arriving Wednesday morning. Trainer Kevin McKathan said, "I've always considered I've been training [all along]. It's just that this is an opportunity that presented itself. It's kind of like, 'If we're going to run, and we're going to try to run in a Triple Crown race, why not run him in my own name instead of just putting someone on the program that I send him to?' You know, that is a big deal for me. Am I going to have 40 horses at Belmont? No. Am I going to have a barn in Saratoga? No. I'm going to continue to do what I do. But to have an opportunity to take one of these babies all the way and see it through, good, bad or ugly, it's kind of neat to be a part of it."
|Happy Jack had a rest day Wednesday after vanning overnight from Churchill Downs. Sabas Rivera, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill said, "He is tired right now. He is taking a little siesta. He is a good shipper. He doesn't really care about anything. It doesn't bother him if he's here or there. Just nice and quiet."
|Secret Oath galloped twice around on Wednesday. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "Absolutely, it would be sweet (to win another Preakness). That's why we're here. Filly. Colt. Government mule. I don't care. I'm here to win the thing." Secret Oath is Lukas' record-extending 46th Preakness starter.
|Simplification galloped 1 1/2 miles on Wednesday. Alex Sano, assistant to his father Antonio said, "Before I went to veterinary school, I used to see a horse and say, 'It looks pretty,' Now, I see a horse inside and out. I see the ligaments, the tendons, the bones, the muscles – the anatomy and how everything works. That for me is priceless. Knowing the mechanics of how a horse functions is awesome. It's like watching a movie that never ends. I'm so proud of my father and his success"
|Skippylongstocking galloped twice around. Washonn Rochester, assistant to trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said, "Skippy has been improving as each race goes by. He likes the distance. He's growing into himself. He's becoming more mature and classy as he gets along. I think he'll run a great race in the Preakness. (Joseph has) been teaching me a lot. When I started working for him, I didn't know how to put a halter on. Saffie was my neighbor in Barbados when I was 9, 10, and he'd invite me to go watch the races," Rochester said. "A couple years after that I moved to North Carolina and went to high school. After I graduated, one day Saffie gave me a call and said 'Hey, what are you doing?'"
Adare Manor is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and will break from post 10 under John Velazquez. She was the winner of the Las Virgenes Stakes (G3) by 13 lengths for trainer Bob Baffert and second by a neck in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) for Tim Yakteen. Since that race he was transferred again to new trainer Sean McCarthy, best known as the trainer of Grade 1 winner Majestic Harbor.
Distinctlypossible ran second in both her starts as a 2-year-old including the Alcibiades (G1) last October at Keeneland. The daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin has raced once this year, graduating by 1 1/4 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race April 10 at Keeneland. "She's a lightly-raced horse that we got a little bit of a late start with this year. She was a little sick over the winter and I was really trying to get her on the Oaks trail and she just ran out of time. She's a really talented horse, and I'm looking forward to bringing her," trainer Chad Brown said. "This seems like a nice spot to keep her around two turns." Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call aboard the 8-1 shot from Post 7.
Divine Huntress galloped at Pimlico after breezing twice at Fair Hill Training Center. Trainer Graham Motion said, "I was actually quite pleased with the Gazelle coming off the race in New Orleans, which was quite disappointing," Motion said. "It was kind of an odd race where a horse [La Crete] got hurt in front of her, unfortunately. It seemed like [Divine Huntress] got a little bit off track and just didn't finish up at all. I thought that she ran a much more professional race in the Gazelle and I want to give her another try at this level." Flavien Prat rides the 15-1 shot from the inside post 1.
Favor was a two-time winner going a mile at Gulfstream Park over the winter before being stepped up to stakes company for her most recent start, the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), where she ran third behind champion Echo Zulu, beaten 2 ¼ lengths. She trained in South Florida through April before returning to Belmont Park and rejoining Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher. Favor drew Post 12 at 8-1 morning line with jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
Interstatedaydream enters the Black-Eyed Susan having run third to Nest in the Ashland (G1) after setting the pace. "She's doing great," trainer Brad Cox said. "She had a good breeze this past weekend, and we'll see how it goes. It's a nice spot – 3-year-old fillies going long on the dirt. Some of the top-notch fillies obviously ran last weekend. Hopefully she can become a graded-stakes winner." Florent Geroux rides from Post 9.
Midnight Stroll takes a two-race win streak into the Black-Eyed Susan, both victories coming over the winter at Tampa Bay Downs. She broke her maiden going a mile and 70 yards Feb. 26, then came back to capture the seven-furlong Sophomore Fillies against fellow Florida-breds March 27. "She had a great winter down there," trainer John Terranova said. "She ran really well last time and came out of it really well, and we've had this race in mind ever since. She's just a nice filly." Hall of Famer Javier Castellano gets the call on the 15-1 shot from Post 4.
Missy Greer began her career with two turf starts at 2 last fall, and also spent the winter in Florida. She finished third in a Feb. 13 maiden special weight before graduating by 5 1/4 lengths in a similar spot March 23, each going a mile at Gulfstream. She relocated in May to trainer Danny Gargan's string in Saratoga, where she has been training. The 20-1 shot will break from Post 2 with Luis Saez.
Miss Yearwood will be trying stakes company for the first time after beating older horses in a 1 ¼-mile maiden special weight April 30 at Churchill Downs, her fourth career start. The Will Take Charge filly tuned up for the Black-Eyed Susan with a bullet five-furlong work in 58.80 seconds May 13, the fastest of 28 horses. Jockey Julien Leparoux rides the 20-1 shot from Post 3.
Radio Days will be taking a third shot at becoming a graded-stakes winner. "I thought in the race at Aqueduct she laid up a little too close," said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. "The idea was to get her back and she ran a really good race at Keeneland. She just ran into a horse she couldn't beat. We'll see how good she is. We are looking forward to getting her stretched out and seeing what happens." Joel Rosario returns aboard the 12-1 shot from Post 11.
There was a fox in the final turn early Wednesday morning and another in the infield. He ran off the track when Secret Oath came around.
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