Barbaro Updates: 858
updates are now here.
Update 5031: Update on the Paragallo abuse case: Paragallo faces two years in jail if convicted.
Update 5030: John Asher update from Churchill Downs:
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD PLAYFUL IN JOG; RACHEL ALEXANDRA
SET FOR RETURN TO THE TRACK
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 19, 2009) - After two days off and a 9 1/2-hour van ride from Baltimore, Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird returned to the track at Churchill Downs for a light jog on Tuesday.
Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine's gelded son of Birdstone had regular exercise rider Charlie Figueroa in the saddle as he headed to the track around 7:15 a.m. (all times EDT). It was Mine That Bird's first trip to the track since his runner-up finish to the Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Rachel Alexandra in Saturday's Preakness.
Trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. said Mine That Bird jogged one mile the wrong way over a "fast" surface.
"He went good, he looked good," Woolley said. "He was bucking and playing a little, so we're in good shape I think."
Woolley said Mine That Bird would on gallop on Wednesday as the Kentucky Derby winner continues his preparation for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (GI), the third jewel of racing's Triple Crown. There is no set schedule for Mine That Bird's next work.
The trainer's phone continues to ring with offers from agents of jockeys who hope to pick up the mount on Mine That Bird for the Belmont Stakes. Mike Smith, who rode Mine That Bird in the Preakness, cannot ride because of a previous commitment in California. Calvin Borel, who was aboard for his 50-1 upset in the Derby, is committed to ride Rachel Alexandra, but her status for the Belmont Stakes (GI) has not been decided by majority owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen.
Woolley said he would discuss the issue with Mine That Bird's owners and they hope to have a decision in "a couple of days."
The runner-up finish in the Preakness improved Mine That Bird's career record to 5-2-0 in 10 races and lifted his earnings to $2,011,581.
Meanwhile, Rachel Alexandra walked under Asmussen's shedrow on her second day back at Churchill Downs following her historic win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to return to training on Wednesday. Asmussen said the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro would go to the track with his second set of horses around 6:15 a.m.
Her Preakness victory marked the sixth consecutive win for Rachel Alexandra, who has a record of 8-2-0 in 11 races with earnings of $1,618,354.
Update 5029: NYRA notes for The Belmont:
BELMONT PARK NOTES
ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said this morning that a final decision will be made Wednesday on whether Charitable Man, winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan, will start in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 6.
Other possible starters for the Belmont Stakes are Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Preakness-winning filly Rachel Alexandra, Chocolate Candy, Dunkirk, Flying Private, Love Gov, Miner's Escape, Mr. Hot Stuff and Summer Bird.
"I will have a conversation with his owner (William K. Warren) and then we will make a final decision," said McLaughlin. "We are pointing that way."
In addition to his victory in the Peter Pan on May 9, Charitable Man, a son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, won both his 2008 starts including the Grade 2 Futurity, and finished seventh in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in his first start as a three-year-old.
McLaughlin said the colt will work this weekend, most likely Saturday, and again next weekend as he points towards the 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion." Jockey Alan Garcia, who won last year's Belmont aboard longshot Da' Tara, has the call.
"If Mine That Bird and/or Rachel Alexandra come back, I like our chances, having a fresh horse," said McLaughlin. "I think the right horses were 1-2 in the Preakness. It was fabulous to see the filly win, and to have the Kentucky Derby winner validate his victory at Churchill Downs. Overall, I think the industry was a big winner."
Should Charitable Man start in the Belmont Stakes, he will be trying to become the first colt since A.P. Indy in 1992 to complete the Peter Pan-Belmont double. His sire, Lemon Drop Kid, finished third in the 1999 Peter Pan.
Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman's Summer Bird arrived safely at Belmont Park this morning at approximately 5:30. The Belmont Stakes contender was third in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby, beaten a length and a quarter by Papa Clem.
"We kind of broke the trip up for him," said trainer Tim Ice. "We left Louisiana about 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, and got to Louisville (KY). He got a good 10 hours of sleep and we left Louisville around 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon. I brought his gallop boy with him, but I'll probably look for someone local to breeze him."
Ice said the son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone will likely work Saturday or Sunday on the main track after the mid-morning break. He breezed five furlongs in 1:02.00 last Friday morning on the fast track at Louisiana Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday that William Mack and Robert Baker's Flying Private, fourth behind Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness, and Marylou Whitney Stable's Luv Gov, who was eighth, were likely to start in the Belmont Stakes on June 6.
"I will be conferring with William Mack and Bob Baker and we will be making a decision in a couple of days," said Lukas, who has won the Belmont Stakes with Tabasco Cat (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Editor's Note (1996) and Commendable (2000). "As well, I have yet to sit down with Marylou Whitney Stables. Both are under strong consideration for the race."
Both Flying Private and Luv Gov returned to Churchill Downs following the Preakness.
Lukas has not had a Belmont Stakes starter since A.P. Arrow ran fifth in 2005 to Afleet Alex.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out some of his stable stars on the main track on Monday morning.
Let's Go Stable's Ready's Echo, prepping for Monday's Memorial Day feature, the 116th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap at a mile, breezed a half-mile on the fast main track in 47.82
The fastest time of 63 runners at that distance on Monday morning was recorded by Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor's Dunkirk, who went in 47.24, breezing. The Florida Derby runner-up to Quality Road, who was 11th in the Kentucky Derby, is being pointed toward the 141st running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes. The 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion" for three-year-olds at a mile and a half will be Saturday, June 6.
Munnings worked in company with Dunkirk.
Craig Family Trust's Chocolate Candy, also expected for the Belmont Stakes, worked six furlongs in 1:13.44, breezing on the fast main track on Monday morning under jockey Garrett Gomez.
"(Gomez and agent Ron Anderson) are undecided as to who they will ride, but they have first choice on Chocolate Candy," said Hollendorfer, who came in for the workout and headed right back to California. "He galloped out in (27.20) and he really seems to like the track. He's super fit, and I have been hard on him this year. I gave him nine days out after the Kentucky Derby and I think I'll keep him on a seven-day work schedule leading up to the Belmont Stakes."
The Candy Ride colt, whose dam, Crownette, is a daughter of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seatttle Slew, was second by a length to Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April, then ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
New York fans will remember Hollendorfer, as the trainer of rap singer M.C. Hammer's Lite Light back in 1991.
Lite Light's rivalry with champion Meadow Star was one of the great ones in the sport's history. Meadow Star won their first meeting in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, Fillies at Belmont Park. At 3, Lite Light came to Belmont Park to rematch Meadow Star in the Grade 1 Mother Goose. Hall of Famer Leroy Jolley, who trained Meadow Star, deemed the race "The Mother of All Gooses," and Meadow Star won in a photo-finish so tight that it took officials six minutes to determine the winner.
Lite Light came back for an authoritative victory in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, setting a stakes record (2:00) for the race which was then run at a mile and a quarter.
Update 5028: Superfecta here, with your regular weekly update.
Like Val, I believe that this year's thrilling Preakness result was the best the sport could have possibly hoped for; even before the race, I had colleagues and friends who otherwise never notice racing asking me about 'the filly and the Derby horse' - and even asking me to take money to Pimlico to bet on Rachel Alexandra for them.
I am still very glad I had the good fortune (for that's certainly all it was at the time) to bet an Oaks/Derby exacta and was ecstatic about the outcome of the race, not just for Rachel Alexandra and the vindicated Mine That Bird, but also for hard-knocking Musket Man who finished third again (and rewarded me with a second show bet on him). While the Belmont distance is clearly not his cup of tea, he should be very interesting to watch later in the season - the Haskell is his next probable start.
Whether Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird will meet again in the Belmont remains to be seen (and while I definitely want a rematch, I'd be equally content to wait for the Travers if that's a better spot for both - I think the Belmont is going to be a great race even if only one of them is there), but there has been no shortage of drama in the jockey department for Mine That Bird. Mike Smith has a prior commitment in California on Belmont day, and it's possible Calvin Borel will get the mount back on Mine That Bird if Rachel Alexandra bypasses the race. There's much speculation in the Twitterverse that perhaps the vacancy might be reclaimed by his previous jockey, Chantal Sutherland - Animal Planet would certainly be pleased about that.
And in case you were wondering why Mike Smith is skipping a classic to run in the Whittingham, Green But Game has it right - he's keeping a good relationship going with Team Zenyatta. Speaking of Zenyatta, she fired off a reminder to everyone that she's ready to roll, working a bullet on Preakness eve. She is aiming to be the first repeat winner of the Milady since Azeri (who foaled a Ghostzapper filly on Sunday) - and one hopes we will see her take on Rachel Alexandra down the line. I hope Zenyatta goes against the boys at some point as well - she would be well-matched against another big, dark horse like Einstein, but the sight of her next to little Mine That Bird would be a treat unto itself.
It's still a long way away at this point, but we already have all the ingredients for a fantastic Breeders' Cup - let's hope everyone stays happy, healthy and in training.
Update 5027: An easy morning's work for me this morning at Woodbine as I only had three to gallop. All galloped very nicely. We had a bunch of horses working so I spent the remainder of the morning helping out with that and going up to watch them work. And they all seemed to work well. A very uneventful day under pretty decent weather.
Update 5026: Alex Brown Racing's weekly Facebook e-mail: Rachel Alexandra, Mine That Bird, Chantal Sutherland, Belmont Media Credential ?, Nicanor, OLEX, Hooh Why, it begins:
By now, unless you have been hidden under a rock, you know the result of the Preakness Stakes and you know it was a terrific day for horse racing! Rachel Alexandra defeated Mine That Bird by a rapidly diminishing margin. Musket Man was third. Both Rachel and Mine That Bird justified their lofty reputations. Or at least Rachel justified her reputation and Mine That Bird proved to all his naysayers that his terrific Derby performance was no fluke. An assumption many people had made and was clearly illustrated by the number of Derby horses who came back to take him on in The Preakness.
You can follow morning updates through training hours on twitter: AlexBrownRacing.
And please keep calling.