Dance City Sharp in Preakness Work; Nehro, Astrology Could Work Monday

May 25, 2011 Gary Yunt and Travers Manley

The Estate of Edward P Evans’ Dance City, working in company with Gulfstream Park allowance winner Escort, breezed five furlongs Sunday over a track labeled as “good” in 1:00.20 with exercise rider Fernando Espinoza up.

            Working after the morning renovation break, Dance City spotted Escort a half-length at the outset of the work and finished five lengths in front while producing fractions of :11.80, :23.20, :34.80, :46.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.

            Mike McCarthy, trainer Todd Pletcher’s Churchill Downs assistant, waited until after the renovation break for the work that was the fastest of 20 at the distance for the morning.

            “We waited on purpose because we wanted a harrowed track,” McCarthy said of Dance City’s third work at Churchill Downs since finishing third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start.

            McCarthy was with Dance City this winter in South Florida and has been with the colt for the past four weeks in Louisville.

            “I like what I see from him here and I was very pleased with his work today,” said McCarthy of Dance City, who worked five furlongs last Sunday with Praetereo, the 11th-place finisher in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland who is scheduled to run in Sunday’s ninth race at Churchill Downs.

            A further boost to Dance City’s Preakness prospects came Saturday at Belmont Park when Alternation won the Peter Pan (G2) in his first start since the Arkansas Derby. Alternation had finished 4 ½ lengths behind Dance City, who in turn was 1 ½ lengths behind Nehro, the Kentucky Derby runner-up.

            “The Arkansas Derby has turned out to be a very live race,” McCarthy said.

WEATHER HOLDS KEY TO MONDAY WORK FOR NEHRO, ASTROLOGY — Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology and Zayat Stables’ Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) runner-up Nehro, candidates for Saturday’s Preakness (GI) trained by Steve Asmussen, both galloped two miles on Sunday at Churchill Downs prior to the morning renovation break.

        Both colts are scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday with weather being the major factor in determining which day those works will occur.  Rain is in the forecast for Louisville for the next 24 hours, including a 60 percent chance of showers Monday morning.

It was a quiet morning for the remainder of the Preakness probables and possibles at Churchill Downs.

            Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, eighth as the favorite in Kentucky Derby 137, galloped a mile and a half early Sunday morning over a “muddy” track with exercise rider Carlos Correa up.

             Arnold Zetcher’s Midnight Interlude galloped a mile and five-eighths underPeter Hutton before the morning renovation break. Trainer Bob Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Louisville tonight and be at the track Monday to oversee the morning activity of the 16th-place Kentucky Derby finisher.

         Also before the break, Fog City Stable and George Bolton’s The Factor jogged under Hutton. The Factor, headed to the Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park on June 11, is scheduled to work at 6:30 Monday morning under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’sSway Away walked the shedrow at Barn 42 a day after working six furlongs in 1:13.60. Trained by Jeff Bonde, Sway Away is scheduled to walk again Monday, go to the track Tuesday and then ship to Baltimore on Wednesday.

             Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby after setting the pace, had a scheduled walk day at trainer Dale Romans’ barn.

            Working just as the track opened at 6 a.m. was Robert Baker and William Mack’s Saratoga Red, a D. Wayne Lukas trainee who would need several defections to make the Preakness field.

            With Jon Court in the saddle, Saratoga Red, worked five furlongs in company in 1:02.80 over a track labeled “muddy.” The move was the 14th fastest of 20 at the distance.

Saratoga Red, sixth as the favorite in an optional claiming event on May 7 here, made short work of his morning companion, Manhattan Man, who was timed in 1:06.

CRUZ MOVES TACK TO CHURCHILL DOWNS FOR SPRING MEET – Manny Cruzgave himself an early birthday present on a soggy Saturday afternoon when he guidedLohan to an eight-length victory in the sixth race for his first victory as a Churchill Downs regular.

Cruz, who will turn 41 on Friday, has moved his tack to Churchill Downs for the spring meet from South Florida and along with it a solid resume that totals 2,398 victories after Saturday’s score.

 “He made the move mainly to ride for Ken McPeek, but we plan on riding for many other trainers, as well,” said Steve Elzey, Cruz’s agent. “Also, the top racing in Florida really takes place in the winter months and so he wanted to move up to Churchill for the spring.”

            Saturday’s victory for the native of Brazil was the first for Cruz at Churchill Downs since May 12, 2008 aboard Southernengagement and his third local win overall.

            Cruz, whose career mounts have earned just fewer than $50 million, is not shying away from riding in the very competitive Churchill Downs jockey colony and plans to make many more trips to the winner’s circle.

        “He’s ridden against some of the best jockeys in the country for many years,” Elzey said. “This will be nothing new.”

The location of Cruz’s tack at the conclusion of the Churchill Downs meet is still undecided. “We don’t know where we’ll go from here,” Elzey said. “We’ll just play it by ear.”

BARN TALK – Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William Lawrence’s Sum of the Partsretuned to trainer Tom Amoss’ barn in good order after an impressive 2 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s second race at

Churchill Downs. Sum of the Parts, who sold for $150,000 at the Barrett’s Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale last March, navigated the 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight event in :51.03. 

              The 2-year-old son of Speightstown had been working forwardly for his debut with stablemate Culotte, who bounded home to a 5 ¼-length victory in the fifth race here Friday. Amoss, who has saddled five winners here in the past two days and has won with 11 of his past 17 starters at Churchill Downs, Indiana Downs and Mountaineer, felt confident in Sum of the Parts following Culotte’s win; however, he was not prepared for what he saw Saturday.

       “I thought he (Sum of the Parts) was coming into the race in good shape and after Culotte won I thought he would run well,” Amoss said. “I just didn’t know he would runthat well.”

         Sum of the Parts, who is out of the multiple-graded stakes winning mare Enjoy the Moment, possibly will test stakes company in his next outing.

     “You don’t want to rush into anything with a young horse,” Amoss said. “But I’d love to run him in the Bashford Manor (GIII on July 2 here).”

             Little Polka Dot, winner of Saturday’s $53,210 Unbridled Sidney overnight stake, came out of the race well. The 5-year-old daughter of Orientate, who is also trained by Amoss, captured her first stakes victory for owner Maggi Moss. Future plans for the Louisiana-bred are undecided.

           “She came out of the race well,” Amoss said. “We’ll take a few days and then decide where to go from here.”  …

             For the third consecutive day, apprentice riders Constantino Roman andMarcelino Pedroza each won a race on the card. Roman has five victories through the first nine days of the 39-day meet and Pedroza has three. …

            Showing up on the work tab Saturday with a bullet three furlongs in :36 wasRobert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. “It’s time to start cranking him up,” Lukas said of Dublin, who has not run since finishing fifth in last year’s Preakness. “We are looking at Saratoga for him.” Dublin suffered a chip in an ankle that has since been removed and then at Oaklawn this winter, Dublin’s return to the races was further delayed by a bout of colitis.

WORK TAB – Wertheimer and Frere’s Exhi, winner of the Ben Ali (GIII) in his most recent start at Keeneland, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 for trainer Todd Pletcherbefore the morning renovation break when the track was labeled as “muddy.”

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