Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) winner California Chrome completed the Churchill Downs portion of his training for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (GI) by galloping 1 ¼ miles early Monday morning with Willie Delgado aboard.
“Everything is perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, of the colt’s stay in Louisville following his victory in the May 3 Run for the Roses. “He lost a little weight after the race, but put it all back on quickly.”
Owned by breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome was led onto a van by Delgado at 10:17 a.m. (all time Eastern) and left Churchill Downs five minutes later for the ride to Lexington and a flight that would take him and three other Preakness hopefuls to Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course for the Triple Crown’s second jewel.
In other news concerning likely Preakness runners stabled at Churchill Downs, Kaleem Shah’s Bayern worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 and trainer Tom Amoss confirmed that Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia would be entered Wednesday for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown and that Calvin Borel would have the mount.
Bayern and jockey Rosie Napravnik came on the track shortly after 6 o’clock. Starting about a length back on the outside of 5-year-old multiple graded-stakes winner Drill with Jorge Alvarez up, Bayern produced fractions of :13.60, :26.40, :38 .80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.20.
The five-furlong move by the Bob Baffert trainee was the ninth fastest of 17 at the distance.
After a 7 o’clock call Monday morning with Ron Paolucci (Loooch Racing Stable), Amoss confirmed Ria Antonia would be entered in Saturday’s Preakness.
“She had a nice work yesterday (:47.60 for a half-mile with Borel up) and looks good today,” Amoss said. “We have a healthy, sound horse and we are ready to roll the dice.”
Ria Antonia finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 2 and joined the Amoss barn three days later.
“The idea (to run in the Preakness) was Ron’s,” said Amoss, who has trained a string of horses for Loooch for two years. “She passed all the tests with us physically, mentally and how she trained.
“I got to see her before the Oaks and she prepared well and worked well before the race. I don’t know what happened in the Oaks, but I like the way she looks now.”
Ria Antonia will become the first filly to run in the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Rachel’s rider that day was Borel.
“We wanted to get a rider that had the opportunity to work her and feel good about it,” Amoss said. “I know Calvin’s confidence is strong after the work.”
Borel has ridden in the Preakness two other times; 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who finished second to Curlin, and 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who finished eighth behind Lookin At Lucky.
Amoss knows it will be a challenge to knock off Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome on Saturday.
“We are looking forward to running,” said Amoss, whose Mylute finished third in last year’s Preakness behind Oxbow. “I see it as California Chrome versus the rest. If he runs his race, he’ll win. If it is not his day, it opens a number of possibilities and opportunities for the other runners, including us.”
Ria Antonia is scheduled to return to the track to jog Tuesday morning then gallop Wednesday morning before getting on an early afternoon flight to Baltimore from Louisville International Airport.
The other Preakness hopefuls at Churchill Downs are Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin and John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact.
Ride On Curlin galloped an easy 1 1/8 miles shortly after the track opened with Bryan Beccia aboard.
Seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Ride On Curlin left Churchill Downs by van shortly after 10 a.m. for the trip to Lexington and a flight to Baltimore along with Derby winner California Chrome and Preakness hopefuls General a Rod and Pablo Del Monte.
Dynamic Impact walked the shedrow at Barn 36, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.60 “He came out of the work fine and will go back to the track Tuesday,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father Mark Casse.