Danzig Moon, the fifth-place finisher in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), will continue on the Triple Crown trail.
“We are going,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father, trainer Mark Casse. “He came out of the Derby really well and deserves one more chance.”
Second in the Blue Grass (GI) prior to his Derby run, Danzig Moon finished 6 ½ lengths behind American Pharoah. Julien Leparoux was aboard in the Derby will retain the mount for the Preakness.
“We made the decision last night, but we wanted to give him another day to train before making the announcement,” Casse said. “He trained great this morning going a mile and a half in the first set.”
Casse said Danzig Moon would have the day off Sunday and then gallop the next three mornings before shipping to Baltimore Wednesday after training hours.
Three other colts from the Kentucky Derby also confirmed for the Preakness galloped after the morning renovation break.
Derby 141 winner American Pharoah galloped a mile and three-eighths with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez up. Third-place finisher Dortmund galloped a similar distance with Dana Barnes in the saddle.
Both colts are trained by Bob Baffert, who is scheduled to return to Louisville from his Southern California base on Sunday night.
Arnold Zetcher’s Firing Line, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Humberto Gomez for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Two other horses under consideration for the Preakness, Zayat Stables’ Mr. Z and Charles Fipke’s Tale of Verve, galloped before the break.
Mr. Z, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, galloped a little more than a mile under exercise rider Edvin Vargas. Thirteenth in the Kentucky Derby, Mr. Z is expected to be part of a Lukas continent headed to Maryland on Tuesday.
Tale of Verve, trained by Dallas Stewart, galloped a mile and five-eighths under Kortez Walker. Stewart said the colt may work Sunday or Monday.
A SUPER SAVE BY GREG BLASI – An unusual occurrence took place prior to Friday’s seventh race when the 4-year-old filly Yodel broke through the starting gate dumping jockey Chris Landeros. With the help from his 10-year-old Quarter Horse Pee Wee, Churchill Downs lead outrider, Greg Blasi, was able to secure the filly when he caught up to her and grabbed her by the saddle. Yodel was then scratched by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s state veterinarian.
This morning, Blasi admitted to being a little bit on the sore side.
“I’m sore in places today that I didn’t know I had anymore,” Blasi said. “It was a little easier to do this when I was younger I can tell you that.”
Blasi, who has been outriding for many years, says that while instances such as these are pretty rare, it becomes second nature to someone in his position.
“This really isn’t something that you think about, you just react to it and just do it,” he said, “If you sit out in front of the gate enough and it has happened to you before and those horses, when you hear that noise, you now when one’s come through. When one goes [out of the gate] and the rest of them don’t, it’s a different kind of noise and your horse knows it too.”
Blasi gave a lot of credit to his pony, Pee Wee, for assisting him in securing the loose horse.
“If I’m not sitting on a horse like that, it doesn’t matter what you do,” he said, “It’s the horse that’s doing it. Yeah, I was pulling but the horse really does a lot of the work. I give the horse all the credit. We could have gone down in a pile real easily.”
UNDEFEATED AHH CHOCOLATE WORKS TOWARD CLASS TEST IN MARYLAND – Stoneway Farm’s Ahh Chocolate worked a half-mile in :49.20 over the main track this morning in preparation for a start Friday in the Black-Eyed Susan (GII) at Pimlico. Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. was aboard for the work and said that it could not have gone any smoother.
“She looks like she’s right where (trainer) Neil [Howard] needs her to be and she’s ready to take this step up it seems,” Hernandez said. “This morning was a perfect work and it was everything we were looking for it seems.”
Hernandez said that he looks forward to riding the daughter of Candy Ride at Pimlico, which will be her first time in graded stakes company. She has won both of her career starts, a maiden special weight at Fair Grounds and an allowance race at Keeneland.
“She’s a special kind of filly,” Hernandez said. “She’s the type of filly that every question we’ve asked her she’s answered. Even in the mornings she seems like the type of filly that’s going to step it up again. She’s just going to have to show it on Friday.”
Howard also spoke highly of the filly’s workout, and was pleased with the manner of which she galloped out.
“I was very pleased,” he said. “It’s cliché to say this but it’s what we were looking for. It was a nice half, not flying but not crawling. (It was) just enough to get the blood circulating and she galloped out good. The emphasis is on the gallop out.”
Like Hernandez, Howard also feels good about the Black-Eyed Susan but says that he is taking a wait-and-see approach to Friday’s race.
“You always fear everybody,” Howard said. “We feel good about it, but we are going in there with a filly that’s only run twice. She’s definitely going in the right direction but you always have to wait and see.”