DOGWOOD’S PREAKNESS HOPE AIKENITE WORKS FIVE FURLONGS FOR PLETCHER; SUPER SAVER SET TO WORK MONDAY – Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite tuned up for an anticipated run in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (Grade I) by working five furlongs in company in 1:01.40.
With exercise rider Kevin Willey up, Aikenite came on to the fast track a little after 6:30 a.m. (all times EDT) and then went about his business with workmate Megaholtz. Fractions for the work were :12.60, :25.20, :37.60, :49.40 with a six-furlong gallop-out time of 1:15. The move was the ninth fastest of 19 at the distance.
“He broke off a couple lengths behind Megaholtz and they finished on even terms,” trained Todd Pletcher said. “It was a good work, typical of how he works and he had a solid gallop out. He will walk tomorrow and go back to the track Tuesday.”
Aikenite earned his shot at the Preakness with a runner-up finish to Preakness candidate Hurricane Ike in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on April 24.
A few minutes after Aikenite completed his work, Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver came out under Willey. He stood in the starting gate and galloped 1 1/8 miles.
“He was well behaved at the gate,” Pletcher said. “He was calm, cool and collected. He is very professional and has always been that way. It is a huge edge when you have a horse with talent that also has the proper mind-set.”
Owned by WinStar Farm, Super Saver is scheduled to work a half-mile in preparation for the Preakness Monday morning at 8:30 after the renovation break. Jockey Calvin Borel, who scored his third Derby win on Super Saver, is slated to be aboard.
FOUR OTHER PREAKNESS HOPEFULS SCHEDULED TO WORK MONDAY – In addition to Super Saver, four other horses with designs on Saturday’s Preakness Stakes are scheduled to work Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Preakness five times, is going to work Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin and Westrock Stables’ Northern Giant. Both colts galloped under Arielle Witkowski before the renovation break.
Lukas has not confirmed a rider for Northern Giant for the Preakness but has tabbed Garrett Gomez to replace Terry Thompson on Dublin, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby. Gomez will work Dublin in the morning.
Why the switch?
“If Peyton Manning is available, you are not going to leave him in the locker room,” Lukas said.
Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Hurricane Ike is scheduled to work seven furlongs with Preakness rider Robby Albarado scheduled to be aboard after the renovation break. Trainer John Sadler is expected to be on hand to supervise the move of The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) winner who galloped a mile and a half Sunday morning.
Steel Your Face Stables’ Yawanna Twist, second in the Illinois Derby (GIII) in his most recent start on April 3, galloped a mile and a half under Michelle Nevin after the renovation break Sunday prior to a scheduled Monday work.
“(Trainer) Rick (Dutrow) is usually a five or six (furlong) guy,” Nevin said about the distance of the scheduled Monday work. Joe Deegan is expected to be aboard for the work after the morning renovation break.
BAFFERT CELEBRATES HIS FOURTH DERBY VICTORY – “I knew I was going to get my fourth Derby win,” trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning. “I just didn’t know it would be the Lone Star Derby. I got it at the wrong track.”
Game On Dude, owned by the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, Diamond Pride and Bernie Schiappa, cruised to a 4 ½-length victory in the Grade III race Saturday at Lone Star Park.
“He could be a Belmont horse,” Baffert said of Game On Dude. “We will look seriously at it with him.
“We bought him three days before the Florida Derby and he was just green in there. We ran him here in the Derby Trial and he hated the mud (finishing fifth).”
Game On Dude, who prepped at Churchill Downs before his Texas triumph, is headed back to Baffert’s home base in Southern California. In Louisville, Baffert continued to prepare sixth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Lookin At Lucky for a possible trip to Pimlico for the Preakness.'
wned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, Lookin At Lucky galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with Peter Hutton up.
Baffert has yet to commit the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite to the Preakness. A decision on Lookin At Lucky’s Preakness status is expected Monday.
“I just want to see how he’s doing,” Baffert said of what he would be looking for. “If he is still doing well like he did today and how he is this afternoon, I have to let people know so they can plan.”
BARN TALK – Preakness preparations continued Sunday morning for three other Pimlico-bound colts. Third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Paddy O’Prado, owned by Donegal Racing, galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break and Donald Dizney’s First Dude walked the shedrow following Saturday’s bullet five-eighths work of 1:00.60. Both colts are trained by Dale Romans. Robert LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm’s Jackson Bend galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break under Stacy Prior for trainer Nick Zito.
WORK TAB – Wertheimer and Frere’s Exhi, winner of the Coolmore Lexington (GII) in his most recent start, worked a half-mile in :47.80, the third fastest of 31 at the distance. Charles Galli’s Silver Craft, a nominee for Saturday’s Matt Winn, worked a bullet five furlongs in :59 for trainer Tony Reinstedler. Demarcation, owned by Amerman Racing Stables, worked five furlongs in 1:03.80 for trainer Paul McGee.