Ronald Lamarque and Louie Roussel III’s fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher, Recapturetheglory, has had his Preakness plans put on hold by a fever.
“We took his temperature last night,” assistant trainer Lara Van Deren said. “He just wasn’t acting right. He was backing up against the gate in the stall and he never does that.
“This morning his temperature was over 102. He’s definitely not shipping (to Pimlico) tonight. We pulled blood on him and gave him some anti-inflammatories. The blood work will tell us everything and we should get that back this afternoon.”
Van Deren said Recapaturetheglory was still eating and not coughing and that the temperature began to drop later in the morning.
MACHO AGAIN BACK IN PREAKNESS PICTURE – A day after being taken out of consideration for the Preakness, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again was back in the picture according to trainer Dallas Stewart.
“Last night we sat down and really looked at the field,” Stewart said. “There is one superstar in there (Big Brown) and I feel he can be competitive with the rest of them. He has never been doing better than he is now.”
Winner of the Derby Trial on April 26 in his most recent start, Macho Again worked a half-mile in :50.80 before the renovation break over a fast track Saturday morning at Churchill Downs with Kenny Bourque up. The move was the 52nd fastest of 59 at the distance.
“The decision was not based on his work this morning,” Stewart said. “He never has been much of a work horse. But we will see how he is in the morning, and we are seriously considering it. It’s a once in a lifetime chance and Terry (Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds) has left the decision up to me.”
Macho Again has compiled a record of 8-3-2-0 with earnings of $143,761. His two worst races came on synthetic surfaces and his only off-the-board finish on dirt was a sixth-place effort in the LeComte (GIII) at Fair Grounds in which he raced wide and was coming off a seven-week layoff.
About a dozen horses are likely for next Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (GI) at Pimlico Race Course: Behindatthebar, Big Brown, Giant Moon, Hey Byrn, Icabad Crane, Kentucky Bear, Macho Again, Racecar Rhapsody, Riley Tucker, Stevil, Tres Borrachos and Yankee Bravo. Harlem Rocker and Recapturetheglory are considered possible starters.
RACECAR RHAPSODY DRILLS FIVE-EIGHTHS FOR PREAKNESS – Jerry Carroll, Stan Kaplan, Ronald Plattner and Mark Guilfoyle’s Racecar Rhapsody worked five furlongs in 1:01 after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs under Jose Castanon. The move was the third fastest of 29 at the distance.
“He worked well,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “He laid off another horse and finished strong.”
Robby Albarado, who has ridden Racecar Rhapsody in all six of his starts, has the call for the Preakness.
Racecar Rhapsody never has been worse than fourth in his career and the most he has been beaten was four lengths in the Lane’s End (Grade II) at Turfway Park on March 22 in his 2008 debut.
“He’s a nice horse, but he’s a horse that comes from behind and needs a clean trip,” McPeek said. “He needs plenty of ground.”
He will get that extra ground in the Preakness with the 1 3/16 miles being the longest he has run. Racecar Rhapsody is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
BIG BROWN GALLOPS AFTER BREAK – With the sun out and a fast track, Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown galloped for the first time since taking down the first leg of the Triple Crown last Saturday at Churchill Downs.
“God is good,” trainer Rick Dutrow said with a smile as he glanced up at the clear skies, a commodity that had been absent the previous two mornings.
With Michelle Nevin aboard Big Brown and an NBC film crew monitoring every move, the colt went to the track at 8:30 a.m., jogged around to the front side and then galloped a little more than a mile.
“I was looking for what I saw,” Dutrow said after Big Brown returned to Barn 22.
Big Brown had jogged the past three mornings, the previous two because of wet track conditions.
Big Brown is scheduled to train at Churchill Downs the next four mornings and ship to Pimlico on Wednesday afternoon.
PREAKNESS HOPEFULS GALLOP UNDER TWIN SPIRES – With Dylan Armstrong up, Robert LaPenta’s Stevil galloped 1 ½ miles before the renovation break at Churchill Downs as he continued his preparations for next Saturday’s Preakness.
Heather Stark, assistant to trainer Nick Zito, reported all was well with the son of Maria’s Mon who is scheduled to work Monday.
The last of the Preakness hopefuls at Churchill Downs to go to the track Saturday morning was Tres Borrachos, who traveled a little less than 1 ¼ miles with a combination of jogging and galloping under Andy Durnin shortly after 9 a.m.
Trainer Beau Greely, who owns the Ecton Park gelding in partnership with John Greely IV and Phil Houchens, plans to work Tres Borrachos on Tuesday and ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
Tres Borrachos has been bothered recently by a minor skin irritation on the left side of his neck.
“He had a little ringworm that showed up last week,” Greely said. “It has dried up now, but at the moment he wouldn’t win any beauty contests.”
BARN TALK – Veteran jockey Bill Troilo won two races on Friday’s card, scoring with Blackpool ($9.60) for trainer Joe Woodard in the first and Colin’s Princess ($12.40) for trainer Troy Newton in the 10th. The victories gave Troilo 250 for his career at Churchill Downs.
“Maybe in another 30 years I can catch Pat Day,” the 47-year-old Troilo said with a laugh, referring to the Hall of Famer who is Churchill Downs’ all-time leading rider with 2,481 wins.
WORK TAB – The 1-2 finishers from the March 8 New Orleans Handicap (GII), Circular Quay and Grasshopper worked over a track rated as “fast” on Saturday morning. Circular Quay, owned by Michael and Doreen Tabor, worked a half-mile in :49.80 for trainer Todd Pletcher. The move was the 38th fastest of 59 at the distance. Grasshopper, owned by Will Farish, E.J. Hudson and James Elkins, covered the same distance in :48.60 for trainer Neil Howard. The move was the 14th best at the distance. Also working a half-mile was Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Passion. Third in the Grade II Stonerside Beaumont in her most recent start, Passion covered the distance in :48 flat, fifth-best time of the morning at the distance.
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