FIRST DUDE WORKS BULLET FIVE-EIGHTHS FOR PREAKNESS – Donald Dizney’s First Dude punched his ticket to Baltimore with a bullet, five-furlong work in 1:00.60 under Tammy Fox after the morning renovation break.
Churchill Downs clockers caught the son of Stephen Got Even in fractions of :11.60, :23.40, :35.20, :47.60 and out six furlongs in 1:14.80. First Dude started his work at the half-mile pole and went to the seven-eighths pole.
“I was very pleased with the work. It’s on to the Preakness,” trainer Dale Romans said. “I got him in 1:01.”
The move, accomplished over a track labeled as fast, was the best of 13 at the distance. It was First Dude’s second bullet work since finished third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 10. First Dude had worked five furlongs over a muddy track in 1:00.80 on April 26, the best of 26 at the distance that day.
"If he had thrown in a clunker today, he would not have gone,” Romans said. “But he never has thrown one in and I didn’t expect him to this morning.”
Romans’ other Preakness probable, third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Paddy O’Prado, galloped a mile and a half after First Dude’s work. Paddy O’Prado is owned by Donegal Racing.
PLETCHER LIKES WHAT HE SEES OF SUPER SAVER – MONDAY WORK LIKELY – WinStar Farm’s Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver galloped a mile and an eighth early on a cool, brisk Saturday morning with exercise rider Kevin Willey aboard.
Trainer Todd Pletcher viewed the morning exercise from the frontside of the track.
He galloped really, really well,” said Pletcher, who arrived in Louisville Friday night and was seeing the Derby winner on the track for the first time since his triumph in last Saturday’s Run for the Roses.
“His energy level is very good and he has rebounded quickly. You always hope for that coming back in two weeks.”
Super Saver, who gave jockey Calvin Borel his third Kentucky Derby victory in the past four years, may work Monday.
“Right now, I am leaning toward working him,” Pletcher said. “I want to see how he gallops tomorrow, but most likely it will be an easy half-mile.”
Pletcher’s other Preakness probable, Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite, galloped a mile and three-eighths under Willey.
“He will work five-eighths in company in the morning,” Pletcher said of the Grade 3 Derby Trial runner-up. “He is training well and doing well.”
NOTE: Pletcher will have a meeting with the media this afternoon at 5:15 (EDT) in the Churchill Downs paddock.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY GALLOPS TOWARD POSSIBLE PREAKNESS BID – Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s Lookin At Lucky galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break under exercise rider Peter Hutton.
Trainer Bob Baffert has yet to make a firm decision on Lookin At Lucky’s Preakness participation but said Saturday morning, “I’ll know by Monday, but he’s 52 percent (to go) today.”
Baffert also addressed the rumor mill surrounding jockey Garrett Gomez, who has been aboard Lookin At Lucky in all nine of his starts.
"I am still not sure if I am going to run and if I don’t run, I don’t need to make a switch,” Baffert said. “There are a lot of rumors out there. What happened is I told Martin Garcia’s agent (Jim Pegram) not to do anything for Preakness Day because I might have other horses running there that day.”
Tne horse Baffert is considering taking to Pimlico is Quiet Invader, who is nominated to the Chick Lang Stakes. The colt is also nominated to the Matt Winn to be run at Churchill Downs the same day and Garcia has ridden Quiet Invader in all five of his starts.
BARN TALK – Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box, runner-up in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, left by van for Saratoga on Friday afternoon. Trained by Nick Zito, Ice Box is being pointed to the June 5 Belmont Stakes (GI). …
Ice Box’s stablemate, 12th-place Kentucky Derby finisher Jackson Bend, galloped a mile and three-eighths under Stacy Prior before the renovation break Saturday morning as he moved toward a possible Preakness start.
Other Preakness prospects on the grounds included Hurricane Ike galloping a mile and a half before the break and Yawanna Twist galloping the same distance under Michelle Nevin after the break. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ two Preakness hopefuls, Dublin and Northern Giant, galloped before the break under Arielle Witkowski.
The Lukas duo is scheduled to work Sunday or Monday and Hurricane Ike is penciled in for a seven-furlong work Monday.
WORK TAB (Track: GOOD prior to the maintenance break, FAST afterward ) – Count Fleet (GIII) and Mr. Prospector (GIII) winner Custom for Carlos breezed a half-mile in :50 over a “fast” track for trainer Eddie Kenneally.