Speedway Stable’s Lexington (GIII) winner Collected worked seven furlongs in 1:24.80 over Churchill Downs’ main track labeled as “good” Friday morning.
Working on his own and with Miguel Mena up for trainer Bob Baffert, Collected broke off at the five-eighths pole and produced fractions of :23.80, :35.80, :47.80, 1:00, 1:12.60, 1:24.80 and galloped out a mile in 1:38.60.
Other Friday morning activity involving Preakness hopefuls at Churchill Downs included a walk day for Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator, a 1 ½-mile gallop for third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Gun Runner, a 1 ½-mile gallop for Fellowship and Cherry Wine, and a 1 3/8-mile gallop for Dazzling Gem.
Cherry Wine and Dazzling Gem are expected to work Saturday morning.
ROMANS FEELING ‘MUCH BETTER’ FOLLOWING SATURDAY’S CAR ACCIDENT – Trainer Dale Romans is in good spirits following his car accident on Kentucky Derby evening, which sent three of his five passengers to the hospital.
Romans, who saddled Brody’s Cause to a seventh-place effort in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) earlier that day, was driving on Southern Parkway around 10:30 p.m. when an SUV ran a stop sign and collided with his vehicle which caused it to spin into the path of a truck and T-boned Romans’ car on the passenger’s side.
Romans only suffered from a pulled muscle in his ribcage, however three of his passengers suffered more serious injuries. John Hennegan, director of the documentary The First Saturday in May, suffered from broken ribs; Kurt Paseka, a former contributor to the Thoroughbred Times, suffered a fractured pelvis while Paseka’s sister, Kyle, suffered a fractured vertebrae. The other two passengers, Jim Sugrue and Christina Lopez, were not seriously injured.
“I feel much better,” Romans said Friday morning. “Today was the first day that I started feeling better. I’m still sore on my ribs and on my back. I think the medication is finally starting to kick in so I’m starting to feel a lot better.
“We missed our first Sunday that I can remember of driving around the infield and just looking at and checking out all the garbage from Derby Day. But it was a good time to sit back and relax. The best thing, even though I wasn’t able to answer everybody, were all the well wishes that I got the following day. That makes me feel appreciated. There was no way I could have answered everybody but it was great to hear from people. I heard from so many of my peers, like Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill. Baffert texted me right after he got off the plane.”
Romans stated there was a lesson to be learned from his frightening accident.
“My newest thing is to just make sure that you always wear your seatbelt,” Romans said.
Romans will saddle Blue Grass third-place finisher Cherry Wine in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (GI) at Pimlico on May 21, while his Derby contender Brody’s Cause will bypass the second jewel of the Triple Crown and await the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 11.
“We didn’t win the Derby so we aren’t going for a Triple Crown,” Romans said. “We’ll give him [Brody’s Cause] a freshener for five weeks. He’s bred to go the distance so we think that we have a chance.”
TOP TWO FROM ALYSHEBA POSSIBLE TO MEET IN STEPHEN FOSTER – Majestic Harbor and Eagle, the winner and runner-up in last Friday’s Alysheba (GII), are both under consideration for the $500,000 Stephen Foster (GI) on June 18 according to their trainers.
“We’re going to look long and hard at the Stephen Foster for sure,” said Paul McGee, trainer of Majestic Harbor. “He was fourth last year behind Noble Bird and he seems to really like the track.”
McGee believes that the Alysheba was one the 8-year-old son of Rockport Harbor’s better performances.
“It was a strong, strong race,” McGee said. “He had been giving some positive signs going into the race for sure, even during the walkover. That Oaks Day crowd isn’t for every horse, but he was giving good signals. He had that neck bowed just right without being over the top. He was kind of touting himself. He breezed well going into the race. Corey [Lanerie] breezed him a week before and couldn’t have been happier with him. He’s always been very sound.”
Trainer Neil Howard also has the Stephen Foster on the radar for Alysheba runner-up Eagle.
“We are definitely considering it,” Howard said. “I would say that it is more likely than not. We want to give him a chance to come out of the race good, but I would say that it is definitely likely.”
RICHARD SCORES THREE WINS THURSDAY EVENING – Trainer Chris Richard is off to a hot start to Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet with a trio of victories on Thursday evening’s card with Conquest Playmisty (Race 1), Halo Not Included (Race 5) and Buck Magic (Race 6).
“The horses ran well; I thought that they were in good spots and that they had been training well,” Richard said. “You never go in thinking that you’ll win three in a day, but I went in thinking that we had a good shot of running well that day so I was pleased with how well they ran.”
Richard, who entered Friday with five victories for the meet, was a close second behind Steve Asmussen for the 2015 Fall Meet training title with 10 wins to Asmussen’s 13.
“I think we’ll have a good meet,” Richard said. “I think we’ve got some horses that fit in well. I’m anticipating a good meet. Obviously you have to have some racing luck, but I think with the type of horses that we have, we’ll have a good meet.”
Jockey Corey Lanerie rode all three of Richard’s winners.
“He’s done a great job for us since we’ve come here,” Richard said of Lanerie. “I’ve known Corey back to New Orleans when I was Tom Amoss’ assistant so I’ve known him for a long time. We’ve been very lucky together and we’ve always been on the same page.”