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First Preakness Hopefuls Arrive At Pimlico
BALTIMORE,MD 05-11-10–--The first two members of the field for the 135th Preakness Stakes, Dublin and Northern Giant, arrived a little later than expected early Tuesday evening at Pimlico Race Course.
The vans carrying the colts trained by five-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas pulled into the stable area at 5:52 p.m. The van, which left Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. also delivered the filly Tidal Pool, the morning-line favorite for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes to be run Friday afternoon, and the 4-year-old colt Flying Private, who was fourth in last year’s Preakness.
Dublin finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby. Northern Giant did not run in the first race of the Triple Crown series. His last start was in the Arkansas Derby on April 10.
Lukas and six members of his staff arrived in the van, prepared the stalls in the Preakness Stakes Barn and unloaded the horses. A fifth member of the traveling party, Lukas’ lead pony, was due to arrive later in the evening.
“We had two trucks and one of them had some mechanical problems, so we stopped briefly and unloaded the filly and left the lead pony in Pennsylvania,” Lukas said. “We’ve got another truck bringing him. It didn’t bother us because we did have enough room on the bigger van. We got them all in here except the pony.”
Lukas said that aside the from the problem with the truck - which necessitated moving the filly into the other van in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant - the journey from Kentucky went smoothly. He said he decided to ship his horses by van instead of taking the flight that will carry 10 other Preakness runners to Baltimore on Wednesday because it is easier, less expensive and enabled him to bring his crew. Each horse is in a box stall in the van and can be monitored with video cameras.
“Everybody gets here at the same time and we can jump into this (unloading),” Lukas said. “It seems like it’s working out pretty good. I did it last year. I liked it and I think I’ll keep doing it.”
Multiple Eclipse Award-winner Garrett Gomez, who rode beaten-favorite Lookin At Lucky in the Derby, will ride Dublin in the Preakness, and Terry Thompson moves from Dublin to Northern Giant.
“It was not a negative decision for Terry Thompson because I put him on the other horse we’re in the Preakness with, Northern Giant,” Lukas said. “And he’s riding two other stakes, so he’s ecstatic, too. It’s an opportunity for him, also. I thought that if we could get a rider of Garrett’s caliber that we should take advantage of it.”