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Norman Asbjornson, Mr. Commons Work For Middle Jewel Of Triple Crown
BALTIMORE – 05-13-11 – Trainer Chris Grove loaded Norman Asbjornson onto a van at Bowie Training Center Friday morning for a short ride to Pimlico Race Course, where the 3-year-old colt was given his final workout for the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 21.
With jockey Julian Pimentel aboard, the son of 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Real Quiet breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5.
“He’d didn’t have any company. It was educational for him. He got more out of last week’s work. This was more of a maintenance work to keep him in form,” said Grove, whose Pennsylvania-bred colt worked a mile in 1:40 at Pimlico on May 6.
Norman Asbjornson turned in fractional times of :13 2/5, :25 4/5, :38 4/5 and :50 1/5 on his way to his official clocking, before galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.
“He went good and handled the track good. He did it pretty easily,” Pimentel said. “He finished up good.”
After cooling out, Norman Asbjornson was vanned back to Bowie, where he will remain until Preakness morning.
“Everything’s done except a whole lot of gate schooling,” Grove said. “He needs to be gate schooled to make sure he stays focused in the gate.”
Thomas McClay and Harry Nye’s homebred colt finished second behind Stay Thirsty in the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct on March 5 before returning to the New York track for the Wood Memorial (G1), in which he finished fourth.
Later Friday morning at Hollywood Park, Mr. Commons became a definite Preakness candidate following a seven-furlong workout.
With jockey Victor Espinoza in the irons, the Artie Schiller colt worked seven furlongs, handily, in 1:24 2/5.
“He did it very well, except he was a little strong in the middle part of the work,” trainer John Shirreffs said. “The horse couldn’t have blown a candle out when he got back to the barn. He’s very fit. It was Victor’s first time on him, so I just attribute that to Victor not knowing him.”
It was the third consecutive seven-furlong work for St. George Farm Racing’s homebred colt. He is scheduled to be flown from California to Kentucky on Tuesday before spending the night in Kentucky and completing his journey on Wednesday.
Espinoza has the mount in the Preakness.
ANIMAL KINGDOM – Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid watched Team Valor International’s homebred colt go out for his morning exercise Friday morning at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
Trainer Graham Motion said the son of Leroidesanimaux jogged a half-mile and galloped a mile with a pony and another horse to keep him company.
“Everything seems to be going good,” Motion said. “Hopefully he’s oblivious to what is going on around him.”
Motion has been very giving of his time to handle interview requests since Animal Kingdom captured the Derby with an impressive run through the stretch at Churchill Downs.
“The hardest thing has been to keep up with all these radio phone-ins, which is somewhat overwhelming,” Motion said. “I just feel like it’s so important to try and do as many as you can because everybody wants to talk about racing this week.”
Motion said he has no idea how many radio shows he has been on.
“I’m very happy to be doing it,” he said. “I don’t think you anticipate what the aftermath of the Derby is. If you ever think about winning the Derby, I don’t think you expect what the week would be like after this. It’s not something you would know ahead of time.”
Motion said he has not decided whether he will work Animal Kingdom prior to the Preakness.
Animal Kingdom is scheduled to go to the track at Fair Hill at 9 a.m. each day. Per Graham Motion’s request, TV crews are asked to set up in the vicinity of the clocker’s stand, where he will try to accommodate each request to the best of his ability.
DIALED IN – Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In galloped 1 ½ miles shortly after 7 o’clock Friday morning at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Carlos Correa up.
Trainer Nick Zito, who won the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze after that colt finished 16th behind Grindstone in the Kentucky Derby, has seen no negatives from Dialed In, who finished eighth as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby.
“He’s got a lot of energy,” Zito said as Dialed In walked off the track. “He is a strong, determined horse and I am fine with him.”
Dialed In, who captured the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, will be eligible for a $6.1 million payday with a victory in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown under the conditions of the Preakness 5.5, a bonus series offered by MI Developments.
ASTROLOGY/NEHRO – Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology visited the starting gate under Carlos Rosas Friday morning at Churchill Downs and Zayat Stables’ Nehro, runner-up in Kentucky Derby 137, walked the shedrow.
CONCEALED IDENTITY – Linda Gaudet and Morris Bailey’s Concealed Identity galloped 1 ½ miles at Bowie Training Center Friday morning.
“He doesn’t need to do too much,” trainer Eddie Gaudet said. “He just ran on Saturday.”
Concealed Identity captured the Federico Tesio Stakes by two lengths under jockey Sheldon Russell at Pimlico.
DANCE CITY – The Estate of Edward P. Evans’ Dance City galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Obed Perez up.
Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez, who was based in the Mid-Atlantic region for several years, will ride the Todd Pletcher-trained colt for the first time in the Preakness. Dominguez competed against Dance City when he rode Brethren in the Arkansas Derby for Pletcher.
“I was very impressed with him in the Arkansas Derby," Dominguez said. "He is a big horse with a beautiful stride. Turning for home I thought he was going to win but he got unlucky by getting pushed.”
Dominguez said it would mean a lot to him to win the Preakness.
“Maryland was the place, along with Delaware, where I got a great deal of exposure and jump-started my career," he said. "I know so many people at Pimlico and have found myself daydreaming about winning a race the magnitude of the Preakness. It has always been a race I wanted to win and I am excited to have a live mount this year.”
Dominguez also has the mount on Hot Summer in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes(G2) for 3-year-old fillies on Friday, May 20.
“She is a very consistent filly and I am looking forward to riding her," he said.
FLASHPOINT – Trainer Wesley Ward has scheduled a five-furlong breeze with rider Jeffrey Sanchez aboard, Saturday at Keeneland for the Peachtree Stable’s colt.
“He’s doing great,” Ward said. “He had an easy gallop today and he’s ready for his work tomorrow.”
ISN’T HE PERFECT – Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal has decided to scratch the Pleasantly Perfect colt from Saturday’s Peter Pan (G2) in favor of a start in the Preakness.
Shivmangal said the colt, who was fifth in the Wood Memorial (G1) and the Jerome (G2) in his last two starts, will breeze a half-mile at Belmont Park on Saturday.
“From the races he’s run before, this horse has got the kind of speed that I think he will have a fair shot against these horses,” Shivmangal said. “He’s bred to go long.”
KING CONGIE – West Point Thoroughbreds’ colt galloped 1 ¼ miles at Belmont Park Friday morning. The Tropical Park Derby winner has been pointed toward the Preakness since he finished third by a head in the Blue Grass (G1) on April 9.
Trainer Tom Albertrani said the colt is doing well and may breeze Sunday morning, weather permitting. Rain is in the forecast for the weekend.
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE/THE FACTOR – Arnold Zetcher’s Midnight Interlude, 16th in the Kentucky Derby, galloped 1 5/8 miles at Churchill Downs under Peter Hutton, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert. The morning activity came before the renovation break and was followed shortly after by a 1 ½-mile gallop from Fog City Stable and George Bolton’s The Factor.
Baffert is scheduled to return to Louisville from his Southern California base on Sunday night with a work scheduled for The Factor on Monday. Hutton is not sure if a work is in the cards for Midnight Interlude.
“He may do something like he did last year with Lookin At Lucky with a couple of strong gallops,” Hutton said of the 2010 Preakness winner who had run sixth as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. “This horse is different than ‘Lucky.’ He’s got a little more weight. He has been training in blinkers to get him a little more aggressive and it’s working.”
MUCHO MACHO MAN – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing’s Mucho Macho Man jogged a mile and galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Mike Herra Friday morning over the training track at Belmont Park.
The third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby has settled in nicely at Belmont, said trainer Kathy Ritvo.
“I love the training track and he does, too. He likes the training track a lot. That’s where he trained for the Nashua and Remsen,” said Ritvo, whose Florida-bred colt produced back-to-back runner-up finishes in the pair of Grade 2 stakes at Aqueduct last fall.Ritvo said it’s possible that Mucho Macho Man could breeze next Tuesday but it’s also possible that the Risen Star (G2) winner would gallop up to the Preakness.
RULER ON ICE – George and Lori Hall’s Ruler On Ice, who is stabled at Monmouth with trainer Kelly Breen, remains a possible candidate for the Preakness.
SANTIVA – Tom Walters’ Santiva galloped early Friday morning at Churchill Downs under Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally.
Kenneally, who was stabled at Pimlico for the 1995 spring meet, said the sixth-place Kentucky Derby finisher is doing well but that no decision had been reached on Santiva’s Preakness participation.
SARATOGA RED – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Saratoga Red, who is stabled at Churchill Downs with trainer D. Wayne Lukas, will need the list of Preakness probables to dwindle to make the 14-horse field.
SHACKLEFORD – Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Faustino Ramos after the morning renovation break.
Trainer Dale Romans gave the thumbs up to the morning activity for the Kentucky Derby pacesetter who finished fourth behind Animal Kingdom. “It’s on to Pimlico,” Romans said.
SWAY AWAY – Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’s Sway Away jogged a mile at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Keith Davis.
Fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent start, Sway Away is scheduled to work Saturday morning in the first or second set after the track opens at 6 o’clock. Davis is scheduled to be aboard for a likely six-furlong move.
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) candidate Wyomia, who finished second in the Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in her most recent start, breezed a half mile at Pimlico Friday morning. The Curtis Garrison-trained 3-year-old filly was timed in 49 4/5 seconds before galloping out five furlongs in 1:03 1/5.