Crowded Trade Must ‘Step Up’ in May 15 Preakness (G1)

May 5th, 2021

Medina Spirit ‘Moving Well’ in Morning Jog 

Keepmeinmind Back to Track for Likely Preakness Run

Asmussen ‘Happy’ with Midnight Bourbon’s Return to Track

BALTIMORE, MD | May 5th, 2021 – Four years after securing his first victory in a Triple Crown race in the Preakness Stakes (G1), trainer Chad Brown is aiming Crowded Trade for Pimlico Race Course’s signature event on May 15.

Cloud Computing, a 13-1 long shot co-owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, won the 2017 Preakness by a head over Classic Empire. Klaravich is the sole owner of Crowded Trade, who has been on course for the Preakness since finishing third in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct on April 3. 

Brown said Wednesday by phone from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. that Crowded Trade is scheduled to work this weekend, probably on Saturday, weather permitting. 

“Assuming he works well, I’m planning on coming to Pimlico and trying the Preakness,” Brown said. 

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano is booked to ride the colt in the Preakness.

 Brown’s only other Preakness starter was Good Magic, who ended up fourth in a tight finish of the memorably fog-shrouded 2018 running won by eventual Triple Crown champion Justify.

Crowded Trade is a work in progress for Brown, the four-time Eclipse champion trainer. After breaking his maiden by six furlongs Jan. 28 at Aqueduct, the son of More Than Ready finished second by a nose to Weyburn in the Gotham (G3) before going on to the Wood.

  “He’s got to step up off his last race and prove he can get the distance,” Brown said. “In both of his last starts, as we have stretched him out, he has come up a little short through the stretch. He makes a good move and he sort of hung a little bit both starts. The distance is definitely a question mark, but he seems like a horse that’s improving.”

Although Crowded Trade had enough qualifying points to make it into the field, Brown opted to skip the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) and wait for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

“We specifically sat out the Derby to try to give him a little bit more time in between starts and try a slightly shorter distance than the Derby,” Brown said. “As of right now, we’re still following that thought process to give it a try.”

Medina Spirit ‘Moving Well’ in Morning Jog

Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit returned to the track pre-dawn Wednesday morning for the first time since winning Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), jogging a mile around Churchill Downs under exercise rider Humberto Gomez. Jimmy Barnes, Bob Baffert’s assistant who is overseeing the training of the horses at Churchill Downs while the Hall of Fame trainer tends to business at his California base, was on the pony accompanying Medina Spirit around the track.

“Very pleased with what we saw,” Barnes said. “He was moving very well and very happy. That’s the main thing. It’s kind of a cool morning, so that’s a good training day for a horse.”

Barnes also expressed pleasure with Baffert-trained Concert Tour’s morning gallop around the Churchill track under Gomez.

“He was strong,” Barnes said. “I like what I’m seeing. I’ve always liked Concert Tour. By not running in the Derby, he’s real fresh now. He’s had plenty of time between races.”

Gary and Mary West’s homebred son of Street Sense, who impressively captured the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn, was kept out of the Derby after sustaining his first loss while finishing third in the Arkansas Derby (G1).

Barnes said both horses will train Thursday following the 7-7:30 a.m. track renovation break at Churchill Downs.

Keepmeinmind Back to Track for Likely Preakness Run

Trainer Robertino Diodoro said a final decision will be made by Saturday but that Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Keepmeinmind is likely to run in the May 15 Preakness at Pimlico as long as he continues to do well in the aftermath of his Kentucky Derby (G1) seventh-place finish.

Keepmeinmind closed from last of 19 horses, rallying from about 20 lengths back and being forced eight-wide, to lose by a total of 8 1/2 lengths behind triumphant Medina Spirit. 

Keepmeinmind resumed training at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning, jogging two miles.

“We’ll give him a couple of days of going back to the track to make sure everything is OK and we’ll discuss it with the owner group and make a decision by Saturday,” Diodoro said by phone from Hot Springs, Ark. “A guy never wants to be happy with seventh. But if you really watch the replay close, he was one of the few horses, maybe the only one, running at the end. He did get fanned out into the middle of the racetrack at the top of the lane. I think the track was starting to get very dry, and I think that’s why he was one of the few horses running at the end. And he had a strong gallop-out.

“We were happy to get him back to his old running style, where we got the blinkers off and got him to relax the first part of it,” he added. “We just want to make sure we do right by the horse. So far, he’s ate up and he’s doing good, so we’ll just give him a few more days to make sure he’s 100 percent. If he’s not 100 percent, we’ll just take a step back. But right now, we’re moving forward. But again, we want to make sure we do what’s right by him, and not what we want to do. We want to let him tell us what he wants to do.”

Diodoro said David Cohen will be back aboard if Keepmeinmind runs in the Preakness.

Keepmeinmind showed last year that he can be competitive with the best of his generation. The son of Laoban started his career with a pair of seconds, the latter at 52-1 odds in Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), won by beaten Derby favorite Essential Quality.

Diodoro added blinkers for Keepmeinmind’s next start, a third-place finish at 30-1 odds behind Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). In the Kentucky Derby, Essential Quality was fourth, losing by a total of a length, while Hot Rod Charlie was third.

Keepmeinmind’s Derby prep schedule was hampered by inclement weather and postponed races in Arkansas. He finished sixth in his 3-year-old debut in Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes (G2), won by Preakness contender Concert Tour, and then was fifth in Keeneland’s Blue Grass (G2). The blinkers subsequently came off for the Derby.

“His running style is another thing I like about coming back in two weeks,” Diodoro said. “He really only runs the last three-eighths of a mile. That’s the comment Cohen made, too. He just gallops. The other day he got back to his old running style where he just gallops along the first part of it, was nice and relaxed and takes one run at them the last three-eighths. I think his running style is more suitable when you have to come back in two weeks.”

Asmussen ‘Happy’ with Midnight Bourbon’s Return to Track

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon, sixth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) after taking second in the Louisiana Derby (G2), resumed training early Wednesday morning. The son of Tiznow jogged around the Churchill Downs track under exercise rider Wilson Fabian for a possible start in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico.

 Trainer Steve Asmussen said it was premature to make a final decision on the Preakness but that he’s pleased with what he’s seen so far from Midnight Bourbon since the Derby.

“I’m happy with how he went back to the track,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who won the 2007 Preakness with two-time Horse of the Curlin and in 2009 with the filly Rachel Alexandra, also voted Horse of the Year. “The racetrack is a little bit wet this morning, but he handled it nicely. There’s no reason to make the decision today. There’s no upside.”

If Midnight Bourbon runs in the Preakness, he’ll need a new rider with Mike Smith riding Concert Tour for trainer Bob Baffert. That is not among Asmussen’s worries.

“There are six less riders in the Preakness than there is the Derby,” he said. “Somehow you figure it sorts itself out.”

Rombauer, Unbridled Honor and France Go de Ina are also expected to run in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Mandaloun, Caddo River and Ram are on the list of possibles.