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PREAKNESS STAKES NEWS & NOTES

Derby Hero Justify Gallops Amid Less Fanfare

Diamond King Brings Owner Chuck Zacney Full Circle

Good Magic May Seek to Join Good Company in Preakness

DERBY HERO JUSTIFY GALLOPS AMID LESS FANFARE

     BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Justify, the strong favorite for the 143rd running of the May 19 Preakness Stakes (G1), had a second day of routine galloping Friday at Churchill Downs as he prepares for the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. 

After four days of walking in the shedrow following his Derby victory over Good Magic, Justify’s first day back training Thursday was chronicled by a slew of writers, photographers and videographers. Friday’s gallop under exercise rider Humberto Gomez played out amid a more sedate atmosphere but was almost identical otherwise. 

 Justify went to the track accompanied by assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes and Sunny the stable pony, seemingly posing for pictures while waiting for the track to open at 7:30 a.m. following the renovation break. He jogged to the front of the grandstand, turned around and galloped 1 1/2 times around the mile oval before walking back to the barn as the consummate pro.

Among those watching Justify gallop was veterinarian Kevin Dunlavy, who is overseeing Baffert’s veterinary care at Churchill Downs.  

“One of the most remarkable things about him is his capacity for recovery respiratory-wise,” Dunlavy said. “He’ll go out and train, it could be a strong gallop, and within minutes he’s completely caught his breath. His recovery seems maybe superior to the average horse. 

“I think it was Jimmy who remarked that even in the winner’s circle after the Derby, the horse wasn’t out of breath. He’d run a mile and a quarter like that, and to really catch his breath that quickly, it’s unique,” he added. “That’s for sure. What makes him maybe a little more elite than another horse… you have to wonder that, cardiovascular-wise, if he’s not a little superior.” 

Said Barnes: “That’s his normal self out there: high energy level, feeling very good, had a good bounce in his step, going over the track perfect. Couldn’t fault anything he’s doing right now. Everything looks great.”

Asked about Dunlavy’s comments, Barnes said: “He’s come out of all his races quick. He’s one that on that third day (off), he’s wanting to go back to the track. He tells me in the barn and stall; he gets real pushy and that it’s time to go. He got four days this time, but he’s full of himself out there. He’s happy.”  

 

DIAMOND KING BRINGS OWNER CHUCK ZACNEY FULL CIRCLE 

When he steps into the starting gate for the 143rd Preakness next Saturday, Diamond King will have brought Chuck Zacney full circle.

Diamond King will be the first Preakness starter for Zacney, managing partner of co-owner Cash is King, since the syndicate won in 2005 with Afleet Alex – the first horse it ever purchased.

It will also come almost a year to the day after Zacney purchased the Quality Road colt for $235,000 as Hip No. 236 during Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

“The story goes that we got this horse at the sale last May and as soon as I saw him train I never said he’s a [Kentucky] Derby horse. I always said this is a Preakness horse,” Zacney said. “I always had my sights set on the Preakness, and here we are just about a week out.”

Co-owned by Glenn Bennett’s LC Racing and Jonathan and Leonard Green of D.J. Stable, the John Servis-trained Diamond King earned an automatic entry in the Preakness by winning the Federico Tesio Stakes April 21 at Laurel Park. It was his second stakes win, following Laurel’s Heft Stakes in his juvenile finale.

“Being new to the game back in 2005, we never thought we’d have a horse like Alex, and then trying to get there again over the years and realizing how difficult it is,” Zacney said. “That’s why we’re so close. We did the ‘Win-and-You’re In’ in the Tesio, so we’re like, ‘Why not give it a go?’ We did enter in the Peter Pan and I believe we were second choice, but talking to John, the horse is on the upswing, so we figured why not give it a go?” 

Diamond King raced as a juvenile for Philadelphia Park-based trainer Butch Reid before being moved to Servis prior to a third-place finish in the Swale (G3) Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park in his sophomore debut. He won three of four starts at 2, the exception coming in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), in which he clipped heels and lost rider Frankie Pennington. 

“I have to give Butch credit; him and I were the ones that picked Diamond King,” Zacney said. “Butch was at the breeze show, really liked him, and I had him on a short list. I went down to the sale and did the bidding and we did get him. We saw after his December race that we wanted to send him south. John has an operation already at Palm Meadows so rather than reinvent the wheel and have Butch pick up roots and send some help and people down there, it just made sense to transition over to John.”

Diamond King’s name comes from the love of baseball Zacney shares with a few friends who are invested in the colt through Cash is King.         

“A couple buddies of mine have a small slice of the horse. We all got to know each other through baseball,” Zacney said. “I had one of them [Matt Rosenbloom] come up with something related to baseball, and he came up with Diamond King.”Good Magic May Seek to Join Good Company in Preakness

GOOD MAGIC MAY SEEK TO JOIN GOOD COMPANY IN PREAKNESS

Should Good Magic run in the Preakness, the Kentucky Derby runner-up will try to become the eighth 2-year-old male champion to win the Preakness since the advent of the Eclipse Awards in 1971. The 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah is the most recent juvenile champ to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Chad Brown said he will make a final decision on whether e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ Good Magic will be entered in the Preakness Monday.

A total of 16 champions competed in the 45 editions of the Preakness between 1972 and 2017 and compiled an impressive record of 7-5-1. That is a win percentage of 43 percent and an in-the-money rate of 81 percent. In addition to American Pharoah, the winners were Affirmed (1978), Lookin At Lucky (2010), Seattle Slew (1977), Secretariat (1973), Spectacular Bid (1979) and Timber Country (1995). The Juvenile champs who were second in the Preakness: Chief’s Crown (1985), Classic Empire (2017), Easy Goer (1989), Foolish Pleasure (1975) and Street Sense (2007).

Nyquist was third in 2016. Missing the board were Riva Ridge (4th, 1972), Honest Pleasure (5th, 1976) and Forty Niner (7th, 1988). GOOD MOVE MAKES STAKES DEBUT IN ADENA SPRINGS MISS PREAKNESS (G3)

LUKAS-TRAINED DUO CONTINUE PREAKNESS PREPARATION

At Churchill Downs, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained duo of Preakness contenders, Bravazo and Sporting Chance, went out for a gallop as soon as the track opened at 5:30 Friday morning. Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and Robert Baker and William Mack’s Sporting Chance are slated to van to Baltimore Monday, with Lukas estimating an arrival time at Pimlico of 5 p.m.

The Tom Amoss-trained Lone Soldier, considered possible for the Preakness, and Steve Asmussen-trained Tenfold (termed probable) also had routine gallops at Churchill Downs.

At Keeneland, Quip, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and runner-up in the Arkansas Derby (G1), galloped 1 1/2 miles under trainer Rodolphe Brisset. 

Quip had enough points to get into the Derby but was withheld in order to give him extra time before the Preakness. Quip and Justify share ownership with WinStar Farm and China Horse Club. He is scheduled to work early Sunday morning at Keeneland with Brisset aboard. Florent Geroux has the Preakness mount.

Trainer Dallas Stewart said that Givemeaminit no longer is considered possible for the Preakness and will be pointed toward Belmont Park’s Woody Stephens (G2) on the June 9 Belmont Stakes undercard.

Others under Preakness consideration are Ruis Racing’s Bolt d’Oro, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold, and Calumet Farm’s Pony Up.

About Pimlico Race Course

Legendary Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the Middle Jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, American Pharoah and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.

The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.658.7156.