Key workouts by four major Preakness contenders are planned this morning at Pimlico and Churchill Downs. The Preakness is Saturday at Pimlico.
Here in Baltimore, A P Valentine will breeze for his trainer, Nick Zito.
"It won't be anything fancy," Zito said.
At Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the Bob Baffert-trained pair of Congaree and Point Given will work an expected five furlongs each. Congaree, third in the Kentucky Derby, and Point Given, fifth in the Derby, would likely be the main threats in the Preakness to Monarchos, the Kentucky Derby winner.
Also at Churchill Downs, Dollar Bill will breeze for his trainer, Dallas Stewart. Stewart said the Peaks and Valleys colt has bounced back well from his troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby.
"He's galloping great and training great," Stewart said. "If he works well, which we think he will, and goes out there and does everything right, we're going to run [in the Preakness]."
Stewart said Pat Day would again ride Dollar Bill, despite three straight races in which the colt with Day aboard encountered trouble.
"We don't know who he can outrun and who he can't," Steward said of his colt. "It's not fair to him. He needs a shot, that's all."
The other Preakness contender at Churchill Downs, the Elliott Walden-trained Mr. John, is expected to breeze tomorrow. The four Churchill horses are booked on a flight Wednesday to Maryland.
Monarchos jogged yesterday at Pimlico after a strong gallop the day before. Plans call for him to gallop this morning in what may be the equivalent of his final serious workout before the Preakness.
John Ward Jr., his trainer, said that Monarchos gallops so strongly that he gets as much or more out of them as other horses get out of breezes. Breezes are faster, at near-race speed, but harder on horses.
Percy Hope breezes
Percy Hope worked his way into the Preakness field with a sharp breeze at Pimlico. The Lone Star Derby winner covered a half-mile in 47 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in one minute flat.
"It was a very good work, and he did it well within himself," said Tony Reinstedler, his trainer, before flying back to Kentucky to run a horse at Churchill Downs.
Bay Eagle undecided
Bay Eagle, the Preakness contender trained by H. Graham Motion, breezed five furlongs in 1 minute, 1 second at Delaware Park.
Motion said he was pleased with the work but still undecided on whether the Virginia-bred colt would contest in the Preakness. Bay Eagle has won two of 10 races. His lone stakes victory was the Private Terms in March at Pimlico.
Richly Blended, the expected pacesetter in the Preakness, arrived yesterday at Pimlico after a three-hour van ride from Monmouth Park. Bred for sprinting, the son of Rizzi has won four of five races, none farther than one mile. His lone setback came in the 1 1/8 -mile Wood Memorial Stakes. ... Griffinite is in need of a jockey for the Preakness after Jose Santos broke his wrist falling from a horse at Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois. Griffinite's trainer, Jennifer Leigh-Pedersen, said she would consult with the colt's owner, Ernie Paragallo, before recruiting a rider. ... Marciano cleared the final hurdle on his way to running in the Preakness. He was scratched from the Francis Jock Labelle Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park. Stabled at Delaware with trainer Tim Ritchey, Marciano would ship to Pimlico the morning of the Preakness.