Safe flight, arrival for Street Sense soothe Nafzger

Hard Spun comes by van from Delaware



May 17, 2007|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN REPORTER

Trainer Carl Nafzger was pacing like an expectant father in the stakes barn area of Pimlico Race Course, awaiting the arrival of Street Sense yesterday.

Nafzger had driven from Kentucky to Maryland with his wife, Wanda, ahead of the flight carrying the Kentucky Derby victor while the threat of a thunderstorm loomed in the area and was relieved when Street Sense arrived and was led safely to Stall 40.

"He let down. He's nice and quiet," said the trainer before he was whisked away by a driver to the post-position draw in the Inner Harbor.

Street Sense jogged yesterday morning at Churchill Downs before boarding the plane and having a safe flight. He arrived at the track shortly after 4 p.m.

Hard Spun arrives

Hard Spun arrived by van from Delaware Park and trainer Larry Jones continued to hope for a home-track advantage.

"I'm hoping he [Street Sense] is just better at Churchill than he is at some other tracks," said Jones, who gave the Kentucky Derby runner-up some exercise yesterday morning without conducting a formal workout. "Hopefully, our horse is a sentimental choice and everybody is going to be rooting for us."

Hard Spun is guided by Mario Pino, Maryland's all-time winningest rider, who was aboard for the final gallop. Jones said Pino will have a lot of latitude in how he rides the Preakness.

"We didn't know until 30 minutes before the Derby that we were going to try to ease to the front and go to the rail," said the trainer.

`First Class' respect

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas shouldered the blame for Flying First Class' bad race in the Rebel, and said the colt had all kinds of trouble a month later in the Arkansas Derby. Curlin won both races.

Flying First Class came back to win the Derby Trial easily and jockey Mark Guidry told Lukas: "I didn't think he was going that fast. Whether he goes a mile and three-sixteenths is everybody's guess."

Guidry figures to take his mount quickly to the front and hopes to control the pace. "I think they'll respect us a little bit," Lukas said. "We're too dangerous not to."

A five-time Preakness winner, Lukas acknowledges that Street Sense deserves the favorite's role because of his "extreme acceleration. I think he's beatable ... but I don't think I'd bet against him either."

Curlin to gallop

Curlin, third in the Derby, arrived without incident under the direction of Steve Asmussen's assistant trainer, Scott Blasi. Asmussen will arrive tomorrow after attending his grandmother's funeral.

"He's taken it well," Blasi said of Curlin. "He's done quite a bit of traveling."

Curlin will gallop this morning before the Alibi Breakfast and get some gate schooling tomorrow morning.

Et cetera

Todd Pletcher's duo, Circular Quay and King of the Roxy, galloped at Belmont Park and will be vanned to Pimlico after some training this morning. ... Withers runner-up C P West completed his conditioning at Belmont Park and will gallop at Pimlico today. Mint Slewlep has settled in after being the first to arrive at the stakes barn while Xchanger galloped at Fair Hill and is scheduled to come to Pimlico tomorrow.

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