It was a typical workout for Papa Clem on Pimlico Race Course's main track Tuesday - underwhelming if not slightly disappointing.
The Kentucky Derby's fourth-place finisher ran a leisurely five furlongs in 1 minute, 5 seconds, a time his trainer said he wished were faster. But the result didn't come as a surprise for Gary Stute, who said his horse doesn't prepare for races well, yet has a way of turning it on when needed.
"All of his workouts before the Derby were bad except the last one," said Stute, whose father, Mel, won the Preakness 23 years ago with Snow Chief. "I never really thought of him [Papa Clem] as a Derby horse because he never really trained like one. But every time he's run, he's run a lot better than he trained."
Stute said he expects Papa Clem will come through again in Saturday's 134th Preakness, although he acknowledged his chances of winning took a hit when Rachel Alexandra entered the field this week. Still, Papa Clem gives Stute a chance to become part of a rare father-son tandem to win a Triple Crown race.
Mel Stute won the 1986 Preakness when Snow Chief knocked off favorite Badger Land. Gary Stute remembers sitting next to his father and proclaiming victory that day when Snow Chief was about four jumps from the wire with a four-length lead. For a brief moment, he said his dad was "the maddest I've ever seen him," until the horse crossed the finish line two seconds later for the win.
"Originally, he was trying not to come [on Saturday], but I kind of insisted," Gary Stute said. "I thought I was going to win, but that was before the filly entered. I still wanted him here just in case."
A horse set to race in Saturday's Preakness was involved in a minor accident en route to Pimlico on Tuesday after a car hit the side of the trailer carrying him, driver Maurice Poe said.
General Quarters was not hurt in the accident, which happened on Falls Road near the Interstate 83 intersection. The horse is owned and trained by Thomas R. McCarthy, who told reporters that "everything is fine" as the horse was loaded into his stable.
No one was injured. The trailer sustained a small dent.
Keep the Preakness
Friesan Fire trainer Larry Jones was asked about the economic uncertainty at Pimlico, and whether he can envision the Preakness somewhere else.
"I have no clue how it would work. This is part of the institution of the Triple Crown. The Preakness right here at Pimlico. Can you imagine the Preakness at Arlington Park? No, that wouldn't work. I'm old school."
Luv Gov jockey
Jockey Jamie Theriot will ride Luv Gov in the Preakness, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. Theriot replaces Miguel Mena.