Lukas not short on confidence

Five-time Preakness-winning trainer wants No. 6

May 14, 2010|By Brent Jones, The Baltimore Sun

Ever the straight shooter, trainer D. Wayne Lukas was forthright about Northern Giant's likelihood of giving him a sixth Preakness win.

Northern Giant opened at 30-1 odds, tied for the longest in the field, and is racing from the No. 4 post.

"We're taking a little swing at the fences, obviously," Lukas said. "We don't have any grandiose ideas that we're going to sweep by everybody and upset them that much, but we feel like maybe we can get a piece of it and keep things interesting. … Like there are no ugly brides on a wedding night, there are no bad holes here at the Preakness."

If Lukas, 74, is to add another Preakness to his resume, his best chance comes from Dublin, who finished seventh on a wet track at the Kentucky Derby.

Dublin, who will run from the outside post, was one of the first horses on the track at 5:30 a.m. Thursday. Jockey Garrett Gomez will ride Dublin, replacing Terry Thompson. Gomez rode Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky to a disappointing finish and was not asked to ride the horse for the Preakness by trainer Bob Baffert.

Lukas, though, called Gomez the Peyton Manning of jockeys and quickly picked him up.

"Bob realizes I'm getting down in years and there will not be many more opportunities to run in the Preakness," Lukas said. "He felt sorry for me and said, 'Look, if you want my rider, just take him. It's OK.'"

Lukas, of course, was joking. Baffert made the change because he thinks Martin Garcia gives him a better chance at winning, and Lukas picked up Gomez because he thinks he will put Dublin in a better position for a late charge. He will discuss strategy before the race and will urge the rider to have Dublin make his move a little later than he has been, well after the half-mile mark.

Dublin's bad draw has hurt Lukas' chances, but he still had his outward confidence on full display. He knows why he still is doing this.

"There isn't anybody else here with five Preaknesses or four Derbies. Why would you get up at 3:30 every day of your life if you didn't keep score? I want No. 6 here," Lukas said. "I want a couple more Derbies. When they ask who won the most of them, I don't want you to stutter. I want it on the tip of your tongue."

Super Saver has light workout

Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver hit the track about 6:30 a.m., jogging once around the oval.

It was Super Saver's first workout since arriving at Pimlico on Wednesday afternoon.

"The track was sloppy, and we weren't looking to do much, but I thought he handled everything really well," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He had a good night; rested well and cleaned up his grain. His energy level is very good. It seems like he's shipped in as well as we could have hoped."

Caracortado is 'Scarface'

Trainer Michael Machowsky said during the annual Alibi Breakfast that Caracortado's name is Spanish for "Scarface." It was given after Machowsky first saw the horse, who was recovering from a severe gash on his nose.

The California-bred gelding jogged around the Pimlico track Thursday morning.

Schoolyard Dreams

Derek Ryan, the trainer for Schoolyard Dreams, said he will bring the horse down today, a day ahead of schedule.

Ryan said the colt ran a couple of miles at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, and with that track in bad condition, he decided for a change of plans.

Ryan had originally planned to make the 21/2-hour trip Saturday, as he did with Musket Man last year. Musket Man finished third in the Preakness.

Schoolyard Dreams has run two-turn races since October, his best outing coming when he lost in a three-horse photo finish in the Tampa Bay Derby but finished ahead of Super Saver. The horse is running from the No.2 position.

"He's a good horse," Ryan said. "I think he fits here. It looks like all the speeds are on my outside, so I think I'll be sitting in the second tier, hopefully about five or six [lengths] off the early leaders."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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