Three wins apiece for Castellano, Dominguez on Preakness Day

Leparoux rides

Prado finishes fourth

  • Ramon Dominguez is winless in eight Preakness races but had a good day in other events Saturday. Here, he rides Virsito to the finish line in the second race of the day. Later, he was aboard First Dude, the second-place finisher in the Preakness.
Ramon Dominguez is winless in eight Preakness races but had… (Baltimore Sun photo by Jerry…)
May 16, 2010|By From Sun staff reports

Javier Castellano, the jockey who won the 2006 Preakness aboard Bernardini, and Ramon Dominguez, who rode in eight Preaknesses but has never won, each captured three races on Preakness Day.

Castellano won the James W. Murphy Stakes, the seventh race of the Preakness card, aboard Beau Choix. He finished 13/4 lengths ahead of Garret Gomez, aboard Manhattan Fox.

Aboard Northpoint Costas, a 4-year-old chestnut gelding who was foaled in Maryland, Castellano finished two lengths ahead of Midnite Communion in the fourth race of the day. Castellano and his mount took the lead early and never relinquished it.

In his first race, aboard Primary Witness, a 4-year-old bay colt, Castellano dueled with Julien Leparoux, aboard Kurbat, down the stretch and won by half a length in a seven-horse field.

Dominguez won the second race of the Preakness card in a 10-horse field aboard Virsito, beating Midnite Communion by two lengths. He secured a dominant win in the fifth race aboard Lighthouse Sound, winning by 31/4 lengths in a crowded 14-horse field.

His third win was aboard Strike a Deal in the $200,000 Dixie Stakes. Dominguez and Strike a Deal began the 1 1/8-mile race strong, moving quickly to the head of the pack and staying there through the homestretch, beating Just as Well by three-quarters of a length.

Dominguez was aboard First Dude, the second-place finisher in the Preakness, his best finish in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Leparoux rides after injury

Leparoux, who experienced chest and rib pain after being unseated by Diva Delite in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday, had no broken bones and rode in the Preakness.

Leparoux, 26, had eight mounts, including riding Pleasant Prince in the Preakness. The Eclipse Award winner finished second on Kurbut in the first race Saturday and didn't place in the second race.

Leparoux went to Sinai Hospital after going down with Diva Delite when the 3-year-old filly clipped heels with CC's Pal. According to Fanny Salmon, a TV producer with HRTV, Leparoux had sore muscles from the fall.

Prado finishes fourth

Edgar Prado shook his head and smiled. It is three hours before the Preakness, and the jockey was talking about a large obstacle in his career that he had yet to clear.

Prado, 42, who rode Yawanna Twist to a fourth-place finish in the Preakness, raced in Maryland for years. Long popular in racing circles, he became even better known because he was the rider when Barbaro broke down at the Preakness after handily winning the Kentucky Derby in 2006.

Prado is now 0-for-14 in the Preakness.

"I rode here for so many years," he said. "It [winning the Preakness] would be a thank-you to all my friends who come out."

Prado said he's not thinking about retirement and has many more races in him.

Lukas advocates for change

D. Wayne Lukas has made a fortune training horses and winning Triple Crown races with the current setup. But for the good of the sport, the 74-year-old legend continues to advocate for change.

Lukas, as he prepared his two horses, Dublin and Northern Giant, for Saturday's Preakness run, said horse racing will never regain the lofty status it held nearly a century ago unless all the tracks that make up the Triple Crown act under one umbrella, forming essentially a horse racing association akin to the four major professional sports leagues in the United States.

The current model has all tracks working independently of one another.

Lukas said horse racing needs a commissioner.

"I don't think we'll ever come full cycle in racing unless we get — like the NFL or NBA — a commissioner and a league. Churchill cannot be independent of Pimlico. Everybody has to be in," Lukas said.

Lukas has won the Preakness five times and the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes four times each. He was the first trainer to earn more than $100 million in prize money and was the year's top money winner 14 times.

His first Triple Crown win came in 1980 with Codex, and Lukas has spent much of the past 30 years doing what he believes will make the sport better.

Some of his ideas have been revolutionary — such as flying horses to races three days before the event. Others are rather benign but noticeable nonetheless, such as planting flowers outside his horse's stall.

"They used to say he can't train a horse but he's a damn good gardener," Lukas said.

His biggest fight, though, has been the fundamental structure of horse racing, which he has railed against for years.

"I talked to Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys' owner, and he said if the league turned him loose, he'd make so much more money because he could do all kind of innovative things. But when he gets in the room with other owners, he has to look out for Cleveland," Lukas said. "In horse racing, everybody looks out for their own selfish interests. We've got to get under one umbrella."

Machowsky values loyalty

Trainer Michael Machowsky has heard racing insiders question why he stayed with jockey Paul Atkinson to ride atop Caracortado for the Preakness.

Atkinson is viewed more as a journeyman in the industry rather than a top-notch rider. Several insiders believe Caracortado, who opened at 10-1 odds, to be one of the field's best all-around horses.

"If we made a change and if we got lucky enough to win the race, Paul is such a great guy, I wouldn't be able to enjoy it that much," Machowsky said. "That's the way you try to live your life."

Caracortado won his first five starts before finishing third and the fourth at the Santa Anita Derby, costing him a chance at the Kentucky Derby.

Atkinson has been aboard the gelding in all seven starts.

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