Porter said Normandy Invasion would make his next start in either the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 27 or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 28. Porter made the decision Sunday.
The animated video lacked only one thing-- mud slowly splotching up the view until our first pair of goggles is pulled down, whereupon the view is instantly clear again, only to be re-splotched, with the process repeated several times! Sorry to hear Jon Court was replaced-- I like that at 52 he’s still in the game.
Silverbell, agreed that its a shame Jon was replaced and frankly putting Mike Smith on WTC after his ride on the Derby is more than a bit puzzling. Mike did nothing more than become a free rabbit for the field.
Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special will have Doug O'Neill trained Richard's Kid.
It is an appropriate homecoming spot for Richard's Kid, a Maryland-bred by Lemon Drop Kid out of Tough Broad originally under the tutelage of trainer Dickie Small.
After a victory in the John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel in 2009 and two more races, the grandson of Broad Brush moved on to the barn of Bob Baffert and became a three-time winner of Grade 1 stakes in California.
Former Maryland riding star Rosie Napravnik, who rode Richard's Kid in his first start on November 8, 2007 at Laurel Park, has the assignment.
Dickie gave Rosie her first rides as a pro racer so this really is a full circle connection!
Ben's Cat will run in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes on the Preakness card for venerable owner-trainer King Leatherbury.
Ben's Cat, Leatherbury's first to topple the $1 million mark in earnings during his storied career, won the race in 2011 but was upset last year, finishing fifth.
Ben's Cat (30 lifetime starts 20-3-1) has been winning machine. I wouldn't dare try to beat him.
The names Buzzy Tenney, Jennifer Patterson and Robbie Medina won't show up on the past performances detailing the progress of any of the horses in McGaughey's care. Such anonymity is part of the deal when one signs up for one of the many supportive roles needed in order for a racehorse to achieve a modicum of success.
While Orb's Kentucky Derby triumph has been held up as the ultimate example of McGaughey's horsemanship, the man himself has repeatedly pointed to his staff as equally deserving of the influx of recognition he has received.
Among the many testaments to McGaughey's skill and character is that his barn is filled with grooms, hotwalkers, riders and assistants that have been with him for years and, in many cases, decades — few as appreciated as the aforementioned trio.
What about Vyjack? Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said a decision on whether to run Gotham Stakes winner Vyjack, who finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby, might not be made until Wednesday when entries are taken. Hmmmm.
In 2009, a blood clot was found in his right leg. After surgery, a massive infection developed. At times, he said he was on a respirator and once went into septic shock. His condition was touch-and-go for the four months he was in the hospital.
After he was released, he continued recuperating at home, with return trips to the hospital when needed. For more than two years, he was rarely seen in public.
"I had 27 operations," he said. "Tubes stuck in you everywhere trying to save you ... I was a sick fellow for a long while. I have today no feeling in my leg. I lost half my foot and I lost the left side of all my quads. It's taken quite a while to get back and be able to walk with a crutch and get around."
Four days after winning the Derby, Phipps went back to the hospital for a checkup.
"I have blood going in my foot and I'm a very happy fellow," he said.
His comments on the Derby:
Winning the Derby has always been a dream, but never a priority in the Phipps way of thinking.
"Sure, something would have been missing if we didn't win, but we've had such a wonderful career in racing that it really wouldn't have been something that was glaring missing," Phipps said. "It does mean a great deal now that we have won it, but we have never tried to force our horses into that race and I just don't think we need to do that."
Not that I watch a lot of works, but Orb's is one of the most impressive that I can remember seeing. It gave me goosebumps. So full of power but still easily within himself. Can't wait for Saturday. I hope he's as good as he looks.
McGaughey's throwback mindset may be key to winning Triple Crown
by Tim Layden
ELMONT, New York -- The truth is, Shug McGaughey and his big horse belong in another time. They belong in a time back when thoroughbred racing was a genuine, mainstream sport in America and not just a television event that NBC could package (quite nicely, don't get me wrong) like Day 5 of the Olympics (only to see it disappear upon conclusion just as quickly as the Games). A time back when hulking racetracks like Pimlico in North Baltimore and Belmont Park in Queens were viable daily entertainment businesses, and not white elephants to be sold off, shut down and destroyed to make way for more practical development (as will be done with Hollywood Park in Los Angeles at the end of 2013). A time back when horses were bred to race classic distances by men of great means and trainers with great patience (and names like "Shug"). When the entire enterprise was somehow dignified.
McGaughey will arrive Tuesday in Baltimore with his Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, to commence final preparations for Saturday's Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown. He arrives center stage in a sport for which he has sacrificed much and loves deeply, and in return, has paid him back with a comfortable and privileged life. That sport has changed much since McGaughey was first smitten by it as a teenaged Kentucky gambler in the mid-1960s and even since he took out his first trainer's license in 1979. McGaughey, however, has scarcely changed at all. He is a throwback trainer with a throwback horse and it's possible that recipe will provide racing with its first Triple Crown in 35 years.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," McGaughey said late last week, as a steady, light rain fell through tall, slender evergreens onto the roof of Barn 20 at Belmont -- home base for trainer, horse and the Phipps Stable. "This is what I got into the sport for, to be competitive in the biggest races."
He is a small man, the rare trainer who can deliver instructions to his riders eye-to-eye (or nearly so), with a dense drawl earned by spending his first three decades in the South. (McGaughey went to the University of Mississippi; he was a freshman and sophomore during Archie Manning's final two years as the Rebels' starting quarterback, an electric time on the Ole' Miss campus and, truthfully, in all of college football history. "When Archie was a junior," says McGaughey, "he was the best college football player I've ever seen, to this day"). He became a full-time trainer at the end of the 70s, one of the greatest decades in the sport's history, when Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed all won Triple Crowns and it seemed like the flow of great racehorses would never end.
Yet from the 1980s onward, racing's business model has changed, in almost every way imaginable. Racetracks emptied in favor of simulcast parlors (and now, Internet wagering), and many, like once-majestic Gulfstream Park in South Florida, were transformed into "Racinos," where live racing was simply a diversion from windowless hours at slot machines. The game itself, with long pauses between races, was overrun by generations seeking ceaseless engagement from their entertainment. The sport aged quickly.
Just as dramatically, the breeding paradigm shifted. Wealthy gentleman breeders who bred their own racing stock were replaced by commercial farms that bred horses for auction at lucrative yearling and two-year-old sales, horse flippers running foaling mills. The genetic composition of the American thoroughbred was altered across several generations, infused with speed and muscle by the likes of prepotent sire Storm Cat (whose stud fee once reached $500,000 for a single mating; Storm Cat died last month at age 30). This trend is frequently and sensibly cited as a reason for the Triple Crown drought. The modern thoroughbred is bred to strut through a yearling sales ring like a model on a runway, or to sprint a furlong in nine seconds flat at a two-year-old sale, not to complete three grueling, classic races in five weeks or to win the Belmont Stakes at 1½ miles.
Keeping these latter-day creatures on the racetrack has required a pharmaceutical revolution that the racing industry is currently trying to arrest. The last two Derby-Preakness doubles -- Big Brown in 2008 and I'll Have Another in 2012 -- were complicated by the doping rap sheets of their trainers, the since-banned Rick Dutrow in '08 and last year, Doug O'Neill, whose record has been clean for a year and who will run Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents back in the Preakness after a disappointing 17-place finish in the Derby as the No. 3 betting choice in the field.
Then there is the combination of McGaughey and Orb. In the 34 years since McGaughey, 62, was certified as a trainer, he has incurred just one medication violation, and that one occurred more than 29 years ago. A three-year-old filly named Adreamer finished fifth in a maiden race on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 1983, at Churchill Downs, and subsequently tested positive for the presence of the local anesthetic procaine. McGaughey received a 10-day suspension that ended four days before Christmas of that same year.
Nearly three decades later, the incident still bothers McGaughey. "It was a vet's mistake," says McGaughey, shaking his head, looking down at the moist dirt in his shadow. Adreamer was owned by John A. Bell III, a respected Kentucky breeder and owner, a Princeton graduate and World War II veteran. "One of the greatest men I ever knew," says McGaughey. "It was one of the hardest things in the world to go over to his house and tell him. His life was all about that filly."
McGaughey hasn't had a drug violation since. "I try to do what's best for the horse," says McGaughey. "We have to use some therapeutics, but you get in trouble when you try to overdo things. I'm sure it's hard for these guys with big stables in multiple states. It's hard for everything to go right."
Trainer Kieran McLaughlin, who won the 2006 Belmont Stakes with Jazil and has also won two Breeders Cup races, says, "Shug is a great horseman. He never forces a situation with a horse for attention or personal gain. Never. He just goes about his day to day job."
Orb, meanwhile, is a majestic bay colt, 16 hands tall and -- McGaughey guesses -- something between 1,000 and 1,100 pounds. He is muscular, yet not thick, and lean, yet not slender. "He's an old-time looking horse," says McGaughey. "He's not like those speedier, blockier-type horses that are very popular today. He's a homebred, with a homebred pedigree on the female side, and I think he's a throwback to all that."
Orb was bred by owners Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps and Stuart S. Janney III, longtime horsemen with deep roots in the history of the game. Like earlier generations, they breed horses with the primary goal of racing them, hence their emphasis is on steady development, rather than sudden growth for a stunning appearance in the sales ring or while working a fast eighth of a mile at a two-year-old sale. (Orb does race using the controversial, but permitted, race-day anti-bleeder medication Lasix, as did all 19 starters in the Kentucky Derby. Janney and Phipps are influential members of The Jockey Club, which has opposed the use of Lasix on race day. McGaughey says, "I wish all the races could be drug-free, but that isn't the way it is, so right now we're just going along with the rules the way they are. If everyone ran without Lasix, that would be fine with me.")
After three and a half decades, it's foolish to describe any horse -- Spectacular Bid, Smarty Jones or the reincarnation of Man o' War -- as seemingly capable of winning the Triple Crown; it's simply been too long. Yet here we tread, perilously. Orb's running style keeps him out of trouble, yet he has shown the tactical speed (in winning the Florida Derby, his last Derby prep) to lurk close to a slow pace. His acceleration is breathtaking, and unlike many big horses, he doesn't struggle to maintain speed and agility on turns. It will be difficult to take him out of a race with strategy alone. Cynics will wonder if he benefited more than others from the sloppy Churchill track, and that won't be clear until -- and if -- Pimlico comes up fast on Saturday afternoon.
McGaughey leans on what he's seen for the last two months, since the five weeks between Orb's victories in the Feb. 23 Fountain of Youth Stakes and the March 30 Florida Derby.
"When he started coming along, I mean, everything changed," says McGaughey. "I was amazed. His physical appearance changed, his attitude, his maturity. He started to get an air about him. I'm not sure the guy next door would notice that, but good horses know they're good horses. He started to act like he knew he was a good horse. And he likes to train."
McGaughey shook his head. He didn't look for a slab of wood to rap with his knuckles, but no doubt he was thinking about it.
"I don't know when it's going to go wrong," he said. "But it's all going great right now." He is at home with his horses, which is true of most trainers, but more true of some. "I like to spend a lot of time at the barn," says McGaughey. "I'm not a grandstand guy. When I was first starting out in the business, people would come to me and ask if I wanted to train some of their horses, and I'd tell them, 'If you're looking for somebody to have lunch with you, don't hire me.' I like to spend a lot of time at the barn."
Yet because this is racing, with its uncompromising hours, there is both pain and pleasure in that, as well. "I've made a lot of sacrifices in my life to do this," says McGaughey. His sons had barely begun school when McGaughey was divorced in the mid 1990s; they grew up with their mother while McGaughey lived in New York. He met his second wife, Alison Hoffman, on a racetrack in Florida; she had grown up in the shadow of Monmouth Park in New Jersey and has worked nearly every job in the business. "There's not a whole lot of social life in this job," says McGaughey. "Luckily, I'm with somebody who that doesn't matter to, either." His barn staff is clogged with longtime employees, including first assistant trainer Buzzy Tenney, 62, who grew up in Lexington with McGaughey and has been at his side since Phipps hired McGaughey in 1985.
In the week since winning the Derby, McGaughey has lost of a chunk of his anonymity. If Orb wins the Preakness, he will lose the rest. The stakes will be raised exponentially, as suddenly his sport will have viewers. McGaughey already bears the scars of a lifetime's wins and losses. He saddled the great filly Personal Ensign to a perfect 13-0 record that ended with a stirring victory over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders Cup. He also watched Pine Island break down in the 2006 Cup. Those are just two.
In his early 30's, he worked for trainer Frank Whiteley, who trained Damascus and Ruffian, the best among many other great horses. "I remember one day, I was sitting on a box at the barn and Mr. Whiteley came over and said, 'You like this, don't you?' I said 'Yes sir, I do.' He said, 'Well, I tried to discourage my son from doing this [David Whitely became a successful trainer]. Let me tell you something, Shug, for every good thing that happens in this business, there's going to be 20 bad ones.' I'm a competitive guy, and I hate to lose. But when I get discouraged, I think about what Mr. Whiteley told me."
McGaughey stands nodding in the rain, looking out far beyond the moment to a place where those good and bad things are squared up in perpetuity, where a Kentucky Derby and just maybe a Preakness and Belmont Stakes are piled higher than all the losses on the other side. And where a horse from another time makes history.
And then on a side note... anybody know if they'll have online coverage and what the link is, if so? LOVED that they had the KY Derby coverage in entirety online!!!!! The only time I miss not having TV coverage is for the triple crown races and the Olympics.
<snip> anybody know if they'll have online coverage and what the link is, if so? LOVED that they had the KY Derby coverage in entirety online!!!!! The only time I miss not having TV coverage is for the triple crown races and the Olympics.
Horse, pre PP selection Odds, Trainer, Jockey
Orb, 1-1, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario
Goldencents, 5-1, Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger
Departing, 6-1, Al Stall Jr., Brian Hernandez Jr.
Mylute, 10-1, Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik
Itsmyluckyday, 10-1, Eddie Plesa Jr., John Velazquez
Will Take Charge, 10-1, D. Wayne Lukas, Mike Smith
Govenor Charlie, 15-1, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia
Oxbow, 15-1, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens
Titletown Five, 20-1, D. Wayne Lukas, Julien Leparoux
Odds by Mike Watchmaker, subject to change after the post-position draw
Television: Saturday, NBC, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Eastern
The name Preakness has been right at the top of the racing vernacular for years, as the second leg of the Triple Crown, yet many people have no idea what or who Preakness is.
There just might be a reason why the Preakness Stakes has been the scene of some of the most bizarre occurrences in the annals of the Triple Crown.
Sloppy tracks, muddy tracks, hard tracks, stifling heat, interference, injuries, a misjudged workout, and a suicidal pace have all had a hand in preventing Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winners from sweeping the Triple Crown.
The Preakness and Preakness Day have also seen a massive power failure on race day; some guy running on the racetrack and throwing a punch at Artax in the final yards of an earlier stakes race; America’s foremost race caller Clem McCarthy calling the wrong winner on a nationwide radio broadcast in 1947; Afleet Alex clipping heels and nearly falling at the quarter pole and still winning in one of the most remarkable recoveries in racing history; Codex and Genuine Risk involved in one of the most heated and controversial incidents ever; and a teletimer malfunction that cost Secretariat a track record that finally was rectified nearly 40 years later.
And how about a horse winning the Kentucky Derby by four lengths and the Belmont by 10 lengths, only to finish second in the Preakness after being blocked at the quarter pole…by his own stablemate? That ignominious incident happened in 1931 to Greentree Stables’s Twenty Grand, who appeared to be making a winning move when his own stablemate, Surf Board, began to tire and backed up right into him, blocking his path. Twenty Grand managed to gather himself and find another run, but his closing rally fell 1 1/2 lengths short of catching the winner…a horse ironically called Mate.
In 1939, Belair Stud’s Johnstown also destroyed his opponents in the Derby, winning by eighth lengths, and the Belmont, winning by five lengths. On Preakness day, a hard steady rain turned the track very muddy, and Johnstown just couldn’t get hold of it, tiring to finish fifth.
So, how ironic was it that Twenty Grand was “wiped out” by a horse named Surf Board, and Johnstown was defeated in a “flood?”
In 1972, Riva Ridge suffered the same fate as Johnstown, easily winning the Derby and Preakness, but floundered over a sloppy track in the Preakness.
There are many ways to lose the Preakness and the Triple Crown, but Chateaugay came up with a new one in 1963. The Darby Dan colt won the Derby and Belmont impressively, but five days prior to the Preakness, trainer Jimmy Conway decided to work him a mile. Conway gave a leg up to his main exercise rider, Carlos Martinez, and told him to go a nice easy mile, between 1:41 and 1:42. But Chateauguay had other ideas and wound up working in 1:37 3/5, which equaled Pimlico’s track record for the mile set back in 1923. A disheartened Conway said after the work, “This was much too fast. I never knew the boy to miss by that much.”
But this was the Preakness, where the unexplainable has become commonplace.
In the race, Chateuagay was three lengths back in a 1:37, which means he ran the mile in the exact same time he did in his work. It was enough to result in a second-place finish to Candy Spots, a colt he defeated in both the Derby and Belmont.
If ever a horse looked as if the Preakness would suit his style more than the Derby and Belmont it was Bold Forbes. But the speedster managed to win the Derby and Belmont, only to lose the Preakness when he wilted badly in the 90-degree temperature and high humidity while setting blazing fractions. In addition, he returned bleeding from his left heel, the result of several nasty cuts suffered during the running of the race.
So, why have so many unusual occurrences plagued the Preakness? Perhaps it traces back to the horse for which the race was named.
In 1868, a group of sportsmen got together at a dinner engagement in Saratoga and decided to form a new stakes race. Maryland governor Oden Bowie, who was in attendance, persuaded the others to stage the event in Baltimore. The governor must haven been extremely persuasive, considering there was no racetrack in Baltimore. He promised, however, that one would be built in time for the race, which was scheduled to debut in 1870. Bowie had put the cart before the race and it worked.
Two years later, the inaugural Dinner Party Stakes was held on schedule. The race was so named because the winning owner was to host the losers at a dinner party following the race.
The new Baltimore track was named Pimlico after…well, who knows? Most of the records of the Maryland Jockey Club were destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. Some say it was named for “Old Ben Pimlico’s Nut Brown Ale,” a favorite in England. Others believe it was named after an island called Pimlyco. Old Baltimore land records of 1699 show that a tract of land known as Pemblicoe was laid out in the same district where the racetrack is located.
The inaugural running of the Dinner Party Stakes was won by a big, coarse-looking colt named Preakness, who was named after a small town in New Jersey.
Years later, after being sent to England to compete in the long-distance Cup races, Preakness was purchased by the Duke of Hamilton for stud purposes.
Unfortunately for Preakness, he developed a bad temper that was matched only by that of his owner’s. One day, the two clashed in Preakness’s stall, with the Duke coming out on the short end. In a fit of anger, he went into his house, grabbed his shotgun, and killed the horse.
The incident enraged English sportsmen around the country, and the furor that resulted in Europe and all the way to America triggered a wave of reform, prompting laws and restrictions for the protection of animals. That law is enforced with such diligence today the Duke’s act surely would have resulted in a jail term and heavy fine.
Through all the crazy misfortunes, the Preakness has remained one of the most popular and enjoyable racing experiences in America. If Orb can get by this race without anything bizarre occurring he will return home the conquering hero and overwhelming favorite to become the first Triple Crown winner in 35 years.
This also is the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown sweep, and what could be more appropriate than having Orb join this elite club, considering Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery (then Penny Tweedy) only got to own Big Red because she lost a coin flip with the late Ogden Phipps, who’s son Ogden Mills (Dinny) co-owns Orb with his cousin Stuart Janney III.
If that isn’t a fitting Preakness storyline, what is?
A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton
This has been a WONDERFUL thread so far - thanks to all of you for posting! I just loved the videos and the interviews with Phipps and McGaughey. It is just SO cool to see a horse trained by a real and respected gentleman, with a classic, carefully-nurtured pedigree, do well on the Triple Crown trail. What a breath of badly-needed fresh air for racing!
And the post position draw .. Shug didn't say he was bothered by the rail position although don't expect him to go gate to wire.
The forecast for Saturday is for a high of 77 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain, according to The Weather Channel.
$1M Grade 1 Preakness Stakes
Pimlico Race Course at 1 3/16 miles PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, DRF Odds
1. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario, 1-1
2. Goldencents, Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger, 5-1
3. Titletown Five, D. Wayne Lukas, Julien Leparoux, 20-1
4. Departing, Al Stall Jr., Brian Hernandez Jr., 6-1
5. Mylute, Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik, 10-1
6. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens, 15-1
7. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Mike Smith, 10-1
8. Govenor Charlie, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia, 15-1
9. Itsmyluckyday, Eddie Plesa Jr., John Velazquez, 10-1
All starters carry 126 pounds
Odds are DRF's Mike Watchmaker
Interestingly is the notable difference (for a smallish field) between the DRF's odds and the official Morning Line by Pimlico - see below
PP#. Horse. Pimlico Odds
#1: Orb (Even)
#2: Goldencents (8-1)
#3: Titletown Five (30-1)
#4: Departing (6-1) #5: Mylute (5-1)
#6: Oxbow (15-1)
#7: Will Take Charge (12-1)
#8: Govenor Charlie (12-1)
#9: Itsmyluckyday (10-1)
Notable is Mylute as the 2nd favorite because of Rosie (!) as the Pimlico odds maker said at the press conference.
$500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Grade 2)
Race 10, 4:47 p.m. EST , 3YO Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Manuka Honey (KY), E S Prado, 122, J P Terranova, II, 10/1
2. Lady Banks (ON), J Pimentel, 116, J L Lawrence, II, 30/1 3. Fiftyshadesofhay (KY), J Rosario, 122, B Baffert, 2/1
4. Petit Trianon (KY), V R Carrasco, 116, J C Vazquez, 20/1
5. Walkwithapurpose (MD), J Lezcano, 122, I Correas, IV, 5/1
6. Maracuya (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, R E Nicks, 6/1
7. Emollient (KY), M E Smith, 122, W I Mott, 9/5
8. Toasting (FL), J Castellano, 116, T Albertrani. 20/1
9. Marathon Lady (FL), R Albarado, 116, S Hobby, 12/1
Blinkers On: Fiftyshadesofhay, Toasting
While Marylanders might lean towards the local gal - Sagamore Farm's Maryland homebred Walkwithapurpose - how can you not like the Cali invader "Fiftyshadeofhay"! She will add blinkers for the first time since she was a maiden and will be ridden by ... ta-da .. white hot jockey Joel Rosario.