Preak­ness

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

Tampa Derby in March be­fore fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the Arkansas Derby.

While un­beaten Jus­tify comes in with just two weeks’ rest — the quick­est turn­around of his ca­reer — Quip en­ters the Preak­ness com­ing off an ex­tended break.

“Quip is a horse that has shown qual­ity at the high­est level,” Walden said. “We feel like he could have run in the Ken­tucky Derby, but we wanted to give him a chance to catch up to him­self. He’s a slight-made horse we felt like would do bet­ter with the five weeks rest.”

Quip had a pair of wins last year be­fore stag­ger­ing to a sev­enth-place show­ing in the Grade 2 Ken­tucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in Novem­ber.

In ret­ro­spect, that might have been a turn­ing point.

“He’s changed a lot,” Bris­set said. “After the Ken­tucky Jockey Club, we gave him a cou­ple of weeks off and you could see the mat­u­ra­tion. You still have to be a lit­tle care­ful when he’s around too many horses, but he’s way more pro­fes­sional.”

Well, Quip —the third choice at 12-1 — will have only seven other horses to con­tend with on Satur­day. Two of them will be sad­dled by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Lukas brings back Bravazo, who fin­ished sixth in the Derby, along with Sport­ing Chance.

Un­like the rest of the first­time Triple Crown par­tic­i­pants, Sport­ing Chance is no fresher than the Derby horses. Sport­ing Chance (30-1) also ran at Churchill Downs on May 5, tak­ing fourth in the Pat Day Mile.

Asked to as­sess the chances of both his en­trants Satur­day, Lukas shrugged his shoul­ders and saluted Jus­tify’s im­pres­sive per­for­mance at the Derby.

“I don’t have a lot of con­fi­dence if he runs that same race. Let’s be hon­est, at 82 you get more re­al­is­tic,” Lukas said. “If he’s the best horse, so be it. We’ll throw the bouquets his way and salute him as a sec­ond-leg win­ner and go on to the Bel­mont. But we’ll try to get the best piece of this we can.”

Ten­fold (20-1) be­gan rac­ing this year. Sired by 2007 Preak­ness win­ner Curlin, the dark brown colt won his first two races be­fore fad­ing to third in the Arkansas Derby last month.

“We have a fresh horse; he’s put on weight since the Arkansas Derby and he’s trained re­ally well at Churchill Downs,” as­sis­tant trainer Scott Blasi said. “The tim­ing is good for us for this race.”

If the track is soggy, that would be even bet­ter. Curlin earned 2007 Horse of the Year hon­ors after slog­ging to vic­tory in the muddy Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic.

“With all this wet weather, him be­ing a Curlin, he steps up with the sloppy track and moves for­ward,” Blasi said.

Trained by John Servis, Di­a­mond King (30-1) won the Fed­erico Te­sio Stakes at nearby Laurel Park in April. While Di­a­mond King prob­a­bly doesn’t have the speed and stamina of Jus­tify, he does trainer who won the Ken­tucky Derby and jockey Javier Castel­lano, who guided Cloud Com­put­ing to vic­tory at last year’s Preak­ness.

“We’ve got a top jockey and the horse is do­ing re­ally well,” co-owner Chuck Zac­ney said.

Baf­fert has al­ready beaten three of the horses in the field. Though he’s never faced the oth­ers, they cer­tainly have grabbed his at­ten­tion.

“You’ve got new shoot­ers,” Baf­fert said. “John Servis didn’t come for the crab cakes. Then you’ve got Quip. And Wayne? You can’t count Wayne Lukas out. That’s when he does the most dam­age, when no­body’s talk­ing about him, he’s un­der the radar. He still knows his horses and he’s up here for a rea­son.”

CHAR­LIE RIEDEL — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas brings back Bravazo, who fin­ished sixth in the Derby, along with Sport­ing Chance, to take on Derby win­ner Jus­tify on Satur­day in the Preak­ness.

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