'He might have hit the board in the Derby' & other quotes on Preakness 2016
Selected quotes from Monday’s Preakness notes
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who seeks a record-tying seventh Preakness (G1) victory with Collected:
“He’s fast. He’s won on turf and dirt, which makes him an exceptional horse. The only bad race he had was in the Southwest (G3), where he got away slow. He never got engaged and just ran fourth.
“We never really discussed the Kentucky Derby (G1) with him. The Preakness has always been the long-range plan for him, but we just took it a race at a time. We were basically running him, trying to make some money and have some fun with him.
“Even if he had the points, I don’t think we would have run in the Derby at a mile and a quarter. The way it looks like now, he might have hit the board in the Derby. He’s a pretty solid, consistent horse.”
Keita Tanaka on Japan’s hopeful Lani, who had a day of rest at Belmont Park after his Sunday training session:
“The morning he had completely off. This is following the routine that is common in Japan.
“He is nice and happy. He ate everything we gave him.”
On Lani’s work scheduled for Wednesday, when trainer Mikio Matsunaga will be on hand:
“It’s just a matter of how far we’re going to go. We’re definitely going on Wednesday, if everything is right.
“I understand that this is totally different from what American trainers do, but this is pretty normal for Japanese trainers, to give a final workout, either on Wednesday or Thursday, before a horse has a race on the weekend.”
On the hospitality of trainer Barclay Tagg’s barn:
“It’s the closest to the track, so it’s very convenient. And Mr. Tagg and his team are super supportive of my team. I really appreciate his support.”
Trainer Eric Guillot on Laoban, excluded from the Derby as No. 21 on the points list, who will shed the blinkers and pick up a new rider in Ricardo Santana Jr.:
“He’s doing good; the horse is great. He leaves Louisville tomorrow morning to catch a plane at 9 o’clock.
“It [failing to make the Derby field] was probably the best thing for the horse. I’ve got a fresh horse, you know.”
Jockey Corey Lanerie on his Preakness debut aboard Cherry Wine, excluded from the Derby as No. 22 on the points list, who is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday:
“I never have ridden there. I will have a couple of mounts Saturday before the Preakness.”
“I never had been on him until that race [maiden win at Churchill last November]. It was an off-the-turf race and it was hard to get a gauge on him, but he came home real fast and handled the mud just fine. I don’t think I moved on him.
“He impressed me a lot that day [his January 9 entry-level allowance romp at Gulfstream Park]. A lot of horses don’t handle that kick-back well, but he did and he just ran right by them. I had a real good gauge on him then.”
Assistant trainer Norman Casse on Fellowship, who plans to arrive at Pimlico early Tuesday after vanning from Churchill Downs:
“I think that Fellowship is doing really well. He came out of the Pat Day Mile (G3) (fourth) with good energy and he’s really been full of himself in the morning.
“I actually thought he ran really well in the Pat Day Mile. It was a tough thing to do to cut him back to a one-turn mile after routing him all winter. It seemed like the horse that won the race (Sharp Azteca) did something that was rather unique. He went really fast early, drew off and that doesn’t seem to happen very often, so we thought he ran well.”
Trainer Alan Goldberg on Awesome Speed, who is gearing up at Colts Neck Stables in New Jersey:
“We’ll probably breeze him tomorrow.
“My chances are long now. I think he’s a way long shot.”
Trainer Ned Allard on the waiting game with Abiding Star, who’s been stuck in the Parx quarantine that is expected to lift soon:
“The blood’s being drawn this morning. There are 14 horses. I’ve been told we could hear as early as late this afternoon. If not, I’m sure we’ll hear the first thing in the morning.”
On the step up in class to face the big leagues in Baltimore:
“I haven’t met any Muhammad Alis yet. He just does what he has to do. Let’s hope he can do it with a little better horses.”
Note on Parx shippers: Maryland Jockey Club is prepared to take special precautions for Parx-based horses shipping to Pimlico, should the quarantine be lifted. Parx horses would train at 5 a.m. (EDT) before regular training hours and would be housed in isolation stalls on the Pimlico backstretch, far from the Preakness Stakes Barns.
Collected photo courtesy Keeneland/Coady Photography