Lani settling in at Belmont before Preakness run
Edited Press Release
Lani, the Koji Maeda-owned gray colt, drew headlines when he became just the second Japan-based horse to compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He ended up finishing ninth in the Run for the Roses while steadily making up ground after a slow start, doing better than Ski Captain’s 14th placing in 1995 as the first horse from Japan to compete in the race.
The temperamental son of Tapit is now settling in at Belmont Park before running in the $1.5 Preakness S. (G1) at Pimlico on May 21.
Lani, who is being stabled in Barclay Tagg's barn, is scheduled to have his first breeze since the Kentucky Derby on Sunday at 7 a.m. (ET).
Trainer Mikio Matsunaga is expected to arrive at Belmont on Tuesday, according to Keita Tanaka, an agent for the owner, and is scheduled to leave with Lani for Pimlico on Thursday to race in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Lani, who was flown more than 5,000 miles from Japan to Dubai, won the U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) on March 26 at Meydan Racecourse and then was flown more than 7,000 miles from Dubai to the United States before being quarantined at Arlington in Chicago. Once cleared, he was moved an additional 330 miles to Louisville, Kentucky.
The well-traveled Lani, who has three overall victories in seven starts for career earnings of $1,366,618, is now getting adjusted to Belmont Park.
"He's settled in very well," said Tanaka, who added that Lani will return to New York immediately after the Preakness in preparation for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 11.
"He likes the surroundings here. It's nice and quiet,” Tanaka explained. “When we were at Churchill last week, there were a lot of people in the barns so he seems to like it much better here and he definitely likes the bigger track (at Belmont)."
Lani photo courtesy of Churchill Downs/Coady Photography