Preakness hopeful Abiding Star awaiting lifting of quarantine at Parx base
Edited Preakness press release
Trainer Ned Allard has been forced to alter Abiding Star’s racing schedule this spring due to a quarantine in effect at Parx Racing since April 1 due to equine herpesvirus. The veteran conditioner is hopeful that the quarantine is lifted and he’s able to follow through on his plan to run the son of Uncle Mo in the Preakness (G1).
“We still need the quarantine to be lifted on Tuesday but everything I’ve heard from everyone is that it will be a shock if it’s not,” Allard said.
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.
Abiding Star is riding a five-race winning streak, including a triumph in the $100,000 Parx Derby by 1 3/4 lengths as the 3-5 favorite May 7.
The Florida-bred colt was winless in the first six races of his career before breaking through with a score in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Laurel Park January 1. Stonehedge LLC’s homebred followed up his long-awaited first victory with an allowance win at Parx and a triumph in the Private Terms S. at Laurel March 12. He captured an allowance and the Parx Derby in his last two races.
Although he’s had to call some audibles for Abiding Star and stablemate Always Sunshine, a candidate for the Maryland Sprint H. (G3) on Preakness Day, Allard is optimistic that the quarantine at Parx could ultimately work to his advantage.
“As it’s turned out, at least we were able to find some races in between as far as keeping them racing, and the purses were good. It really hasn’t been as inconvenient as you might think.
“Who knows? It might have been beneficial because they got some races into them, built up their confidence and picked up some money to boot,” Allard said. “We did miss some races, and who knows how they would have turned out? But they had some races and built up their confidence.”
J.D. Acosta is scheduled to ride Abiding Star, who is tentatively scheduled to ship to Pimlico Thursday morning.
Definitely set to arrive Thursday is Awesome Speed, who continues to go through a routine exercise program at his Colts Neck Stable base in New Jersey, galloping Sunday and scheduled for another endurance-building gallop on Monday before a possible final work on Tuesday.
“We may give him an easy breeze on Tuesday, maybe a half-mile,” said trainer Alan Goldberg, who takes no solace in being one of the longer shots in the prospective field. “If I had Nyquist I’d be excited.”
Awesome Speed, a $335,000 son of Awesome Again, earned an automatic berth in the Preakness when he won the Federico Tesio at Laurel on a disqualification on April 9.
“We’ll ship down on Thursday,” said Goldberg, who personally may not come to Pimlico until race day. “It’s about three hours.”
Awesome Speed is 4-for-6 lifetime and has won two of his three starts as a sophomore. He was fourth behind Mohaymen in the Fountain of Youth (G2) before being pushed up over Governor Malibu in the Tesio. Governor Malibu came back to run second in the Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont on Saturday.
The Colts Neck colorbearer won the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream on January 2 and the J.F. Lewis III at Laurel last fall as a 2-year-old.
Abiding Star photo courtesy Taylor Ejdys/Equi-Photo.