THE 131 ST FIELD

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ENTRY INFORMATION COMPILED BY KEN MURRAY

SUN REPORTER

RACING COMMENTS BY SANDRA MCKEE

SUN REPORTER

1 - LIKE NOW

ODDS 19-1

COLOR BAY

JOCKEY - Garrett Gomez -- Replaced regular rider, 18-year-old Fernando Jara, at the request of the owner. Ranked fifth in the nation in purse earnings last year with $14,221,321 and his 245 wins led all Southern California riders.

TRAINER - Kiaran McLaughlin -- Lexington, Ky., native who got his start under D. Wayne Lukas and established himself in Dubai. His main client is Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Shadwell Farm.

OWNERS - John J. Dillon -- A Villanova graduate and former Air Force officer, Dillon helped establish a corporation that sponsored Joe Frazier as a young fighter. Is licensed in five states.

BREEDING - Breeder -- John Dillon Jr. (Fla.)

Bloodlines -- Jules out of Can't Bluff Me

Foaled -- April '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 4 starts, 3 wins, 1 place ($253,457)

2005 -- 4 starts, 1 win, 1 place ($25,475)

Comment -- McLaughlin could have chosen to run Like Now in the Kentucky Derby, but he didn't. Now, he has a fresh horse with sprinter's speed. Like Now has won three of his four races as a 3-year-old and was second to Showing Up with a gritty performance in the Lexington Stakes in the one he didn't win. He won the Gotham, beating Keyed Entry and Sweetnorthernsaint, by going to the front and staying there. McLaughlin would like to do the same today.

2 - PLATINUM COUPLE

ODDS 28-1

COLOR GRAY/ROAN

JOCKEY - Jose Espinoza -- Started out riding in rodeos and on quarterhorses. Has won several New York stakes. Brother Victor also is a jockey.

TRAINER - Joe Lostritto -- Entered the longest shot in the race. Never won a graded stakes, but has won a few listed events in New York.

OWNERS - Tri Star Stables -- Never won a Triple Crown event. Cultivated the colt's family line, including a relation to stakes performer Dance Away Capote.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Tri Star Stables (N.Y.)

Bloodlines -- Tale of the Cat out of Ingot's Dance Away

Foaled -- April '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 4 starts, 1 place, 1 show ($42,734)

2005 -- 5 starts, 2 wins, 1 show ($82,723)

Comment -- He won twice as a 2-year-old, but hasn't won in four starts at age 3. And he hasn't been around two turns yet. He's one of the longest shots in the field. Espinoza, who rode him to victory as a 2-year-old, has the ride, and the Lostritto family has great faith in the horse. Their favorite song is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." They think this could be the somewhere. "Long shots do win," Lostritto said. "I think we'll be a contender."

3 - HEMINGWAY'S KEY

JOCKEY

Jeremy Rose -- Rode Afleet Alex to Preakness and Belmont victories last year. Raced in Maryland, but moved to Gulfstream Park for the winter and the mid-Atlantic the rest of the year.

TRAINER

Nick Zito -- Saddled five colts in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, none of whom finished higher than seventh. Did not race in this year's Derby, and despite suspect record of Hemingway's Key, opted for Preakness.

OWNERS - George Steinbrenner -- Has bred and/or raced more than 30 stakes winners. The New York Yankees owner has a breeding operation at his 750-acre Kinsman Farm near Ocala, Fla.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Ocala (Fla.) Stud Farm

Bloodlines -- Notebook out of Whirl's Girl

Foaled -- Jan. '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 4 starts ($10,000)

2005 -- 2 starts, 2 wins ($39,498)

Comment -- Zito, who won the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze, says that, on paper, Hemingway's Key doesn't look like he belongs in this field. He's 0-for-4 as a 3-year-old and hasn't finished higher than sixth in those four races. But Zito said: "You can't even lose if you don't play the game." The son of Notebook is fiery with energy. The question is: Can he put his game together under the guidance of Rose, who will be riding him for the first time?

4 - GREELEY'S LEGACY

ODDS 38-1

COLOR DARK BAY/BROWN

JOCKEY

Richard Migliore -- Has won 12 New York riding titles and more than 4,000 races. The best of his four Preakness finishes was in 2002 aboard Magic Weisner, finishing second to War Emblem at 45-1.

TRAINER - George Weaver -- Learned under D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher before breaking away in 2002. His 40-horse operation splits time between New York (Saratoga and Belmont) and Florida.

OWNERS - Donald Flanagan -- Racing in his first Preakness.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Select Broodmare Fund (Ky.)

Bloodlines -- Mr. Greeley out of Deceit Princess

Foaled -- April '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 5 starts, 1 win ($59,900)

2005 -- 6 starts, 1 win, 2 shows ($37,791)

Comment -- Migliore has the ride on this colt whose trainer believes is ready for a big race. Greeley's Legacy clocked 58.69 seconds over five furlongs last Saturday, pushing Weaver to enter him. Greeley's Legacy ran a closing fourth in the Gotham and was fourth again in the Lexington. But he has won just twice in 11 starts. He has had four weeks' rest and Weaver says the stars have aligned: "I think he fits this race, the timing is right and the horse is right."

5 - BROTHER DEREK

ODDS 7-2

COLOR CHESTNUT

JOCKEY - Alex Solis -- A finalist for the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame; the announcement is due May 30. He won the 1986 Preakness aboard Snow Chief. In 2005, his earnings totaled $9.64 million.

TRAINER - Dan Hendricks -- Learned the family business in Southern California, then worked for legendary trainers Willard Proctor and Richard Mandella. This is Hendricks' first Preakness.

OWNERS - Cecil N. Peacock -- The Calgary, Alberta, resident bought his first oil well and first thoroughbred in 1971. He bought Brother Derek for $275,000 at the Barretts March 2005 sale.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Mary H. Caldwell (Ore.)

Bloodlines -- Benchmark out of Miss Soft Sell

Foaled -- March '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 4 starts, 3 wins ($740,000)

2005 -- 5 starts, 3 wins, 1 place ($502,080)

Comment -- Brother Derek showed up at the Kentucky Derby as a wonderful horse on a four-race winning streak that included the Santa Anita Derby. He finished a game fourth in Louisville, and he's still a great horse. He proved himself game over the 1 1/4 -mile Derby course, overcoming the No. 18 post position to finish in a driving dead heat for fourth. He won't have 19 horses to contend with here. Hendricks said the wide Derby run didn't wear him out.

6 - BARBARO

ODDS 1-2

COLOR DARK BAY/BROWN

JOCKEY - Edgar Prado -- Dominated the Maryland tracks in the 1990s before moving to New York. He is winless in eight Preakness tries, the only Triple Crown race he hasn't won. His older brother Jorge is a trainer at Pimlico.

TRAINER - Michael Matz -- Hero of the crash landing of a plane in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989, Matz also won an equestrian silver medal in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His best horse before Barbaro was Kickin Kris, who won the 2004 Arlington Million.

OWNERS - Roy and Gretchen Jackson -- Roy has a deep minor league baseball background, both as an owner and league president. The Jacksons live on Lael Farm in West Grove, Pa.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Roy and Gretchen Jackson (Ky.)

Bloodlines -- Dynaformer out of La Ville Rouge

Foaled -- April '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 4 starts, 4 wins ($2,203,200)

2005 -- 2 starts, 2 wins ($99,000)

Comment -- Trained at the Fair Hill Training Center, Barbaro returns to the racetrack from his 6 1/2 -length Kentucky Derby victory a rested, relaxed fellow. Opposing trainers are hoping he will be vulnerable off a two-week rest, but this will be only the third race in 15 weeks for the colt. A young 3-year-old, Barbaro has improved in every race. Barring a really off day, look for Prado to have him positioned just off the pace and present at the finish.

7 - SWEETNORTHERNSAINT

ODDS 6-1

COLOR DARK BAY/BROWN

JOCKEY - Kent Desormeaux -- Earnings slipped from $8.73 million in 2004 to $4.64 million in 2005. Still, he ranks third in career earnings among active riders. Won an Eclipse Award while riding in Maryland.

TRAINER - Mike Trombetta -- The 39-year-old Baltimorean grew up around horses and got his first win as a trainer at age 20. Trained turf star Bop and multiple stakes winner Ghostly Numbers.

OWNERS - Joseph Balsamo, Ted Theos -- Born in Greece, Theos is a semi-retired restaurateur in Kingsville whose passion for racing began in 1970. He partnered with Balsamo, a longtime friend, in 1999.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Eduardo Azpurua (Ocala, Fla.)

Bloodlines -- Sweetsouthernsaint out of Ice Beauty

Foaled -- March '03

RECORD - 2006: 5 starts, 3 wins, 1 place ($375,800)

2005 -- 2 starts ($1,200)

Comment -- Based at Laurel Park, owned by Marylanders and trained by a Perry Hall native, Sweetnorthernsaint sounds like the home team. He had a bad trip in the Kentucky Derby, stumbling out of the gate, being knocked around twice and tripping down the front stretch. It shouldn't be that bad in a field of nine. Look for the colt with the distinctive blaze down his face near the front and just off the pace. If he returns to Illinois Derby form, watch out.

8 - BERNARDINI

ODDS 17-1

COLOR DARK BAY

JOCKEY - Javier Castellano -- Ranked sixth in North America in purse earnings in 2005 with $12.5 million. Biggest win came aboard Ghostzapper in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic. Brother Abel Jr. rides in Maryland.

TRAINER - Tom Albertrani -- Was a hot walker and apprentice jockey in his teens. Went from barn hand to assistant trainer under Bill Mott, then was hired by Godolphin Racing in 1995.

OWNERS - Darley Stable -- Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the largest racing investor of the Maktoum brothers. Sheikh Mohammed owns eight stud farms in Newmarket, England, and is also interested in camel racing.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Darley Stable (Ky.)

Bloodlines -- A.P. Indy out of Cara Rafaela

Foaled -- March '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 3 starts, 2 wins ($110,480)

2005 -- Did not race

Comment -- In Bernardini, the Preakness has what might be its best-bred horse. Sired by A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew) out of Cara Rafaela (Quiet American), the brown colt has the pedigree of a Triple Crown race winner. Unraced as a 2-year-old, he has won twice, impressively, in three starts this year, including the Withers last month. But he is another colt who is still learning his business. The two turns and the 1 3/16th distance will both be firsts for him.

9 - DIABOLICAL

ODDS 24-1

COLOR CHESTNUT

JOCKEY - Ramon Dominguez -- Former Maryland rider who now rides in Delaware, Florida and New York. Best Preakness finish was second in 2005 aboard Scrappy T, when the colt veered in front of Afleet Alex in the stretch.

TRAINER - Steve Klesaris -- Grew up in family's show horse business. Worked as an agent for jockeys and committed to training in 1995. Won the 2000 Laurel Futurity with Buckle Down Ben.

OWNER - Jeff Puglisi -- Bases his operation at Fair Hill Training Center, working with Klesaris. Was an owner in Arizona and New York previously.

BREEDING - Breeder -- Longleaf Pine Farm, Ky.

Bloodlines -- Artax out of Bonnie Byerly

Foaled -- Feb. '03

RECORD - 2006 -- 3 starts, 1 win, 1 place ($43,800)

2005 -- 5 starts, 1 win, 3 places, 1 show ($128,130)

Comment -- He has won just twice in eight races over two years, but Klesaris points out he has held his own against the best. He was third behind Bluegrass Cat (second in the Derby) in the Nashua at Belmont Park last fall and was a distant second to Derby winner Barbaro in the Laurel Futurity on the turf. Diabolical, like Barbaro, trains at Fair Hill. Klesaris says his horse has yet to run his best race.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
63°