03/30/2016 11:36AM

Connections thinking Preakness with Abiding Star

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Trainer Ned Allard is pointing Always Sunshine (above) to the Carter at Aqueduct and Abiding Star to the Federico Tesio at Laurel.

When owner and breeder Gilbert Campbell and trainer Ned Allard supplemented Abiding Star to the Triple Crown for $6,000 last week, they weren’t thinking about the Kentucky Derby; they were looking down the road to the Preakness.

After going 0 for 6 to begin his career, Abiding Star has won three straight races – a $40,000 maiden claimer at Laurel Park, a first-level allowance at his home base of Parx Racing, and the $80,000 Private Terms at Laurel. He doesn’t have any Kentucky Derby qualifying points and isn’t scheduled to start in a race that offers any.

Abiding Star is being pointed for the $100,000 Federico Tesio, a 1 1/8-mile race on April 9 at Laurel, which for the first time this year is a Win and You’re In for the Preakness at Pimlico on May 21. Laurel and Pimlico are both owned by The Stronach Group.

“The $6,000 was just a bit of a gamble,” Allard said. “I mean, if he doesn’t win the Tesio, he probably doesn’t belong in the Preakness anyway. But if he wins and we go to the Preakness, we get the $6,000 back and free entry and starter fees.”

It costs $15,000 to enter a horse in the Preakness and another $15,000 to start.

As a backup plan to the Tesio, Allard has nominated Abiding Star to the Grade 3, $300,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong race at Aqueduct on April 9.

While Abiding Star is unlikely to run in the Bay Shore, Allard is pointing Always Sunshine to the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter at Aqueduct that day. Always Sunshine finished second to Salutos Amigos in the Grade 3 Tom Fool at Aqueduct on March 12 despite having to work his way to the outside in the stretch and then split horses.

In his first workout since the race, Always Sunshine worked a bullet half-mile in 47.20 seconds at Parx on Wednesday and galloped out five furlongs in 59.20, according to track clockers.

“He’s doing really well,” Allard said.