11/04/2015 12:46PM

Favorite Tale may travel to Far East for December race

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Barbara D. Livingston
Favorite Tale is under consideration for the $2.38 million Hong Kong Sprint.

Favorite Tale’s long, complicated journey through the Breeders’ Cup ended Tuesday when he arrived home safely at trainer Lupe Preciado’s barn at Parx Racing.

Despite having earned a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint by virtue of his victory in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint, Favorite Tale came close to missing the Breeders’ Cup after horses were prevented from leaving Parx due to an equine herpesvirus quarantine. Once at Keeneland, Favorite Tale proved he belonged by finishing third to Runhappy and Private Zone, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

“I will go over him good and see how he is doing,” Preciado said Tuesday. “If everything is okay, I would like to run him one more time this year.”

Preciado said he and Favorite Tale’s owners, the PJG Stable, are considering December races in Hong Kong and Japan. If they are invited to the $2.38 million Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin, they could meet Mongolian Saturday, the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner, who also is being considered for the race, according to Pat Cummings, executive manager of public affairs for the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Favorite Tale’s final start of the season might involve a longer trip than getting to the Breeders’ Cup, but then again, it might be an easier one.

The Parx quarantine – the result of a single horse becoming ill – was in effect Oct. 2-29. Since all Breeders’ Cup horses had to be at Keeneland by Oct. 28, Favorite Tale needed permission from the Pennsylvania Racing Commission to leave Parx and permission from Breeders’ Cup officials to enter Keeneland.

He eventually was moved to a farm in Pennsylvania that has a training track and tested negative for the equine herpesvirus. He then shipped to Delaware Park, where he worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds Oct. 17.

“When he was on the Pennsylvania farm, he was far away from all the other horses,” Preciado said. “It was the same at Delaware – he was in a barn by himself. He was more relaxed when he got to Keeneland and there were other horses around.”

But things continued to go awry. Five hours into his trip from Delaware to Kentucky, the van broke down.

“The cops came. They had to call a tow truck. It was unbelievable,” Preciado said.

The icing on the cake came when Favorite Tale drew post 14 in the Sprint.

“I went to the draw, and I saw there were 14 horses,” Preciado said. “I said, ‘That’s okay,’ and then when we got post 14, I said, ‘Son of a bitch.’ ”

Preciado has trained a number of nice runners, including Quality Lass (an earner of $416,000), Caught in the Rain ($455,000), Joker ($344,000), and Mr. Nasty ($357,000), but Favorite Tale has quickly become his best. A 4-year-old Tale of the Cat gelding, Favorite Tale has won 7 of 17 starts and $778,000.

“This last month was difficult. We just tried to take it one step at a time,” Preciado said. “I wanted to win so bad Saturday. If we had, I could have made a movie about all that happened to this horse.”