05/09/2014 1:30PM

General a Rod joins Preakness cast

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Barbara Livingston
After finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby, General a Rod will turn around and compete in the May 17 Preakness at Pimlico.

The week of the Kentucky Derby, General a Rod was sold, his new owners desirous of running a second horse in the Derby. General a Rod was in the Derby all right. But he didn’t get a chance to do much running because of a trip that went from bad to worse.

But because General a Rod came out of the Derby so well, he is being wheeled back in two weeks for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 17. His presence makes him the third of the 19 Derby runners to declare for the Preakness, including Derby winner California Chrome and Ride On Curlin, who finished seventh.

General a Rod finished 11th in the Derby, marking the first time he had finished out of the money in six starts. Normally on or near the lead, General a Rod was shuffled back early and was 16th a half-mile into the race. He encountered traffic trouble at several points along the 1 1/4-mile journey but was beaten only 8 1/2 lengths.

Trainer Mike Maker on Friday said General a Rod came out of the Derby with more energy than would have been expected, which Maker ascribed to not being able to do much running in the race.

“He was very fresh. We took him back to the track earlier than we normally would have,” Maker said. “When we got him back to the track, he was carrying good flesh. His energy level was good. He’s a big, stout horse. If anyone can come back in two weeks, he can.”

Maker has trained General a Rod throughout his career. This will be Maker’s first Preakness starter.

General a Rod has won twice, his biggest victory coming in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan. 1. In two subsequent starts at Gulfstream, he was second, beaten a head, in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, then third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in the Florida Derby.

Javier Castellano, who rode General a Rod once previously in the Fountain of Youth, will have the mount in the Preakness, according to Jack Wolf, whose Starlight Racing was part of an ownership group that acquired General a Rod days before the Derby. Starlight also had Intense Holiday in the Derby. He finished 12th and is skipping the Preakness.

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Starlight and Skychai Racing purchased General a Rod from Armando Rodriguez, who named the colt after himself and owned him for his first five starts.

Joel Rosario rode General a Rod in the Derby, but for the Preakness, he is switching to Ride On Curlin, who was ridden in the Derby by Calvin Borel.

“At the worst, I thought he’d be in a stalking position,” Maker said of the Derby. “It just didn’t work out that way. I spoke to Joel after the race, and he expressed a lot of frustration with the trip.”

California Chrome, General a Rod, and Ride On Curlin are scheduled to fly to Maryland on the same flight Monday.

On Friday morning at Churchill Downs, California Chrome had another routine gallop of approximately 1 3/4 miles with exercise rider Willie Delgado aboard. He is expected to have the same schedule through Monday morning, after which he will take a van from Churchill Downs to Lexington, Ky., for the flight to Baltimore.

◗ Trainer Bob Baffert said Rosie Napravnik will ride Bayern in the Preakness.

– additional reporting by David Grening and Byron King

Anne Baxter 6 months ago
Just another race from a betting angle. You have to try and beat the favorite or sit it out. No value on CC. Talk about overrated!!!!!!
Allan Gauthier 6 months ago
I think you may squeeze a little profit from CC one last time, considering 9 or more horses take him on. Maybe the pic 3 and 4 can make ya some money. Cuz of his breeding and slow derby time, there will be a lot of people betting against him.
GQ 6 months ago
He had the whole length of the stretch to go by Constitution and Wildcat Red in the Florida Derby after a perfect stalking trip and could not. This horse has the heart of a pea. I would not bet him with free money. Good luck to those who do. You better get a million to one. GQ
jwh1006 6 months ago
Oh well we shall see. Nobody is Secretariat but we have a bunch of horses that are content to run behind California Chrome.
liljock 6 months ago
Not sure what to make of this guy. Obviously, he didn't run his race in Louisville but I would categorize his chances in the 15-1 to 20-1 category at best.
Art Brown 6 months ago
Anybody thinking C.C. is a lock in this race better wake up and smell the coffee. There will be a closer who will blow buy all the speed in the Preakness and that includes C.C. who will get burnt up trying to hook the speed.
Honnimae 6 months ago
A Lock The New Shooters are Short on Foundation....
Pierre Prudhomme 6 months ago
Who?
Frank Passaro 6 months ago
Rosie on Bayern. At least we know now he has no chance.
Winston Taylor 6 months ago
It's obvious Mr. Passaro is living on another Planet.Maybe one day he'll return to Earth.
jude madden 6 months ago
No chance is a little strong, but she is wildly overrated.
Honnimae 6 months ago
Right No Shot
Jd Staton 6 months ago
shes only getting the mount because none of bafferts top jocks want to waste their time coming to the east coast
Mike 6 months ago
DESPERATE PEOPLE DO DESPERATE THINGS
Greg 6 months ago
I guess you've never been desperate...
jaybern1 6 months ago
You mean like using all caps so you get noticed?
Daniel Alvarado 6 months ago
Why not....I still believe we haven't seen the best from GaR.
Geronimo2123 . 6 months ago
I kind of like this decision... The horse was bred to go 9f plus, and he had a bid trip to the point where his Derby is a toss to me. JJ is a good rider, so A Rod could be a threat to finish in the money. I don't think he can catch the Derby winner, however, once that one makes his move at the top of the stretch...
nick 6 months ago
So when California Chrome makes his 'move' of about 39 seconds for the last 3/16 of a mile, he may not be able to catch General. The General is about as game as they come, and battle tested multiple times. If he gets a lead as easy as the front runners were going in the 'Derby, he might be hard to catch. CC had an absolutely dream trip close to the speed on a day when horses up close to the pace were golden, and he staggered home. Let's run the race. Should be fun.
Rich Sesny 6 months ago
his dream trip was no fluke. He has push button tactical speed. Espinoza could have put him anywhere in the race. It was no accident he was sitting third going into the turn. It wasn't as if he was handed it and his post was no bargain. I'm sure Espinoza would have swapped posts with him. I think ARod's battles in Florida with Wildcat Red took something out of the horse. But the field that is lining up against CC is hardly deep or talented. GaR can hit the board even with his needing a break.
Raymond Hackinson 6 months ago
It looks like they would have at least 2 horses named Blame the Jockey' in the Preakness if they could. I believe there is already a thoroughbred with that name currently racing. Get real.