Updated on 05/04/2012 12:06PM

Pimlico: Scratched from Kentucky Derby, My Adonis favored in Canonero II

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Trainer Chris Grove says he would like to see Pretension stalk the pace, a style he used in winning the Sweet Envoy at Aqueduct, in Saturday's Canonero II.

My Adonis, unable to make it into the main body of the field for the Kentucky Derby, will instead compete for a consolation prize as the favorite in Saturday’s Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico.

As an alternative to the 138th Derby, where he was an also-eligible and scratched Friday morning, My Adonis was coss-entered in the $75,000 Canonero II, a 1 1/16-mile race that drew five other 3-year-olds.

My Adonis stands out on class after twice finishing directly behind the juvenile champion Hansen in a pair of early season Grade 3 Derby preps, the Holy Bull and the Gotham.

Trainer Kelly Breen told Pimlico stakes coordinator Coley Blind that My Adonis will van from Louisville to Baltimore on Friday and will use the Canonero as a prep for the $1 million Preakness Stakes on May 19.

Maryland horses Pretension and Brimstone Island are the viable alternatives to the favorite.

Pretension began his career with five consecutive firsts or seconds, but was no match for the higher-caliber 3-year-olds he faced in the Gotham and Illinois Derby. He fits better with this group and looks competitive based on his win going two turns in a stakes restricted to New York-breds at Aqueduct in February.

“I am not looking at the Preakness unless he wins this race,” said Pretension's trainer, Chris Grove. “He could have been third in the Gotham but Edgar Prado was riding to win and got passed by Finnegans Wake and Tiger Walk for third at the wire. He just didn’t like Hawthorne. But I don’t want to make too many excuses.  At some point, you have to say he isn’t that good to run in races like the Derby and Preakness. 

"I do know we are going back to what got us to the Gotham and that is sitting off the pace in a stalking position," Grove aded. "I don’t know what the others are doing but we have to go back to what was working when he finished first or second in  his first five starts.”

Brimstone Island, claimed out of an 11 1/4-length romp for $16,000 on Feb. 1, was second in his stakes debut in the seven-furlong Miracle Wood and third going a one-turn mile in the Private Terms. Encouraged by those two efforts, owner-trainer William Campbell took a shot with Brimstone Island in the $260,000 Robert Hilton Memorial at Charles Town. He endured a wide trip throughout the two-turn race while finishing fifth of 10, beaten 2 1/4 lengths.

In addition to My Adonis and Pretension, the other stakes winner entered is Florida shipper Midnight Serenade. The best race of his seven-race career came last August when Midnight Serenade rallied from last of 10 to take the one-mile Seacliff at Calder. In his only start this season, Midnight Serenade made a late move to get second in the seven-furlong Sophomore at Tampa Bay Downs.