05/16/2017 10:03AM

Preakness: Conquest Mo Money seems to like Pimlico surface

Barbara D. Livingston
Conquest Mo Money gallops on the Pimlico track for the first time Tuesday.

BALTIMORE - Conquest Mo Money, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby in his last two starts, got his first taste of the Pimlico racing surface on Tuesday as he continues preparations for the $1.5 million Preakness this Saturday, the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Jockey Jorge Carreno, who has ridden Conquest Mo Money in all five of his races, supervised Conquest Mo Money's training Tuesday and was aboard for his gallop. Trainer Miguel Hernandez and owners Tom and Sandy McKenna were expected to arrive in Baltimore later Tuesday.

Conquest Mo Money has been stabled at Prairie Meadows, outside Des Moines, Iowa, since the April 15 Arkansas Derby, a race in which he was beaten a half-length by last year's 2-year-old champion and fellow Preakness hopeful Classic Empire. Conquest Mo Money vanned from Prairie Meadows to Kentucky on Saturday, stayed overnight, and then continued on to Pimlico Sunday. On Monday, he walked the shed row at Pimlico.

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On Tuesday, Conquest Mo Money came onto the track at the gap by the three-sixteenths pole just after the mid-morning renovation break, back-tracked to the three-furlong pole, then galloped a mile. With his ears pricked, Conquest Mo Money went easily at a decent clip.

"He felt real good today," Carreno said. "He liked the track."

Conquest Mo Money, whom McKenna purchased for $8,500 at the Conquest Stables dispersal at Keeneland in November, began his career with three straight wins at Sunland Park this winter, including a pair of $100,000 stakes, the Mine That Bird Derby and the Riley Allison.

Although Conquest Mo Money has good early speed, he was seventh early in the Sunland Derby before making a move on the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile race that carried him to the lead. But he flattened out in the final furlong and finished second, beaten 3 3/4 lengths by Hence, who went on to finish 11th in the Kentucky Derby and is scheduled to run back in the Preakness.

"I think he may have moved too soon," Hernandez said.

Conquest Mo Money battled hard on the front end of the Arkansas Derby before being caught by Classic Empire in deep stretch.

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