05/15/2011 11:34AM

Preakness: King Congie goes fast enough to suit Albertrani

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Jim Lisa
King Congie will attempt to transfer his good form on turf and synthetic surfaces to dirt in Saturday's Preakness.

King Congie, beaten only a head when third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes last month, worked five furlongs in 1:04.60 Sunday morning over a good Belmont Park main track in preparation for a start in Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

 Though the time may not seem like much, consider that the work was done around a set of traffic cones, referred to as dogs, forcing the move to be conducted toward the middle of the racetrack. Horses usually work along the rail. Belmont clockers timed King Congie’s final quarter in 24 seconds.

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“He worked really good,’’ said trainer Tom Albertrani, who will run his first horse in the Preakness since winning it in 2006 with Bernardini. “I basically was looking for an easy work today, he did enough last week. I was looking for a 1:02 and compensating for the dogs being up I got what I was looking for. I thought he was finishing strong and he had a nice gallop out.’’

 The work came six days after King Congie worked five furlongs in 1:01.14 over a fast Belmont Park main track last Monday.

“`It was probably the best work I’ve seen him have over the last couple of months,’’ Albertrani said of last Monday’s move. “He’s never been a fancy workhorse, but the other day he went in 1:01 and galloped out in 1:13-and-change, which I felt was an eye-catching work for him.’’

Like Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, King Congie will be trying to make the transition from synthetic and turf to dirt. King Congie, a son of Badge of Silver owned by the West Point Thoroughbreds, won twice on turf, including the Tropical Park Derby. He was disqualified from first and placed third in the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream before finishing third, a head behind Brilliant Speed and Twinspired, in the Blue Grass.

He went winless in two dirt sprint starts to begin his career finishing 20 1/2 lengths behind Uncle Mo in his debut and 11 lengths behind eventual stakes winner Fort Hughes in his second start.

Robby Albarado, who was bumped from the mount on Animal Kingdom in the Derby because of a spill he was involved in three days before the race, will ride King Congie against Animal Kingdom in the Preakness.

Albertrani said King Congie would likely ship to Baltimore on Friday.