05/11/2016 12:26PM

Preakness: Nyquist punches in at Pimlico

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Nyquist hits the track Wednesday morning at Pimlico.

In his first training session since winning the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist stretched his legs over the Pimlico racing surface Wednesday morning, jogging one lap clockwise around the one-mile strip.

Nyquist’s exercise came four days after he gave trainer Doug O’Neill, owner J. Paul Reddam, and jockey Mario Gutierrez their second Derby victory, and 10 days before he will attempt to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on May 21.

I’ll Have Another won the 2012 Derby and Preakness for O’Neill, Reddam, and Gutierrez.

“He has settled in at Pimlico,” O’Neill said of Nyquist by phone Wednesday. “The crew couldn’t be happier with his appetite, his energy, or his soundness.”

O’Neill said he would fly to Baltimore on Thursday and stay through the 141st Preakness. O’Neill does not plan on working Nyquist between the Derby and the Preakness but instead will stick with an alternating pattern of gallops and jogs, as he did in the run-up to the Derby. Nyquist was scheduled to jog clockwise again Thursday.

“He’s going to jog two miles Thursday, and then we’ll let him gallop on Friday,” O’Neill said.

Nyquist is bedded down in stall 24 in Barn D at Pimlico, the same stall I’ll Have Another resided in prior to his Preakness victory.

Romans may run two

Dale Romans, back at his Churchill Downs barn Wednesday for the first time since being involved in an auto accident Saturday evening, said he was “beat up but okay.”

Cherry Wine, the third-place finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and an also-eligible for the Derby before failing to draw into the race, will run in the Preakness Stakes, and Robby Albarado will ride, Romans said.

Romans said he would make a Preakness decision on Brody’s Cause “in a day or so,” and that Corey Lanerie would have the mount if he starts.

Brody’s Cause, the seventh-place finisher in the Derby, jogged Wednesday for the first time since the Derby.

“He looked good, felt good,” Romans said.

Von Hemel biding his time

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said Wednesday he likely would not decide on Suddenbreakingnews’s status for the Preakness until this weekend.

Suddenbreakingnews, the winner of the Southwest Stakes and the runner-up in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, closed from 19th to finish fifth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, in the Kentucky Derby. Suddenbreakingnews is stabled at Churchill Downs.

“I want to keep all of my options open until I have to make a decision,” Von Hemel said. “I’m very proud of the horse.”

Sharp Azteca to skip Preakness

Trainer Jorge Navarro said Wednesday that Sharp Azteca would not run in the Preakness following his blowout victory in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Both Sharp Azteca, who earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for winning the Pat Day, and his stablemate Catalina Red, the winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes, are at Monmouth Park, where Navarro has 65 stalls for the meet, which begins Saturday.

“He is a definite no,” Navarro said of Sharp Azteca. “Today was his first day back at the track, and everything went perfect. We are going to go to the Pegasus and then the Haskell with him. We want to do the right thing for the horse. It’s a long year, and we know he’s a good horse.”

– additional reporting by Marty McGee

flum1448 More than 1 year ago
They should run News at Belmont 5weeks off 11/2 miles perfect for his late run
Fred Reardon More than 1 year ago
Think: 107
Stuart Hill More than 1 year ago
Navarro is doing right by Sharp Azteca. Bringing to horse along a bit at a time and keeping his confidence up...he should be a threat in the Haskell. No need to jump in the deep water 2 weeks out of the Pat Day to tussle with Nyquist (or Exagg.).
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Mr Von Hemmel - you already know that 5 weeks recovery is better than 2 weeks - Belmont's wide turns are PERFECT for SBN's long legs. The tight turns at Pimlico and the souped up track there are not conducive to his way of going. The Belmont Stakes is yours for the taking. 
Stuart Hill More than 1 year ago
The Belmont is not usually won by a one run closer, Slew.

There is plenty of speed lining up for the Preakness. That is why VH is on hold now. If they could simply grind away at 12f, and not try that big move on that wide second turn (see Mine that Bird hanging), he could have a shot at the BS. But not with a one run close. He will hang and Nyquist will simply jog around the track and win, like AP. There will need to be pressure up front, because I cannot tell you how many one run closers that were coming late never showed up at Belmont Park in the BS.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I'm aware of that, Stu, but Belmont is tailor-made for this long-legged gelding who, I believe, is sitting on a monster race - his incremental fractions in the KD stand out (vs the field), he ran his final quarter faster than the average of his previous two, he was literally getting faster at the end (like a turf race), I have found that to be a powerful indicator of next-out success. jmo, of course
John Gibbs More than 1 year ago
I agree. None the Von Hemels, for many years. Cant wait for rest of racing world to find out just how good this horse.is.