05/13/2014 1:26PM

Preakness: Pimentel looking to close with Kid Cruz

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Julian Pimentel and Kid Cruz win the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park on March 8.

BALTIMORE – Regarding jockey Julian Pimentel’s first Triple Crown mount, the memories are all about the experience, not the result.

Pimentel rode Norman Asbjornson in the 2011 Preakness for Maryland trainer Christopher Grove. The colt, off a fourth-place finish in the Wood Memorial, was a 42-1 shot and ran like it, stalking the pace for half the race before fading to 11th.

“Going into the far turn, I started asking him, and he didn’t have anything,” Pimentel recalled. “He was a longshot, but you never know. The result wasn’t great, but it was a good experience, very exciting. Everyone wants to ride those kind of races.”

Now Pimentel, a 33-year-old who got his start riding at bush tracks in his native Colombia, is getting to ride in another one of those big races. He has the call on Kid Cruz in the Preakness, the only locally based rider with a mount in the biggest race on by far the biggest day of the Pimlico meeting.

That Pimentel rides Kid Cruz is somewhat random. In the North American phase of his career, which dates to 2000, he has ridden only six horses for Kid Cruz’s trainer, Linda Rice. Pimentel rode an allowance horse to victory during the Laurel Park meet this past winter, and when Kid Cruz needed a rider for the Private Terms Stakes there March 8, Pimentel was open and got the call. He won the Private Terms, kept the mount for a win in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico on April 19, and earned enough confidence from the colt’s connections to stick for the Preakness, too.

::DRF Live: Reporting and insight from the Preakness draw 6-7 p.m. ET on Wednesday

Pimentel has won only five graded stakes from 91 rides during his career, but he is the jockey of local legend Ben’s Cat, about the only horse he still rides for trainer King Leatherbury.

“Riding a horse like that definitely helps a lot,” Pimentel said. “You just hope it works out. Riding stakes, people notice your name when they’re looking for a rider.”

Pimentel is looking forward to the sheer excitement of his second Preakness, but this time, he hopes to play a greater part in the outcome. Pimentel is the Preakness jockey with the most local experience, and Kid Cruz is the only horse with a race over the track.

In the Private Terms, Kid Cruz dropped almost 20 lengths behind the early leaders, and while he was closer early in the Tesio, it still took him almost 51 seconds to run the first half-mile. At that clip, Kid Cruz could find himself far behind what looks like a hot Preakness pace. Pimentel’s hope is that as the speed starts coming back, he’ll be moving forward.

“If they go that fast, he’s got a nice kick,” Pimentel said. “From the half-mile pole to the finish, he’s going to be rolling.”

Tobin Cross More than 1 year ago
The 2nd place horse at the derby will be in Preakness? Another exacta using the same two horses will win if he the Two are entered
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
CC by 2 lengths +/- geared down at the wire.
dale_platt More than 1 year ago
I have rarely missed a race during this Pimlico/Preakness meet. I won with Kid Cruz at this present meet, and I hit the Kentucky Derby exacta with California Chrome. Kid Cruz could upset if he decides to get into gear, but so could a few others. CC has no major breeding, which could be his downfall eventually - especially at the Belmont Stakes.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
how about bayern to keep ring weekend co . with cc struggling to get by social inclusion at quarter pole and here comes the kid up the rail to blow by them all
avlamal More than 1 year ago
social inclusion-quitter ring weekend collapses at head of stretch chrome remebers his dumbass pedigree at eight pole-clock strikes 12 and the rst are totally third rate bs kid cruz bred to run all day explodes at eighth pole and makes a mockery of this field guaranteed
Derek Michael More than 1 year ago
you're an idiot.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
well see whos an idiot ive been playing horses for 38 years ive seen it all these 3yos running saturday in a word marginal kid cruz only has to stay thats all
Kip Sudduth More than 1 year ago
Wish I could fade this
avlamal More than 1 year ago
2 races over track-both wins thats huge gift horse staring you right in the eye arrogant idiots that u all are im sure will will miss out on this 10=1 gift
avlamal More than 1 year ago
guaranteed winner there are so many bodemeister type horses in this race its ridiculous tremendous pace is guaranteed kid cruz easily reminds me of grindstone
Perl More than 1 year ago
Look, I like the horse in this spot too, but guaranteed winner? You need to slow your roll. Also Bodemeister ran quite well in the Preakness and lost a heartbreaking decision in the shadow of the wire.
John Burton More than 1 year ago
America loves an underdog - especially one that has an outside chance which KID CRUZ does have. I will be watching and waiting especially when he hits the 1/2 mile pole. He could run and finish ITM like NOLAN CAT did so many years ago in the BELMONT STAKES at incredibly high odds producing a nice trifecta payout! Hey, KID CRUZ, "go fast and win!"
Kip Sudduth More than 1 year ago
From 'Let it Ride?'.........who do like?.......mmmmmmmmmmmph!
MelThomas86 More than 1 year ago
He's even money to beat Ria Atonia I think.