05/12/2013 9:55AM

Preakness Stakes: Departing has final breeze

Four-Footed Fotos
Departing won the Grade 3 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 20, making him a contender for Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Departing, one of the top threats to Orb in the 138th Preakness Stakes, had his final workout for the race when going a very easy half-mile in 50.40 seconds on a beautiful Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

With retired jockey Larry Melancon in the irons, Departing never was encouraged to get out of a swift gallop and actually sustained his momentum another quarter-mile or so past the wire when eager to catch a horse who happened to be well ahead of him. Churchill clockers caught him going out five furlongs in 1:03.80 over the fast going.

“This is all he needs,” said Al Stall Jr., who trains Departing for owners and breeders Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. “He’s been galloping so strong every morning.”

Departing, a gelding by War Front, enters the Preakness on Saturday off a 3 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby on April 20 at Hawthorne in suburban Chicago.

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Asked what kind of chance he believes Departing has of spoiling the Triple Crown bid of Orb, with whom Departing once shared a paddock at Claiborne, Stall said: “What are we going to be, 4-1? 6-1? That kind of sums it up, I guess.”

Stall said he has been extremely happy with the way Departing has trained since his last race. The Sunday work was his second since his Hawthorne win, following a very similar half-mile breeze in 49 seconds here May 2.

Along with other Churchill horses headed to Pimlico for races this weekend, Departing is booked on a Wednesday charter flight that will originate in Southern California. The flight is scheduled to leave Louisville, Ky., at about noon Eastern, meaning the horses should arrive at Baltimore-Washington International Airport about 90 minutes later and then at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore by mid-afternoon.

Orb, a 2 1/2-length winner of the May 4 Kentucky Derby, figures to be a solid favorite in the Preakness.

As of Sunday morning, Pimlico is listing 10 3-year-olds as probable for the 1 3/16-mile classic: Departing, Goldencents, Govenor Charlie, Itsmyluckyday, Mylute, Orb, Oxbow, Titletown Five, Vyjack, and Will Take Charge.

jttf More than 1 year ago
rev, lute, soul, departing all finished at the top of the La derby. departing wins IL derby. then the other 3 finished in the top 5 in kentucky derby. doesnt the La derby sound like a key race ?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Marty, Is there any more word on Doc Bramlage?
Dave More than 1 year ago
Only threat to Orb in my opinion. Yes, he beat nothing in Illinois, but he was wide and did it like a good horse should. Go back a race. He was 3rd behind Revoutionary, Mylute, and in front of Golden Soul. He's a classy horse and he's fresh compared to the others.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Departing a threat, Where's Vyjack, how much do retired jockey's weigh??? So I reckon most folks don't really care about winning or losing.....it's just a game of "I like Orb and will bet him regardless of the odds" or "I hate anything that other people love so I will try and beat him, no matter how stupid"......Take it from a guy who has been successful betting racehorses for a long time......there are races you bet and there are races you watch.......and I'd wait to see some odds trackside before I decide what to do. The bottom line is no one is beating Orb if he runs his race and isn't compromised by any pronounced bias in the surface at Pimlico. Departing's a nice colt, I've watched him and his ex-stablemate Sunbean since Feb. so I know a little about both and I can tell you without a doubt that Departing is running for second money, he isn't beating Orb in this lifetime....well that's too broad, maybe next year if he grows up a bit. Vyjack?? really? tough little horse, Always tries.......but he's by Into Mischief.....a new sire as far as sires go and the preliminary scoop on him is his progeny are limited distance wise......Would love to see this one on turf though......could be interesting. Remember he hasn't won over 1 1/16th yet, he hasn't beaten any real good distance horses either.......no, West Hills Giant and Siete de Oros don't qualify. Everyone need look at the Wood for what it was, a bunch of miler/middle distance horses going 1 1/8th.....someone had to win and that was Verrazano.....Vyjack was spinning his wheels late and NI closed down, he looked impressive unless you understood what you were actually seeing. When NI hit the wall at the 1/8th pole at CD's I wasn't shocked, and for those of you who will go on and on about internal fractions I'd say Look at Bodemeisters splits last year.......CD's favored speed all day last Sat.......not in the Derby though...that was for 2 reasons, one.....they went too fast for the caliber of horses running early and two.....you have to be able to run a distance before you can try and run fractions like that early..... Bodemesiter could and he ran well last year.....this year? not so much...... I'd be giving Oxbow some credit for finishing where he did all things considered....the rest, like Goldencents....I wouldn't give a plug nickel for. No Jockey's usually put on a few pounds after they retire......hope that helps. Jockey's suffer plenty.......and for anyone who wants to blame a jock for every loss? Learn to be a better handicapper, quit blaming everyone and everything and start realizing you aren't very good and need to get better........I've ridden a few horses in my time, get up on one or two before you knock a guy who's trying to control an thousand pound animal going 35-40 MPH......in and amongst other horses, around turns.......on the balls of his feet holding two leather straps in his hands...... my guess is most Jockey haters would pee themselves............
Randy Atkins More than 1 year ago
you are so right!!!! as we have been taught in the "Sartin Methodology" and to quote Chris McCarron....it's the horse that runs the race ....I was just up there for the ride
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
He beat nothing in Illinois. He is a nice colt. But I was hoping for a better work. Wont beat Orb
jttf More than 1 year ago
how much do these retired jockeys like larry melancon weigh after they retire ? just want to a gauge on how much suffering they do for their occupation.
Edward More than 1 year ago
Can't answer that but exercise riders can weigh up to 150 lbs or so although most likely in the 130-135 range. Most jockeys can be healthy and eating well if they are in that range. They still have to be in great shape.
jttf More than 1 year ago
thanks for the feedback. when i go to the saddling area. i notice that the some of the jockeys are looking really rough, healthwise. in europe, they can have assigned weights up to the 130s. over here, jockeys usually keep their weight around the 118 mark. so why not give these guys another 4 to 6 pounds more relief ? are we really concerned with fast times for everyday claiming races at smaller tracks ?
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
I see Larry M sometimes at Churchill. He's tiny. Probably weighs about 110 I'd say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haven't heard anything from VYJACK, I know distance is a little long, could he be sitting on a big one????????????????????????????????????????????????????? just asking...Rudy has said nothing this week
John Burton More than 1 year ago
Let's get it started!
Perl More than 1 year ago
Top threat to the derby winner in Balty.
James Singer More than 1 year ago
Seems to be a lot of faith-based handicapping going on here. May I suggest everyone return to the Form. And read.