05/12/2014 10:01AM

Social Inclusion puts up bullet half-mile at Pimlico

Barbara D. Livingston
Social Inclusion, under Luis Contreras, works a half-mile in 47 seconds at Pimlico on Monday.

BALTIMORE - Showing no lingering effects from a foot bruise that forced him to be scratched from a Gulfstream stakes race May 3, Social Inclusion worked a fast, strong four furlongs with a powerful gallop-out Monday morning at Pimlico in a prep for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

Track clockers officially timed Social Inclusion in 47 seconds for a half-mile, the fastest by two seconds of five works at the distance Monday. Social Inclusion was urged slightly at the top of the stretch, but came past the grandstand going easily, and his workout, which came with race rider Luis Contreras in the irons, was as much about what happened past the wire as before it.

Working by himself on a quiet track at about 8:40 a.m., Social Inclusion set splits of 12.20 for his first eighth-mile, 22.40 for his first quarter, and 35.60 for three furlongs. He ran his fourth furlong in about 11.40 seconds for the 47 official clocking, and proceeded to gallop out five furlongs in 59.60 seconds and six furlongs in 1:13.60, according to track clockers. Contreras didn’t fully pull Social Inclusion up until he had nearly reached the finish line a second time.

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“He feels great,” said Contreras. “He feels very light on this racetrack. We wanted to get a good work into him today.”

Social Inclusion could go off the second choice in the Preakness behind Derby winner California Chrome. He impressively won his first two starts, including a track-record-setting romp over Honor Code at Gulfstream, before setting the pace from a wide draw in the April 5 Wood Memorial and fading slightly to finish third behind Wicked Strong and Samraat.

Social Inclusion arrived here Thursday after traveling by van from trainer Manny Azpurua’s base at Gulfstream Park. Denied a spot in the Kentucky Derby field because he lacked qualifying points, Social Inclusion was to have started in the May 3 Sir Bear Stakes at Gulfstream to prep for the Preakness, but a minor lameness was detected the morning of the race, Social Inclusion was found to have a bruised right-front hoof, and he was scratched from the Sir Bear. Owner Ron Sanchez said Social Inclusion was treated with natural remedies, kept from training on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and taken back to the track last Tuesday after getting sound on the foot again.

“I was a little concerned, but when I saw him galloping again, I knew it was all right,” Sanchez said. “He’s fine now. Just look at the way he worked.”

Social Inclusion was a late foal, really just turning 3 on May 1, but he is a strong, strapping colt, his moderately large frame well muscled. He carries a good amount of weight, in no small part because of his appetite.

“This horse eats a lot. He’s always eating,” Sanchez said.

Social Inclusion got fairly hot on a warm, humid morning Monday, but the colt sweats considerably even during moderate exercise, according to Contreras. Contreras said Social Inclusion got into his work in relaxed fashion, but is coming into the Preakness a sharp horse.

“The way he worked and the way he’s going, it looks like he could be the speed of the race,” said Contreras.

Social Inclusion, the first Preakness horse to arrive here, might jog Tuesday and then will gallop into Saturday’s race, Sanchez said.

“We were the first ones here, and we expect to be the first ones to the finish,” said Sanchez.