05/11/2009 11:00PM

Stute hears from Preakness veteran

Barbara D. Livingston
Gary Stute, whose Papa Clem worked five furlongs at Pimlico on Tuesday in 1:05 on a tiring track, likes the two-week gap between races.

BALTIMORE - Trainer Gary Stute got some unsolicited advice Sunday night concerning his method for bringing Papa Clem up to the Preakness Stakes. But this was not some loudmouth railbird barking out his two cents. This was unsolicited, Hall of Famer kind of advice.

"Jack Van Berg called me, and asked why I was working Papa Clem," Stute said Monday morning. "He said he never worked anything between the Derby and the Preakness."

Yes, Jack Charles Van Berg - the name does ring a bell here at Pimlico. Between 1981, when he ran Bold Ego, and 1994, when he sent out Blumin Affair, Van Berg had five Preakness starters, and two of them won: Alysheba in 1987, and Gate Dancer in 1984.

California-based Stute sees Van Berg regularly during morning training, but it is with Stute's father, Mel, that Van Berg is friends. The phone call came somewhat out of the blue - but did not sway Stute's decision to give Papa Clem a timed workout on Tuesday. The five-furlong breeze went in a glacial 1:05, and Papa Clem came past the wire and into the clubhouse turn at barely more than a gallop. But the Pimlico track was tiring early Tuesday, and Stute grinned and chewed on his cigar moments afterward. If he was concerned about the work, the concern was not showing.

"It'd be rare for me not to work one for a week," Stute had said Monday. "We work a lot."

Papa Clem is carrying a good amount of flesh, has a slick enough coat, and on the surface, at least, does not look like a worn-out horse. He would have a right to be, though. He shipped by plane from California to New Orleans for the Louisiana Derby in early March, then vanned on to Oaklawn Park, where he won the Arkansas Derby, and was flown to Louisville for his Kentucky Derby start shortly thereafter. Saturday, a week after his fourth-place Derby finish, it was back on a van, and out east to Baltimore. Stute has been here before, traveling with the Mel Stute-trained Snow Chief, who won the 1986 Preakness.

"I've been dying to run the horse back in two weeks, actually," Stute said Monday. "I run them back in seven to 10 days all the time. I think horses do really well coming back that quick. It's the one after that you have to be worried about."

Papa Clem got bounced around some in the Derby stretch run, and was beaten a head and a nose for second. Stute mentioned to his father that the trouble might have cost Papa Clem second, which led to another piece of unsolicited, older-generation advice.

"Son, nobody remembers who finished second in the Derby," said Stute the elder to Stute the younger.

Hooh Why will sit out Black-Eyed Susan

Hooh Why, winner of the Ashland Stakes and the morning-line favorite for Friday's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, won't be making the trip from Arlington Park to Pimlico, trainer Donna Dupuy said Tuesday.

Dupuy said that Hooh Why had been entered in the Black-Eyed Susan with the idea of running if the race appeared to be unusually weak for the class level.

"If it looked like it were a really soft spot, we might have taken a shot," said Dupuy, who trains Hooh Why for Derby Daze Farms and Mark Hoffman.

Hooh Why would have been making just her second dirt start had she come for the Black-Eyed Susan, and she may instead ship to Woodbine for a Polytrack stakes - the $150,000 La Lorgnette - scheduled for Sunday.

NetJets sponsors Preakness jockeys

NetJets, the jet-travel time-share concern, will again sponsor the riders in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, which will result in thousands of dollars being donated to racing charities.

A majority of the money given to the jockeys by NetJets will be donated to the Jockey Club Foundation, a charitable trust that provides financial assistance to needy people in the industry and their families, primarily backstretch workers.

A similar agreement for the Kentucky Derby resulted in $200,000 in donations to racing charities, including a $150,000 donation from the jockeys to be evenly split between the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and the Jockeys' Guild's Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, while WinStar Farm's Bill Casner pledged $50,000 to the jockey fund.

The total amount of money raised for racing charities through last year's Triple Crown season, the 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup, and this year's Kentucky Derby stands at $956,000. Through the NetJets sponsorship, the jockeys have donated a total of $531,000, while NetJets, Richard Santulli, and Bill Casner have combined to contribute $425,000.

Top riders in challenge

Eight of the nation's premier riders, including two-time Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez, will compete in the inaugural Jockey Challenge at Pimlico on Friday, part of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes day.

Kent Desormeaux, whose career first blossomed in Maryland two decades ago, will also compete, as will Rafael Bejarano, Javier Castellano, Ramon Dominguez, Julien Leparoux, Mario Pino, and Mike Smith. Castellano and Smith replace Edgar Prado and John Velazquez, who were among the original eight slated to compete, but who bowed out this week because they have obligations that day at Belmont Park.

The riders will compete in four races - the third, fifth, seventh, and 10th - on the 13-race card. Points will be awarded to the first four finishers in each race, and the rider with the most points will receive $14,000. There are smaller cash prizes for the remaining seven spots.

The Maryland Jockey Club, which owns Pimlico, teamed up with the Jockeys' Guild for the event. The MJC will make a $5,000 contribution to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

The jockeys will sign autographs in the morning concurrent with a handicapping seminar, sponsored by Daily Racing Form, that will feature columnist Andrew Beyer.

The Black-Eyed Susan card usually includes the Pimlico Special, but that historic race was canceled this year because of budgetary concerns.

Summer Bird headed to Belmont

Trainer Tim Ice said that Summer Bird, sixth in the Kentucky Derby, remains on course to start in the Belmont Stakes.

Ice said Summer Bird would be shipped from Louisiana Downs to New York on Sunday, and that jockey Joe Talamo had committed to riding Summer Bird in the Belmont.

- additional reporting

by David Grening and Jay Privman