Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Leparoux back on Daddy Nose Best
Regular rider Julien Leparoux will return to the saddle for Daddy Nose Best's attempt in Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
The Eclipse Award-winning jockey has ridden the Scat Daddy colt in eight consecutive races at six different tracks since July 2011, but opted to stay with Union Rags in the Kentucky Derby. Leparoux has been aboard for all four of Daddy Nose Best's victories, including the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.
Daddy Nose Best, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs' Barn 38 Wednesday morning and was scheduled to be shipped to Baltimore later in the morning.
Owner Bob Zollars said that he and trainer Steve Asmussen waited a week before deciding to try the colt in the Preakness.
"We just determined that we felt like he had completely bounced back," Zollars said. "As much as you can make a determination of that, he appears to be ready to go. It's a short turnaround. I was concerned how well he would bounce back. We've done blood work on him and checked him out. He's very perky, so we think that he's ready to run again."
One horse who will not make the Preakness is Guyana Star Dweej, a son of Eddington who was declared after a left front leg injury failed to improve sufficiently.
"We looked at the horse where he had grabbed his quarter a little bit galloping, and it was still not properly healed," trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal reported from Belmont Park Wednesday morning. Shivmangal said. "We didn't get any kind of work into him because of the track being bad the last week, so we decided we're going to have to skip this one."
Guyana Star Dweej would have been Shivmangal's second consecutive starter in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Isn't He Perfect finished ninth in last year's race.
"This is really rough for me," Shivmangal said. "We're more than disappointed."
In other Preakness news:
Went the Day Well galloped 1 1/2 miles on the Tapeta surface at Fair Hill Training Center Wednesday morning before his scheduled noon departure for Pimlico.
Trainer Graham Motion had shipped Animal Kingdom to Pimlico on Preakness Day morning before his Kentucky Derby winner closed from far back to finish second behind Shackleford last year. He determined that Went the Day Well would benefit from arriving at Pimlico a few days before the Preakness.
"It's all about letting him take it all in. He'll school in the gate and school in the paddock tomorrow," Motion said. "It's as much about getting him used to his surroundings as it is about getting him used to the track."
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas sat in his traditional corner at the far end of the Preakness Stakes Barn Wednesday morning, looking none the worse for wear after a 12-hour van ride the previous day with Optimizer and five other equine passengers from Churchill Downs.
Some 76-year-olds might have slept in after the tiring ordeal, but Lukas was up at 3:30 a.m. (EDT) and was the first one at the barn -- as usual. He sent Optimizer to the track at Pimlico for the first time for a 1 1/4-mile gallop only two days after his final work in Louisville.
"We left right out of the gate at 5 a.m.," the five-time Preakness winner said. "I go with the horses. If they fly, I go with the horses. If they van, I go with the horses. At this stage of my career, I'm not supposed to have to do that, but I don't feel very comfortable leaving them there."
The former quarter horse trainer and high school basketball coach, who made racing history when he won six consecutive Triple Crown races in the mid-1990s, said the vans of today are actually more creature-comfortable for the Thoroughbreds because of the easier accessibility to feed and water.
"It's more hours than a flight, but you'd be surprised how well those horses relax," he said. "I go with them every step of the way. I call all the shots."