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Keeping Them Happy

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 5/13/2013 7:36:48 PM

“Horses are like strawberries, they spoil overnight.” Charlie Whittingham spun this web gem and it was as true back in the day as it is now and that is why the trainers of the Preakness hopefuls are just trying to keep their charges moving and happy as race day approaches.

As most online sports betting players know, the spacing of drills for these runners can be more important than how fast a particular workout was timed. And almost as important is how these talented animals finish a work. Horses need to be taxed but also need to be able to quicken late. That’s how you win races.

Mylute ran well in the Derby finishing 5th despite being forced to steady early. Rosie Napravnik, who will become only the third female rider to compete in the Preakness, again will ride him.

He drilled on May 13 at Churchill in :49 3/5, which was the 20th best of 40 drills. His solid trainer Tom Amoss has always let his horses tell him where to run and he has been pleased with this colt, Amoss: “He’s doing the things we have seen him do after other races that tells us he’s himself.”

Derby champ Orb galloped a mile and a half on a sloppy Belmont strip last Saturday and came back with a sharp work on Monday.

Five days before the Derby Orb drilled at Churchill in :47 4/5 to put him on edge for the big online betting day and Monday he drilled even faster.

Timed in :47.18, which was the best of 44 at the distance at Belmont, Orb was within himself and the time really doesn’t tell the full story.

He went his first quarter in :12.21, hit the quarter pole in :24.06, got his final quarter in :23.12, galloped out in :59.54 and pulled up 6 furlongs in 1:13.14.

His trainer Shug McGaughey was flat out giddy, Shug: “It thought it was freaky. It didn’t look like he got out of a high gallop. It gave me chills, I’ll tell you that. That’s what good horses do.”

Besides Mylute, 4 other Preakness hopefuls worked at Churchill on Monday.

Titletown Five, partly owned by legendary Green Bay Packers stars Paul Hornung and Willie Davis galloped a mile for his trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Lukas also worked Will Take Charge a half mile in :48.20. The trainer was pleased with the drill, Lukas: “He did exactly what we asked him to do. After a tough mud race, you’ve got to be careful not to overdo it. Between the Derby and Preakness, I think it’s important to get a good feel for their energy levels and conditioning. The times on these works mean very little. It’s more about how they’ve bounced out of the race and what they’re telling you they want to do next.”

Gary Stevens was aloft Lukas’ other horse betting starter Oxbow, who drilled in :49.80, a nice maintenance move and expect this runner to be forwardly placed on Saturday.

Jim Barnes, Bob Baffert assistant, sent Govenor Charlie 6 furlongs 1:10.80 in company with stablemate Fed Biz, an older horse who is a Grade 2 winner and a near $350,000 earner.

Barnes: “Bob told me to give him a stiff work. That looked like a stiff work to me. He was under urging to keep up. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

Being under urging to keep up is probably not what they were looking for in this drill.

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