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May 10, 2012

O'Neill in Baltimore with Derby victor


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Trainer Doug O'Neill has found his way back east to take charge of the training of Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another in anticipation of the $1 million Preakness Stakes on May 19 at Pimlico. O'Neill had flown from Louisville to California after the Run for the Roses while his colt headed to Maryland.

"I'm having an absolute blast," O'Neill said after spending a few days home in California. "Back home, I did the Jim Rome Show. I did all these cool interviews. I was at the Lakers game the other night and they interviewed us, Mario (jockey Gutierrez) and I. It's been an absolute dream. Who knows if we'll ever do this again? Hopefully, we'll do this multiple times, but we're soaking it all up and enjoying every moment of it."

Owned by J. Paul Reddam, I'll Have Another went back to the track to stretch his legs while O'Neill watched. With exercise rider Jonny Garcia in the saddle, the chestnut colt galloped around the Pimlico track.

"I thought he looked fantastic," O'Neill said. "He had his caddy Arnold Palmer with him, Lava Man, and they were just like we were back home. Those two were absolutely great together, full of energy but composed. One of the great things about I'll Have Another is he's got such a beautiful, long stride. You saw it here today. He's maintained that on whatever surface he's on. That's what I was looking for. I just wanted to see him really stretch and he did. He looks no worse for the wear. He looks great."

Derby runner-up Bodemeister, still at Churchill Downs, jogged a mile Thursday morning under exercise rider George Alvarez with trainer Bob Baffert's assistant Jim Barnes alongside on a pony.

Baffert has Liaison, sixth in the Kentucky Derby, and Paynter also under consideration for the Preakness. Later Thursday morning, Liaison galloped 1 1/2 miles with Alvarez riding and Paynter visited the starting gate under Alvarez and then galloped a little more than a mile.

Dullahan, third in the Run for the Roses, galloped 1 1/2 miles Thursday under exercise rider Faustino Aguilar at Churchill Downs. Trainer Dale Romans, who won last year's Preakness with Shackleford, had Cozzetti gallop 1 1/2 miles under Romero Cordache at Churchill Downs.

The fourth-place horse in the Derby, Went the Day Well, is stabled at Fair Hill Training Center with trainer Graham Motion. The colt jogged and galloped in a field Thursday morning to get ready for the Preakness.

"He jogged two turns in a field behind my barn and galloped two turns," said Motion. "I'll probably take him up to the track tomorrow and gallop him a mile."

Last year Motion won the Run for the Roses with Animal Kingdom who then finished second to Shackleford in the Preakness. Animal Kingdom did not get to Pimlico until race day for the Preakness, but Motion is thinking of taking Went the Day Well to Baltimore earlier.

"I'll gallop him through the weekend and decide when," Motion said concerning the 2012 Spiral Stakes champ. "I think I found the track a little different last year, particularly towards the outside. It's something I want to get him used to, plus he's kind of an immature acting horse and I want to get him used to his surroundings."

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