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May 18, 2012

Final preparations for Preakness Stakes


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Two days until the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico and all concerned are making final preparations for the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown.

Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another, the 5-2 second pick for Saturday, went to the track Thursday morning.

"He jogged about a half-mile straight off and then got into a seven-furlong gallop and finished up great," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "We're very happy with his energy and the way he's training on a daily basis."

Bodemeister, the 8-5 morning line favorite, got his initial taste of the Pimlico track since arriving from Louisville. Trained by Bob Baffert, the colt galloped 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider George Alvarez.

"His first day here went well. It looks like he took to the track nicely," Baffert said. "He was pretty cool out there. I am not seeing anything to make me think anything different about him. He bounced right out of the Derby. His weight has held. He can handle it."

The Hall of Fame trainer has five Preakness wins: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and Lookin At Lucky (2010).

The 6-1 co-third choices are Went the Day Well and Creative Cause.

Trained by Graham Motion, Went the Day Well galloped a mile, stood in the starting gate and galloped another mile Thursday morning.

"We made a quick decision to run here after the Derby. It wasn't a hard decision. He's a horse that never seems to get tired, to be honest," Motion said. "We've noticed when we work him or we run him that he never seems to get tired."

Creative Cause, trained by Mike Harrington, arrived at Pimlico from California Thursday morning. The colt defeated Bodemeister in the San Felipe Stakes and was second to the Derby runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby.

"In the San Felipe, he was kind of wandering around until Bodemeister came over to where he could see him, and when he saw him he took off," Harrington said on removing blinkers for the colt's last two starts. "The rider (Joel Rosario) suggested maybe I should open the blinkers up. They already had a big hole in them, so I just took them off.

"Several people have asked me how come you came (to Baltimore), like it was foolish for him to come, He's beaten both those horses (I'll Have Another and Bodemeister) and he only got beat three lengths in the Derby, so why not come?"

Sunland Derby winner Daddy Nose Best, 12-1 in the program, galloped Thursday for trainer Steve Asmussen who won the Preakness in 2007 with Curlin and two years later with the filly Rachel Alexandra.

"The horse was training so well going up to the Derby," Asmussen's longtime assistant Scott Blasi said "The Derby is an event; this is more like a horse race. That's why we thought he deserved another chance."

Teeth of the Dog, 15-1 in the program, comes into the Preakness off a third- place finish in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Trained by Michael Matz, the colt galloped 1 1/2 miles and stood in the gate at Fair Hills Training Center Thursday morning.

Trainer Rick Dutrow goes for his second Preakness victory with 20-1 longshot Zetterholm, having won in 2008 with Big Brown. Zetterholm, owned by Winter Park Partners, galloped under exercise rider Mario Madrid Thursday morning.

"He did really well," said assistant trainer Blake Dutrow who is handling Zetterholm for his uncle. "The track is a little better, so we let him do a little more. He handled the track very well. He got a little more out of his gallop today and seems a little more tired. That's OK."

Tiger Walk, 30-1 in the morning line, galloped 1 3/8 miles Thursday for trainer Ignacio Correas.

"He did really good," said Correas. "He's doing great. I think he's going to improve with the 'cheaters' (blinkers). I don't think the distance will be a problem; it's actually going to benefit him."

Pretension, trained by Chris Grove, galloped 1 1/2 miles at nearby Bowie Training Center Thursday morning.

"I think he'll be able to get a mile and three-sixteenths," said Grove about the 30-1 outsider who won the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico on May 5.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will saddle 30-1 longshot Optimizer with the hope of winning his sixth Preakness Stakes. Lukas captured the second leg of the Triple Crown with Codex (1980), Tank's Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999).

Trainer Dale Romans hopes to win a second straight Preakness with 30-1 outsider Cozzetti. The colt galloped 1 1/2 miles the day after arriving in Baltimore from Louisville.

Romans got his first Preakness victory last year with Shackleford.

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