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May 10, 2013

Mounts being lined up for Preakness


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez could have retained the mount on Orb for the Kentucky Derby but instead rode Verrazano in the Run for the Roses. Two weeks after finishing 14th aboard the Wood Memorial winner at Churchill Downs, Velazquez will guide Itsmyluckyday in the Preakness.

Velazquez will replace Elvis Trujillo aboard Itsmyluckyday, who finished second to Orb in the Florida Derby and 15th in the Kentucky Derby.

"We had an opportunity to ride John Velazquez. No slight to Elvis Trujillo. Elvis did a fantastic job, no question. The Derby was what the Derby was. It was a racetrack that was unfavorable to our horse," trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. "But with John being open, we just felt that we had to take advantage of having one of the very top riders in the country."

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a five-time Preakness winner, has solidified the jockeys who will ride his three entrants in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

Gary Stevens will remain the rider of Oxbow with another Hall of Fame jockey, Mike Smith, replacing Jon Court aboard Will Take Charge and Julien Leparoux picking up the mount aboard Titletown Five.

Titletown Five had a four-furlong workout Tuesday at Churchill Downs and walked the shedrow Wednesday. Oxbow and Will Take Charge each jogged two-miles Wednesday in their return to the track since their respective sixth- and eighth-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby.

"I was going to walk them another day, but I had them out on the lawn yesterday about 3 and they were so disruptive, I was afraid they were going to hurt themselves," Lukas said. "I had to bring them out today."

Kentucky Derby winner Orb jogged at Belmont Park Wednesday morning. Trainer Shug McGaughey had exercise rider Jenn Patterson jog the 3-year-old colt a mile over a muddy track.

"The weather was terrible, so instead of galloping, he just jogged," said McGaughey. "It was a pretty miserable morning when he went out. But Jenn said he was feeling good and moving good. All signs are good."

Orb is expected arrive at Pimlico on Tuesday of next week.

Putting in a six-furlong workout Tuesday at Churchill Downs was Sunland Derby champ Govenor Charlie. Trained by Bob Baffert, the colt covered the distance in 1:11 2/5.

"He's going to work Sunday or Monday and then I'll decide," Baffert said about racing Govenor Charlie in the Preakness. "He worked really well. He's going to have to convince me when he works again."

Louisiana Derby runner-up Mylute, fifth in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the track for the first time Wednesday with a jog at Churchill.

"Everything was fine this morning," trainer Tom Amoss said. "He will gallop the rest of the week and the partnership will get together Saturday after training and make a decision on the Preakness."

Illinois Derby champ Departing galloped 1 1/2 miles early Wednesday at Churchill Downs. Trained by Al Stall Jr., Departing is scheduled to work Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. Friday's forecast in Louisville is for scattered thunderstorms with a 50 percent chance of rain and Saturday's outlook is for a few showers and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents, 17th in the Run for the Roses, arrived at Pimlico early Tuesday morning and walked the shedrow at his barn for 30 minutes Wednesday morning. He will return to the track at 8:30 Thursday morning.

"He's great. He's settled in really well," said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. "We're happy with him."

Others under consideration for the Preakness are Normandy Invasion, Vyjack and Street Spice.

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