Steve Asmussen, trainer of Preakness winners Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009), said Monday that Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tenfold is “probable” for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Tenfold, a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, was fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his third career start after winning his first two races at Oaklawn. Tenfold worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 1/5 Monday morning at Churchill Downs, the seventh-fastest of 23 at the distance.
“He's a very nice horse that is getting better,” Asmussen said. “I liked his work a lot today. We're expecting big things from him. I was a touch disappointed (in his Arkansas Derby). He's better than that.”
The Hall of Fame trainer said he plans to be well-represented in Pimlico's other stakes on Maryland's showcase week. On Kentucky Derby Day, Asmussen became only the second trainer to win 8,000 races when 2017 Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee won an allowance race.
“Is that not incredible?” he said. “On Derby Day, with my parents in attendance? I am truly blessed.”
Also at Churchill, trainer Tom Amoss said Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Lone Sailor came out of his Derby start well and that no decision has been made on the Preakness.
“We'll see how he trains and make a decision off of that,” he said. “Whether it should be the Preakness or something else, I don't know. (The Preakness) is not out of the question.”
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset continues to prepare Quip, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner who was second in the Arkansas Derby, for the Preakness Stakes. Quip's owners, WinStar Farm and China Horse Club International, also own Kentucky Derby winner Justify.
Elliott Walden, president of co-owner WinStar Farm, on Sunday said a final decision had yet to be made about Quip but continued, “My first inclination is to go ahead and run him, but we need to talk to our partners and see. But we'd set the horse up to run in the Preakness and he worked very well on Thursday. If Justify is supposed to win the Triple Crown, he'll beat Quip. I just think you try to manage your horses the best you can, and that it's the right thing for Quip.”
Florent Geroux is Quip's regular rider.
Quip worked a half-mile in 48 seconds Thursday at Keeneland, second-fastest of 28 moves at the distance. Brisset said that, pending weather, the son of the WinStar stallion Distorted Humor will get a final Preakness work Sunday. He is scheduled to fly to Baltimore May 15 or 16.
“We got the horse set up to run in the Preakness,” he said. “Like Elliott said, they like to do the right thing by the horse. We all agreed the Preakness was the best shot for Quip. We did talk that it didn't matter who won the Derby that we would be pointing him to the Preakness.”
Brisset, who has trained on his own for a year after being an assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott, said it wasn't hard to pass on the Kentucky Derby.
“It was an easy decision for a couple of reasons,” he said. “The horse was showing us that he didn't want to run back in three weeks. That was the first reason. The second reason was the fact that WinStar had three other horses in the Derby. I was leaning to where I'd pass, and it was easy for them to give me the green light and say, 'That's fine, if you feel like the horse needs more time.' We talk and work as a team with Elliott and all the ownership. It's not like I'm 70 years old and been at it 40 years and never had one (Derby horse). Hopefully I'll have another one.
“But it's horse-first for us. I have too much respect for Quip. He put us on the map. It's pretty amazing we were lucky enough to have him. It's a fun ride, and still a fun ride. A classic is a classic,” he added “There's nothing wrong about running in the Preakness with a shot… I was very happy he was in the stall when I saw all that rain and mud (for the Derby). We have a horse that will come back fresh. He worked very good last week, and I wouldn't trade my place.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is expected to enter both Bravazo (sixth in the Kentucky Derby) and Sporting Chance in a quest for his seventh Preakness success. Trainer John Servis, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones for a victory in the 2004 Preakness, will return with Federico Tesio winner Diamond King. Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic is also under Preakness consideration.
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