WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden said Tuesday that Quip is officially headed to the Preakness Stakes for a clash with Kentucky Derby winner Justify, who is also co-owned by WinStar.
Quip, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and second in the Arkansas Derby (G1), was kept out of the Kentucky Derby to point for the Preakness after Keeneland-based trainer Rodolphe Brisset thought the colt needed extra time.
“He deserves the opportunity,” Walden said. “We purposely skipped the Derby pointing for the Preakness. We looked at it at that time and asked the question, if we did win the Derby, would we still run Quip in the Preakness? We all kind of answered, 'Yes.' But I wanted to take a fresh look at it after the race and make sure.”
Quip and Kentucky Derby winner Justify share ownership through WinStar and China Horse Club. SF Bloodstock is a partner in Quip but sold its racing rights for Justify to Starlight Racing while retaining breeding rights. Quip will race with jockey Florent Geroux wearing WinStar's silks.
“Justify is going to be the prohibitive favorite,” Walden said. “If you're looking at it with a Quip hat on, you would think he would be a very difficult horse to beat but that you're as live as anybody else.”
Trainer Chad Brown said Tuesday morning that he is still considering a start in the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1) for Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Good Magic – setting up a possible rematch with Derby winner Justify – at Pimlico Race Course May 19.
“I'm not sure,” Brown said about his plans for the son of Curlin co-owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Farm. Brown acknowledged that there was no pressure to make a quick decision on whether to send the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and 2-year-old male champion to the Preakness. The morning after the race, Brown said he would watch how the colt came out of the race and discuss how to proceed with the owners.
Noting with a chuckle that “my trainer's license has expired,” Bob Edwards of e Five said that the owners will rely on Brown's advice.
“Chad is one of the best guys in placing horses in spots where you're going to get in the money or win,” Edwards said. “He wants this horse to win and he's going to put this horse in the best position to win.”
Good Magic was shipped from Louisville to Brown's barn at Belmont Park on Monday. Brown said the son of 2007 Preakness winner Curlin would go back to the track for his morning exercise on Wednesday.
In the Derby, Good Magic and jockey Jose Ortiz stalked the 5-2 favorite Justify and made a run toward the front in the second turn. Justify responded to the challenge at the top of the stretch and posted a 2½-length victory.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have two chances to get a record-tying seventh Preakness victory, with both Bravazo and Sporting Chance on target for the 1 3/16-mile classic. Lukas said he expects to have his jockeys finalized by this Wednesday.
Bravazo finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby after making a big move around the far turn to the sixteenth pole before weakening. Sporting Chance, winner of last summer's Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, rallied late to get fourth in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Derby undercard.
Both colts had a walk day Tuesday and will resume training Wednesday at Churchill Downs, Lukas said.
“They're doing great,” Lukas said. “They are both bright and were out there on the grass [grazing] full of themselves.
“We're looking forward to it. Sporting Chance got roughed up pretty good about the half-mile pole. A horse came over and hit him in the hip and spun him around and the rider darn near came off. But then he recovered and finished well. It is what it is. We all ran over the same surface,” Lukas added.
“Realistically it's Justify's race to lose, just that simple. He's the best horse. Not always the best horse wins in the Kentucky Derby, and this year the best horse won. To go into Baltimore and take him back on is definitely going to be a challenge. I'll never be afraid, but I'm realistic enough to know he'll be very difficult to beat. But you can't mail it in. They run and things happen. We've been there before. I mean, Oxbow wasn't supposed to beat those horses either, and he did easy.”
Oxbow finished sixth in the 2013 Kentucky Derby before handily beating Derby winner Orb in the Preakness to give Lukas his most recent Triple Crown triumph.
Lukas said the horses will likely van to Pimlico Monday.
Other 3-year-olds being considered for the Preakness are G M B Racing's Lone Sailor, who finished eighth in the Derby; Cash is King and D.J. Stable and LC Racing's Diamond King, the winner of the Federico Tesio at Laurel last time out; Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tenfold, fifth in the Arkansas Derby, and Valene Farm's Givemeaminit, who finished third in the Pat Day Mile.
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