‘He’s Kind Of A Bad Boy’: Lani’s Morning Antics Enlivened Derby Week

by | 05.16.2016 | 6:22pm

“He's got a lot of fans because of his personality,'' Keita Tanaka, spokesman for owner Koji Maeda, told Newsday. “He's kind of a bad boy, and people like bad boys.”

Lani, a striking gray son of Tapit, and his morning antics provided a unique fire during the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby, and even exercise rider Eishu Maruuchi admitted that Lani is the one in charge. Taking several more trips around the Churchill Downs oval than his contemporaries each morning, the colt's “amorous” desires were often proudly displayed before and after each workout. The team, including trainer Mikio Matsunanga, dealt with the same behavior on Derby Day, keeping Lani well behind the other horses on the walk-over and away from them in the paddock. He was even allowed to gallop out past the starting gate before the post parade.

Though he broke slowly in the Derby, and was forced very wide on the final turn, Lani managed to make up enough ground to finish ninth, earning a run in the Preakness Stakes this Saturday. He will be shipping in from Belmont Park, where he is stabled in Barclay Tagg's barn. Additional boards were installed to increase Lani's “privacy,” and the team says he has been more relaxed in his morning workouts.

“I don't see any problems with him,'' Tagg told Newsday. “They act like he's a lion or a tiger, but I've had worse horses than that.”

Read more at Newsday.

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