While waiting at Pimlico Race Course for the arrival of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming Tuesday morning, assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale recalled the day her 20-year employment with trainer Todd Pletcher's stable began.
“We were in Hialeah. I was kind of in between jobs and walked up to him and asked if he was looking for somebody, and he said, 'Yes, you're hired.'” DePasquale said. “It was just like that.”
Three months later, Pletcher and an assistant left Hialeah and headed north, leaving 15 horses under her care.
“It was like a major promotion after just a couple months,” she said. “Mostly I started out traveling with the horses, going to different racetracks with the horses and saddling. That was my primary job.”
The Philadelphia native has thoroughly enjoyed her expanded role in the Pletcher stable.
“It's been amazing, because I've traveled all over the world – to Dubai six or seven times; I've been to Newmarket, Royal Ascot, Goodwood; I've been to California back and forth with horses,” DePasquale said. “It's been a very cool experience.”
DePasquale has appreciated the professionalism of Pletcher's operation.
“He is very easy. He just tells you what he wants. There's no confusion. He's a very good boss to work for,” she said.
After Always Dreaming's arrival from Churchill Downs to Pimlico at 11 a.m. Tuesday, DePasquale continued to marvel at the Derby winner's attitude.
“He's so laid back, so easy going. He has no mental issues. He's a quiet, easy-going horse. It seems like nothing stresses him out,” said DePasquale, who will supervise Always Dreaming's scheduled one-mile jog at Pimlico at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
DePasquale's boss is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore Wednesday afternoon.
Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and Kentucky Derby seventh-place finisher Gunnevera resumed training Tuesday at Churchill Downs, the morning after being declared definite for the Preakness Stakes.
With trainer Antonio Sano flying back to Miami Tuesday morning, his son Alex is overseeing Gunnevera's care and preparation. Alex Sano said two big factors in going in the Preakness are “the horse did not seem like a horse who just came out of a mile and a quarter race” and “getting Mike Smith.”
A son of Dialed In, the 2011 Florida Derby (G1) winner who ran fourth in the Preakness, Gunnevera jogged two miles counter-clockwise under exercise rider Victor O'Farrel, with lead outrider Greg Blasi on an accompanying pony. Gunnevera came off the track bouncing.
“We have a good horse, the horse is sound,” Alex Sano said. “The Preakness is our main goal right now. The idea is to have a complete and sound horse for the rest of the season, and also for a couple more seasons, so we can achieve the Haskell, Travers and hopefully we can even get to the Breeders' Cup Classic.”
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the mount on Gunnevera in the Preakness in place of 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Javier Castellano, who confirmed Tuesday that will ride Wood Memorial third-place finisher Cloud Computing for major client Chad Brown.
“It was a very tough decision, wasn't easy to make due to several factors,” Sano said. “But we ended up deciding that the horse came out of the horse real good, and why not run him in the Preakness? We decided to take one race at a time, and after the Preakness we'll go on. We think the horse has a lot of chance in the Preakness. Javier Castellano is going to ride Chad Brown's horse, and we understand the situation for him. As a result, we'll have Mike Smith aboard. He's another good jockey we really like.”
Smith rode Louisiana Derby winner Girvin in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 13th.
Alex Sano said Gunnevera will van from Louisville to Baltimore Saturday, with former trainer Larry Kelly at the wheel.
One perk of the trip: “I've never had a crab cake before,” Sano said.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee and 11th-place finisher Hence both walked the shedrow and will resume training Wednesday at Churchill Downs. Scott Blasi, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, said the horses would fly to Baltimore Tuesday, May 16, on a Tex Sutton flight.
Classic Empire, last year's 2-year-old champion who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby after a horrendous trip, also walked the shedrow. Norman Casse, assistant to and son of trainer Mark Casse, termed “perfect” the colt's eye that had swollen shut after the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Kenny McPeek said Lexington (G3) winner Senior Investment, stabled at Keeneland, will fly out of Louisville on the Tuesday, May 16, Tex Sutton flight to Baltimore. Fern Circle Stables' Discreetly Mine colt had a walk day Tuesday after working five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 2/5 Monday, the fastest clocking of 18 horses at the distance.
American Equistock's Multiplier, winner of the Illinois Derby (G3) April 22 in his most recent start, jogged Tuesday at Keeneland for trainer Brendan Walsh. The son of multiple Grade 1 winner The Factor is scheduled to fly out of Louisville Tuesday, May 16 for Baltimore.
Arkansas Derby runner-up Conquest Mo Money is scheduled to arrive at Pimlico on May 14 from his current location of Prairie Meadows in Iowa.
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