WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing's Grade 2 winner Quip returned to the work tab with a half-mile breeze Thursday morning at Keeneland ahead of his anticipated start in the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1).
A bay son of Distorted Humor bred by WinStar, Quip went four furlongs in 48 seconds over Keeneland's main track in his first work since finishing second behind Magnum Moon in the Arkansas Derby (G1) April 14. The time was second-fastest of 27 horses at the distance.
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset, on his own after serving as an assistant under Hall of Famer Bill Mott since 2007, was pleased with the move. The $1.5 million Preakness, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, will be run Saturday, May 19 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.
“He went very good this morning. I've been saying we wanted to give him some time to recover from the last race and we got a nice effort from him this morning,” Brisset said by phone from Kentucky. “He went off in 25 [seconds] and came home in 23 and had a good gallop-out. It looked like he cooled out pretty good, so it looks like we're on schedule to show up at Pimlico.”
Quip owns three wins from five career starts highlighted by a length victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 10 over a field that included Kentucky Derby (G1) contenders Flameaway and Vino Rosso. Quip had enough points to qualify for a Derby run, but the connections opted instead to give the colt more time between races.
“Some people may have thought I was foolish to pass on the Derby but we've got to do the right thing by the horse, and he wasn't showing us any sign he wanted to run in three weeks,” Brisset said. “Running in the Derby to run is one thing.
“I think the Preakness is, of the three [Triple Crown races], maybe the one race that fits him the best. Hopefully we did the right thing,” he added. “We should have one more work and if everything goes right we will ship there and see what happens.”
The 34-year-old Brisset worked two years for trainer Patrick Biancone before joining Mott, first as an exercise rider and soon his trusted assistant. He opened a public stable in April 2017 and won his first graded stakes with Quip this winter.
Brisset plans to breeze Quip once more in Kentucky, where he oversees a string of 30 horses, before shipping to Pimlico the Tuesday before the Preakness.
“More than likely he will work sometime next weekend, but we'll monitor the weather and things like that,” he said. “I think he should have one more work and then get on a plane on the 15th and hopefully everything goes right until the 19th. I'm excited to be there.”
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