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Features - RACING

Video courtesy of NYRA

Kentucky Derby winner Orb returned to the racetrack for the first time since his career-defining victory Saturday, jogging a mile under exercise rider Jenn Patterson at Belmont Park in preparation for the Preakness Stakes on May 18.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Orb will gallop on Thursday morning and probably will breeze on Monday before shipping to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.

“The weather was terrible, so instead of galloping, he just jogged,” McGaughey said. “It was a pretty miserable morning when he went out. But Jenn said he was feeling good and moving good. All signs are good.”

ORB AT BELMONT PARK

Orb Belmont -Hero

Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA

Following his first Kentucky Derby win, the outpouring of congratulations and support he has received has overwhelmed McGaughey.

“It’s hugely appreciated. I appreciated the reception we got in Louisville. What’s happened after the Derby is absolutely mind-boggling and very, very flattering for me,” McGaughey said.

“The phone calls, the emails, the newspaper articles have just been absolutely wonderful. Nobody knows how much how I appreciate this reception.”

McGaughey has long been respected as a fantastic horseman who always puts the horse first in every decision when training Thoroughbreds.

“I try to conduct myself in the right way and try to run my stable in the best possible way. I try to surround myself with good people, who played a role in this,” he said. “I think that people have appreciated that. I had no idea that a horse race could bring that out.” 

In other Preakness news:

Claiborne Farm’s and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing galloped 1 ½ miles on a fast track early Wednesday at Churchill Downs. Trained by Al Stall Jr., the Illinois Derby winner is scheduled to work Saturday or Sunday depending on weather. Friday’s forecast in Louisville is for scattered thunderstorms with a 50 percent chance of rain and Saturday’s outlook is for a few showers and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Itsmyluckyday, who arrived at Monmouth Park from Churchill Downs Wednesday morning, will have a new rider for the Preakness. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will replace Elvis Trujillo aboard the Holy Bull Stakes winner, who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby.

The son of Lawyer Ron had returned to the racetrack Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs, where he jogged two miles. 

Five-time Preakness-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas has firmed up the jockey assignments for his three Preakness candidates. He reported Wednesday morning that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will replace Jon Court aboard Will Take Charge, while Julien Leparoux will have the mount aboard Titletown Five and Gary Stevens will retain the mount on Oxbow.

Smith, 47, has competed in the Preakness 14 times since 1984. He picked up his lone win on Prairie Bayou in 1993 and has two seconds on his resume: Mine That Bird in 2009 and Bodemeister in 2012.

Leparoux has been blanked with five Preakness mounts, including a 2008 second-place finisher Macho Again.

Stevens has ridden two Preakness winners, Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001), from 16 mounts.

Trainer Doug O’Neill’s Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents walked the shedrow at his barn at Pimlico for 30 minutes Wednesday morning. He will return to the track at 8:30 Thursday morning for the first time since finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby. Goldencents shipped from Kentucky Monday and was the first Preakness candidate to arrive at Pimlico.

“He’s great. He’s settled in really well,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. “We’re happy with him.”

Jockey Kevin Krigger, who will be aboard Goldencents when he goes out to jog Thursday, has a mount on Sunday’s program at Pimlico.

GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm’s fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Mylute returned to the track for the first time since the “Run for the Roses” with an easy jog early Wednesday morning at Churchill.

“Everything was fine this morning,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “He will gallop the rest of the week and the partnership will get together Saturday after training and make a decision on the Preakness.” 

Mike Pegram’s Governor Charlie came out of his work on Tuesday in fine shape and remains a prospect for the Preakness, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday morning. 

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