Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2015 Contents A46
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, May 16, 2015
won the Kentucky Derby, yet didn t
look unbeatable, as he had in his
previous races. His trainer says he
struggled. His jockey went to the
whip about 30 times to urge him on
in the stretch. His owner says the
Derby wasn t even close to his best
And now it s time for the Preak-
ness, where a victory today would
set up American Pharoah for a Triple
Crown chance at the Belmont Stakes
in three weeks. It also would give
trainer Bob Baffert an unprecedented
fourth Triple try.
Is American Pharoah up to the
"That horse didn t really get his A
game together in the Kentucky Derby,
and he still won," marveled Hall of
Famer D Wayne Lukas, who trains
long shot Mr Z, yesterday morning
outside the stakes barn at Pimlico
Race Course. "That s a scary thought."
American Pharoah, owned by
Ahmed Zayat is the 4-5 morning-
line favourite in an eight-horse field,
and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
Stablemate Dortmund, third in the
Derby, is the second choice at 7-2,
and Derby runner-up Firing Line is
Dortmund also is trained by Baffert,
setting up the possibility of a trainer
spoiling his own Triple Crown chance.
It happened 20 years ago to Lukas,
but Baffert says of Dortmund: "He
deserves another chance."
Zayat, a three-time Derby runner-
up before winning two weeks ago, is
confident American Pharoah will
prove again he s the horse of a life-
"I don t believe the Derby showed
the sheer brilliance of American
Pharoah," Zayat said. "I hoping you
will see the real AP again on Saturday
(today). He is giving me all signs that
he is ready again."
His colt isn t the only one ready
Dortmund, with Martin Garcia
aboard, is looking to avenge his first
loss after six wins; Firing Line ran
second to Dortmund twice, then fell
a length short of American Pharoah
in the Derby.
"Hopefully we can turn the tables
on American Pharaoh, the same as
we did Dortmund," said Gary Stevens,
Firing Line s Hall of Fame jockey and
a three-time Preakness winner.
Divining Rod comes into the 1 3-
16th-mile Preakness after winning
the Lexington Stakes and skipping
the Derby. The colt is owned by
Gretchen and Roy Jackson s Lael Sta-
bles, and marks the Jacksons first
entry in the Preakness since 2006,
when Derby winner Barbaro shattered
a leg at the start of the race and was
euthanised in January 2007.
"We ve put all that behind us and
can t wait to see what Divining Rod
can do," Roy Jackson said this week.
"We hope he ll be competitive, but
he deserves to be in the race and
given a chance."
The field, from the rail out, is:
American Pharoah, Dortmund, Mr
Z, Danzig Moon, Tale of Verve, Bod-
hisattva, Diving Rod and Firing Line.
Post time is 6.18 pm. EDT (NBC).
The post-position draw did not go
Baffert s way, with his horses getting
the two inside posts.
"I can t believe I drew the 1-2 of
all draws," he said.
History says he has reason for con-
cern. Tabasco Cat, in 1994, was the
last Preakness winner out of the No
1 post. Snow Chief, in 1986, was the
last to win from the No 2 post.
The start could turn into the most
critical part of the race. A stumble
out of the gate likely ends any chance
at victory. The same with jostling for
position into the first turn. The top
three choices are expected to be on
or near the lead, but Espinoza needs
to make sure American Pharoah does-
n t get pinned on the inside and forced
to drop back.
Then again, most of the horses in
the field have a similar get-to-the-
front style, and if the pace is too fast
early on, it could set the stage for a
closer like Danzig Moon to pull an
If American Pharoah wins, it would
be the 14th time since Affirmed swept
the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in
1978 that a Triple Crown would be
on the line in the Belmont.
Baffert won the Derby and Preak-
ness with Silver Charm in 1997, Real
Quiet in 1998 and War Emblem in
2002. All came up short in the Bel-
The forecast for today calls for
temperatures in the 80s, with a 40
percent chance of scattered thun-
American Pharoah favoured to win Preakness
Exercise rider Jorge Alvarez gallops Preakness Stakes entrant American
Pharoah at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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