Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 12:00 AM
New York-based Derby runners not expected to go in Preakness
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The three New York-based horses who contested Saturday’s 140th Kentucky Derby were all expected to ship home by Monday, but none of the trio is expected to run back in the May 17 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, according to their connections.
The Wood Memorial first- and second-place finishers Wicked Strong and Samraat finished noses apart in the Derby when running fourth and fifth, respectively, behind California Chrome. Uncle Sigh, who set the early pace, faded to 14th in the 19-horse field.
Wicked Strong and Uncle Sigh were expected to share a van ride Monday back to Belmont Park. Samraat was going to be flown Monday back to New York along with Todd Pletcher-trained runners Danza, We Miss Artie, and Intense Holiday, who will all be based at Belmont Park. Samraat will be based at Aqueduct.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said aside from a scrape on a hock, Wicked Strong came out of his fourth-place finish in the Derby relatively unscathed. Jerkens felt his horse ran well considering all the traffic he had in the stretch, especially when Danza cut in front of him at the eighth pole. He was beaten 5 3/4 lengths.
“I was livid. I thought he had a lot of traffic down the lane,” Jerkens said Sunday morning. “Every time he went to go somewhere, he got shut off. I was really happy to see that he got fourth.”
Regarding the Preakness, Jerkens said, “It doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. Who knows? He might do something when we get back home to make me change my mind.”
Trainer Rick Violette said Samraat put in “a typical Samraat performance. He ran his eyeballs out.”
Violette said he would discuss the Preakness with owner Len Riggio but added, “I would lean toward not running.”
Violette said that if for some reason California Chrome didn’t make the Preakness, he would re-think his position.
“We’re as good as anybody else,” Violette said.
Violette said he would consider the Belmont Stakes for Samraat.
Gary Contessa said Uncle Sigh would likely drop back into an allowance race for his next start after getting beat 16 1/4 lengths in the Derby. Equipped with blinkers for the first time, Uncle Sigh was part of the early pace, running a half-mile in 47.37 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.80 before dropping back approaching the quarter pole.
Contessa said despite adding the blinkers, he did not want Uncle Sigh on the lead.
“Of all the things I didn’t want to happen, I didn’t want to be on the lead,” said Contessa, lamenting the lack of speed shown by others in the race. “I told Irad [Ortiz] to show a little bit of intent to get position, but let the other speed pass you, and you’ll be in perfect position, but the other speed never materialized.”