Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Forget the Derby! Classic Empire Healthy for Preakness Run

Conquest Mo Money's connection chose to skip the Kentucky Derby in order to point him toward the Preakness. He drew the No. 5 post, which allowed him to break in mild traffic while many of his top rivals banged bodies trying to dive in from the outside. “Hopefully we get a cleaner trip at Pimlico.”.

Highlighted by Derby victor Always Dreaming, the Preakness hopefuls include four other colts who were at Churchill Downs May 3, including second-place finisher Lookin at Lee and the fourth-place Derby horse, Classic Empire. Maybe it is Always Dreaming. Trainer Brendan Walsh said the colt handled the trip well.

The colt has been, well, like a dream since he left Kentucky.

Only about 18% of the winners in the history of the race have taken them flag fall to that's all so don't quickly buy into the myth about the sharp turns and the Baltimore highway. And he's won the two toughest races of his career rather easily. "All the indications since then have been great".

Nyquist came to the Preakness a exhausted horse previous year after winning the Kentucky Derby and he did not work between the two races.

In addition to Always Dreaming and Classic Empire, here are eight other probable Preakness starters with their primary credentials. "It's something I'd love to win".

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"From the point of view of speed handicappers, it was much faster than any 3-year-old in the United States ever has run", Beyer wrote. His best finish was third with Impeachment in 2000. He was very patient with the 2016 Preakness victor a year ago just letting him gallop up to the race. Always Dreaming was too good. He gets a little bit more distance in this spot, and he's doing really well right now.

Tom and Sandra McKenna, who own Conquest Mo Money, feel the same way about the New York-bred they snagged last November for a measly $8,500 at Conquest Stable's dispersal sale.

After Classic Empire, the closest contenders look a lot less likely to pull off a victory.

"This whole two weeks in between the Derby and the Preakness is all about just refueling and keeping him healthy and happy", Pletcher said. "And we sure didn't change our minds because of the results of the Derby".

Lookin At Lee and Hence were scheduled to be flown from Kentucky to Baltimore on Tuesday along with Senior Investment and several other horses for undercard stakes.

"What we've seen, I think, is that he just keeps getting stronger every day", Bush said. "Now hopefully we can get the job done in the Preakness". This is what Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens said about a speed conducive track before he went on to take the 2001 edition with Point Given, Stevens: "That's a fallacy".

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Trainer John Shirreffs said X-rays showed a fractured sesamoid bone in the colt's right front ankle.

The colt was taken to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for treatment.

That leaves Term of Art as the only California-based horse in what is expected to be a 10-horse Preakness field.

The Kentucky Derby victor has 10/11 odds to win Saturday's race and his odds to win the Triple Crown are 11/4 compared to 2/9 to lose, according to betting side Bovada.

Bush, the exercise rider, only started working with Always Dreaming in the days leading up to the Derby when another of Pletcher's riders suggested the colt - victor of all four races he has entered this year - needed a more muscular rider.

Classic Empire has recovered nicely from his distressing race at the Kentucky Derby — and so have his handlers.

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"The one positive side is there wasn't any other damage to that leg, he doesn't have a condylar or any other ligaments that were injured, just the right sesamoid", said Shirreffs, who also said Royal Mo was being transported to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania, the facility best known for treating 2006 Kentucky Derby victor Barbaro after he fractured a hind leg in the 2006 Preakness.

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