Preakness Week is already well underway here in Baltimore and it ramped up a notch in the last day when the field was set at the post-position draw Wednesday and the following morning with the annual Alibi Breakfast.
A time to gather, nosh on a breakfast buffet complete with fried chicken and sip on boozy Black-Eyed Susans, the Alibi Breakfast gives attendees the chance to hear from the Preakness participants and members of the media honored for excellence. One of those award winners was TIHR’s Joe Clancy, bestowed with his second David F. Woods Memorial Award for best Preakness story in the last three years.
Our crew, or at least part of it, showed up on the scene Thursday morning and took in the show at the Alibi.
“I’m from Brooklyn, I guess you can tell.”
Anthony Bonomo, when asked the origins of his Brooklyn Boyz Stable that co-owns Always Dreaming
“She also has a barn full of horses. To this day when everybody brings it up, ‘how many do you have Betty?’ She says, ‘shh, don’t tell Jim.’ ”
Maryland Jockey Club photographer Jim McCue, winner of the Special Award of Merit, talking about his wife
“I did the easiest part, which was writing out a check. A big one; more than I wanted, but now it’s the best money I ever spent.”
Bonomo on the $425,000 yearling buy and Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming
“I wish every single $2 bettor, because we started out as $2 bettors, could experience just a fraction of the elation and quite frankly euphoria that we are blessed to be able to steward to this sport.”
Vinny Viola, who co-owns Always Dreaming in the name of his St. Elias Stable
“As Keith said the best interviews I’ve ever had for this job are Cigar and Ben’s Cat. I’ve got notes from Cigar and Ben’s Cat, they gave me some good tips.”
WBAL Radio’s Scott Wykoff, Honorary Postmaster for Preakness Week
“Enjoying racing every day is my pleasure.”
Bonomo on racing and savoring the Kentucky Derby
“I’m going to hand this over to Anthony. He’s a much better speaker than me and … he always says the things I’m thinking anyway.”
Viola, after being asked if the fact that Always Dreaming is the only horse now eligible to sweep the Triple Crown had sunk in yet
“He’s always trying to interview me. And by the way, we weren’t $2 bettors we were like a quarter.”
“It takes a lot of people to produce a story. That story, and I know they’re here somewhere, the Baltimore City Mounted Police is where that story started. I was standing on the turf course after the race and talking to Officer Gilley, who started talking about Kent coming and riding when he first came to Maryland and riding, in her words, ‘some very below average horses and he rode them like they were stake horses.’ That was the beginning of the story, I talked to the brothers, I talked to Andrea Seefeldt, who rode with Kent, Charlie Hadry, who worked with Keith. All these connections that you might have known they were there but the more you talked to them the more you realized how deep they were. It was a cool story to tell and thanks to them for helping me tell it.”
TIHR’s Joe Clancy, winner of the David F. Woods Memorial Award for the best Preakness story for 2016
“The Clancy family is like the Williams sisters in tennis, they dominate everything.”
Baltimore broadcaster and Alibi Breakfast co-host Keith Mills after Joe Clancy accepted the David F. Woods Memorial Award
“I don’t think anyone does a better job than Pimlico welcoming the horses and the owners and the entire crowd.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who sends out Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming in Saturday’s Preakness
“Need more TVs. There’s not enough TVs.”
Ryan Clancy, looking at bank of televisions in the clubhouse during the Alibi Breakfast
“The horse is doing unbelievably well, the two-week turnaround right now the way he’s acting, the way he’s moving, getting over the track, we feel really blessed he’s coming into the race this way. I’ve been in a lot of races and lost a lot of races, so I know you never want to be overconfident but I do feel very good about the way he’s coming into it.”
Todd Pletcher on Always Dreaming heading into the Preakness
“My dad knew he was a champion since the day he got into the barn.”
Alex Sano on Gunnevera, trained by his father Antonio
“A few minutes ago the gentleman across from you introduced himself as Dusty Leatherwood, from New Mexico. Is that legit? … How many of you guys believe that?”
Mills asking Conquest Mo Money’s owner Tom McKenna about one of his guests Thursday morning
“It’s the truth.”
“Anybody want to tweet me some questions, man, go right ahead.”
Mills after asking McKenna how special it was to be involved in the Preakness and getting the two word response “Very special.”
“I didn’t want to put him up here because he’s a worse liar than I am. Anyway, what he does is he team ropes pretty dag gum good, not only that he’s the best dag gum horseshoer in all of New Mexico. And he’s hustling for business, if anybody needs him he’s right here.”
McKenna on the so-called Leatherwood
By the Numbers
6: David F. Woods Memorial Awards won by Sean (four) and Joe Clancy (two) since 2004.
135,256: Attendance for last year’s Preakness, a record that could be in jeopardy with a favorable forecast for Saturday’s edition.
$94,127,434: Total handle for the 2016 Preakness card, another record that might be broken during Saturday’s 14-race program.