Here & There – Alibi edition

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We’re in Baltimore and on the grounds at Pimlico Race Course prepping for Saturday’s Xpressbet Preakness Stakes. People are talking and they’re joking even more, especially during Thursday’s traditional Alibi Breakfast.

American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund – the three leading contenders for the $1.5 million Preakness and the first three finishers in the Kentucky Derby- were on the track Thursday and that certainly got people chatting about their chances.

We’ll call this the slightly abbreviated Preakness Thursday edition and promise to be back later in the week with more.

Worth Repeating

“He’s a very sound and healthy horse. That’s the whole key.” – Trainer Bob Baffert on American Pharoah

“You think they can move the race up to tomorrow?” – Owner Arnold Zetcher after his Firing Line wrapped up training Thursday morning

“I just got one of those lottery tickets and got to be here.” – Jose Corrales, owner and trainer of Preakness longshot and Federico Tesio winner Bodhisattva

“American Pharoah is such an impressive animal, he could be in the 40-hole, the 1-hole, it may not matter.” – Trainer Neil Howard, who won the 1990 Preakness with Summer Squall

“It was a great show and a great race to be a part of. One of the best races I’ve ever competed in. We came out on the short end of the stick in the Derby but we’re going to try to turn the tables on Saturday. We’re here to put on a show and that show is the tight finishes and I’m sure you’re going to see another exciting race on the weekend.” – Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who rides Derby runner-up Firing Line in the Preakness

“He was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby.” – Baffert, when asked if American Pharoah was the best horse in the Preakness

“It’s hard for a guy in my line of work to not like a horse named Divining Rod.” – Rev. William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, during Thursday’s Alibi Breakfast

“Finally I’ve got to thank Mom and Dad. People talk about pedigree and breeding in Thoroughbred racing. They produced full brothers who won Eclipse Awards and David Woods Awards.” – Joe Clancy after he joined brother Sean Clancy as winner of the David F. Woods Memorial Award for best Preakness story

“It’s going to be a hell of a lot of more interesting than the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.” – Baffert on the rematch between American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund in the Preakness

“You mentioned earlier that 95 percent of people were rooting for a Triple Crown. We are part of the other 5 percent.” – Zetcher

“I know you’re the choir so I’m not going to preach.” – Baltimore television personality Denise Koch talking about importance of the Thoroughbred industry before the premiere of Racing the Times documentary at The Senator Theater Wednesday night

“We’re giving our horse a shot. We know we’re up against some great horses, some great horsemen, we just hope we get lucky and get a piece of it.” – Trainer Dallas Stewart on Preakness longshot Tale of Verve

“It’s pretty special. … For her to be able to see me compete is really, really special.” – Stevens on what it means that his daughter Maddie will get to watch him ride another Preakness


By the Numbers

1: Number of Black-Eyed Susans ordered by TIHR’s Tom Law at the Alibi Breakfast.

1: Sips out of said Black-Eyed Susan before it was spilled accidentally.

6.8: Average number of opponents the 11 Triple Crown winners faced when they won the Preakness.

8: Number of horses entered in the Preakness, the smallest field since Red Bullet won in 2000.

12: Largest Preakness field any of the Triple Crown winners contested – Sir Barton in 1919.

14: Number of races Friday and Saturday at Pimlico.

100,000-plus: Projected attendance the Maryland Jockey Club predicts for Saturday’s Preakness.