Here & There: Preakness

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Splish, splash. Splish, splash. Splish, splash. That’s basically how it went Friday morning out at Pimlico Race Course, a little more than 24 hours before the 139th Preakness Stakes card gets rolling.

Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, Florida Derby runner-up General a Rod and multiple Maryland stakes winner Kid Cruz were some of the first to train over the super-saturated main track. Our team was out, too, with raincoats, mud boots, pencils and pads.


Worth Repeating

“I lost my mud mark.” – Art Sherman, taking the first of many muddy steps walking with California Chrome to the track.

“Where’s that Woodford Reserve when we really need it Jennie?” – Sherman to Louisville Courier-Journal Turf writer Jennie Rees, donning Woodford Reserve Turf Classic jacket.

“I hope one of these tents doesn’t blow over.” – Sherman, surveying the rain-soaked, wind-blown scene on the infield.

“For some reason every time I ride California Chrome, I never have plans on how I want to ride him before a race. I decide at that moment, see how he’s running.” – Jockey Victor Espinoza, when asked about his plans before the Derby
“Turning for home, I wanted to wait a little bit longer, but at some point, I couldn’t wait any longer. It was an awesome feeling.” – Espinoza, about making his move in the Derby
“Today will be a tough, because it’s two weeks. Any horse that runs back in two weeks, it’s tough, hopefully he’s ready to go.” – Espinoza, about the prospects of winning the Preakness

“Keep it clean.” – HRRN’s Mike Penna to Pimlico announcer Dave Rodman, when asked about what he’s seen in the Pimlico infield over the years

“Beach balls.” – Rodman, in response
“Expect the unexpected.” – Rodman, when asked about advice on how to call the Preakness

“I never, ever got instructions from Charlie.” – Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, when asked what trainer Charlie Whittingham told him to do aboard Sunday Silence, 25 years from when he won the Preakness

“Charlie said, ‘Do me a favor, go as slow as you can go.’ I went three eighths in 35 and 4 and came back and told Patrick, ‘You need to ride this colt, you’ll win the Kentucky Derby on him.” – HRRN’s Jeff Bloom, when asked about breezing Sunday Silence

“I’m fine with this. I’m from Louisiana with webbed feet. This is nothing.” – Trainer Eric Guillot.

“I guess we know what the buckets are for.” – Indian Charlie’s Ed Musselman, looking at the gift buckets being handed out to trainers by Cosequin.

“I’m not worried. I think they need to worry about me.” – Sherman on rival trainers in the Preakness.

“I don’t think walking out with the horse was such a great idea.” – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Tom Bellhouse, soaking wet after coming back with Ring Weekend.

“I got a call from a radio reporter asking if we were going to cancel the Preakness.” – Maryland racing official. Surprise, surprise, they’re not canceling it

“Don’t bet Pletcher, leave on a stretcher.” – Fasig-Tipton’s Max Hodge after Stopchargingmaria won the Black-Eyed Susan.

“He hits that left lead, and he’s like a rat around a barrel.” – Jockey Mike Smith on the turn move by Revolutionary in the Pimlico Special

“I get up at 3:30 in the morning.” – Trainer Phil Schoenthal, who won the Miss Preakness Stakes with Miss Behaviour, to the question “what are your plans tonight?” by some friends toward the end of Friday’s card

“I didn’t fall off, I got propelled off.” – Retired jockey Jennifer Rowland Small, who was a late scratch from the Lady Legends race with an injury during morning training.

By the Numbers

0: Pairs of socks, not including the ones he was wearing, TIHR’s Tom Law brought with him to Maryland.

2: Reporters who made the walk to the racetrack with Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome just before 6 a.m. Friday.

2: Minutes it took to completely soak Tom Law walk mentioned above.

2 1/4: Inches of rain that reportedly fell at Pimlico Friday.

34,736: Attendance on Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Day.