Peeking at Preekness | TSLN.com

Peeking at Preekness

Tradition is a huge factor in all the Triple Crown races. The middle jewel – the 134th Annual Preakness Stakes – has a proud, lengthy history with Baltimore, having been run over Pemlico Race Course for more than a century. Marylanders, who have played a leading role in developing horse racing and have the image of a horse on their state seal, currently fear losing the race.

Canada-based Magna Entertainment Corporation, which owns Pimlico, Laurel Park and the rights to the Preakness Stakes, filed for bankruptcy protection March 5th. (Magna is a big outfit, which also owns Laurel Race Course in Maryland, Santa Anita at Arcadia, California, and Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area.) Maryland and the city of Baltimore have recently been in court in an effort to keep the event.

“The Preakness Stakes is… one of Maryland’s most treasured traditions… a rite of Spring,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. As the state’s largest annual sporting event, it helps support Maryland’s thoroughbred industry for the rest of the year. O’Malley says the industry generates more than 20,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact of $1.5 billion.

In April, Maryland’s General Assembly authorized the governor to use eminent domain in hopes that the state could seize the Preakness and the Maryland tracks if necessary to protect the state’s interests. “I think we’re agnostic on ownership, but not on location,” the governor said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep it in Maryland. If the state has to step up (to seize the tracks), that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Whether or not this will be the last time the Preakness runs in Baltimore, it’s shaping up to be a lively contest with plenty of contenders for ‘favorite.’ Wayne Lukas who has Flying Private and Luv Gov entered, had favorable comments on Mine That Bird this week, calling him “a pretty mover.”

“I watch the horse come past my barn every day, and I think he looks even better now than he did going into the Derby,” Lukas commented.

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That’s not because life is easy for Mine That Bird. Instead of a fancy horse van or charter flight from Louisville International Airport, he rode nearly 10 hours in his horse trailer to arrive at Pemlico Tuesday; then galloped an hour and a half the same day. Trainer Chip Woolley, who increased those gallops to two miles Wednesday and Thursday, said he was “afraid it might just be Churchill that he likes, but he looks just as good here.”

Mine That Bird stands out in the crowd for going to and from the track, even in unfamiliar venues, without a pony horse. Wooley says, “He’s never needed a pony, and there’s not any reason to send him with one.” As my cowboy would say, “He’s broke to ride.”

That independence and sense of personal calm is a definite positive, since Mine That Bird won’t have his magical Kentucky Derby partner Calvin Borel in the irons this time. Borel chose to ride the Kentucky-Oaks-winning filly Rachel Alexandra, whose new owners paid a $100,000 supplemental fee to get her into the Preakness because she wasn’t nominated to any of the Triple Crown races.

At press time Mine That Bird’s connections had intimated they were talking to Mike Smith, among others, about riding him in the field of 13 on Saturday. Also entered for the 1 3-16-mile Preakness were beaten Derby favorite Friesan Fire, Big Drama, Flying Private, General Quarters, Luv Gov, third-place Derby finisher Musket Man, Papa Clem, Take the Points, Terrain and Tone It Down. By the time you read this the results will be in but as I write it the tension is huge!

Dragging our attention from the East coast and focusing on our own region, I’d like to recommend a great clinic coming up May 28th through June 1st at Brad and Becca Andrews’ place north of Red Owl, SD. Both colt starting and horsemanship clinics will be offered there, by Texas clinician Buster McLaury. Having grown up among good cowboys on a big ranch that ran a lot of horses and did things the ‘old way – and having since learned from some of the best in the ‘kinder gentler’ camp – Buster is a master in dealing with horses of every disposition and attitude. He’s a consummate teacher who explains every move so a child could understand it, and he makes a big difference in all the horses and people who watch and listen. To reserve a space in this top notch event, phone Brad at (605) 985-5493. Buster is well known in this area, and it will fill up fast.

Fortunately we haven’t heard much about cloning of late, but vet scientist Dirk Vanderwall – who was part of a research team responsible for cloning three mules in Idaho – is moving to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. There he will become Director of the Hoffmann Research Center for Animal Reproduction, heading up the reproduction section. Vanderwall calls the new job a “once in a lifetime” chance that will include teaching, research and clinical service at one of the nation’s most prestigious vet schools.

We’re all aware of Texas’ claim that “everything’s bigger there.” It’s usually spoken with pride, but I doubt the state is crowing about the 25-30 dead horses and cattle and the 168 horses and 67 cattle rescued from a ranch near Blum, TX (south of Fort Worth) in March. While it may make Nebraska feel a little better about their 3-Strikes stigma, it would also suggest Texas is wiser in dealing with such issues… the bond set on animal cruelty charges for ranch owner Gregory W. Brinkley was $50,000. He’d also allegedly pointed a weapon at lawmen so a $1 million bail was set for assault charges. A Humane Society equine and livestock program coordinator there said “This is probably the most overwhelming situation I’ve been in during my 25-year career.”

May all this insanity soon come to an end, and the suffering cease… and here’s the end of our old lariat rope once more…

Tradition is a huge factor in all the Triple Crown races. The middle jewel – the 134th Annual Preakness Stakes – has a proud, lengthy history with Baltimore, having been run over Pemlico Race Course for more than a century. Marylanders, who have played a leading role in developing horse racing and have the image of a horse on their state seal, currently fear losing the race.

Canada-based Magna Entertainment Corporation, which owns Pimlico, Laurel Park and the rights to the Preakness Stakes, filed for bankruptcy protection March 5th. (Magna is a big outfit, which also owns Laurel Race Course in Maryland, Santa Anita at Arcadia, California, and Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area.) Maryland and the city of Baltimore have recently been in court in an effort to keep the event.

“The Preakness Stakes is… one of Maryland’s most treasured traditions… a rite of Spring,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. As the state’s largest annual sporting event, it helps support Maryland’s thoroughbred industry for the rest of the year. O’Malley says the industry generates more than 20,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact of $1.5 billion.

In April, Maryland’s General Assembly authorized the governor to use eminent domain in hopes that the state could seize the Preakness and the Maryland tracks if necessary to protect the state’s interests. “I think we’re agnostic on ownership, but not on location,” the governor said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep it in Maryland. If the state has to step up (to seize the tracks), that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Whether or not this will be the last time the Preakness runs in Baltimore, it’s shaping up to be a lively contest with plenty of contenders for ‘favorite.’ Wayne Lukas who has Flying Private and Luv Gov entered, had favorable comments on Mine That Bird this week, calling him “a pretty mover.”

“I watch the horse come past my barn every day, and I think he looks even better now than he did going into the Derby,” Lukas commented.

That’s not because life is easy for Mine That Bird. Instead of a fancy horse van or charter flight from Louisville International Airport, he rode nearly 10 hours in his horse trailer to arrive at Pemlico Tuesday; then galloped an hour and a half the same day. Trainer Chip Woolley, who increased those gallops to two miles Wednesday and Thursday, said he was “afraid it might just be Churchill that he likes, but he looks just as good here.”

Mine That Bird stands out in the crowd for going to and from the track, even in unfamiliar venues, without a pony horse. Wooley says, “He’s never needed a pony, and there’s not any reason to send him with one.” As my cowboy would say, “He’s broke to ride.”

That independence and sense of personal calm is a definite positive, since Mine That Bird won’t have his magical Kentucky Derby partner Calvin Borel in the irons this time. Borel chose to ride the Kentucky-Oaks-winning filly Rachel Alexandra, whose new owners paid a $100,000 supplemental fee to get her into the Preakness because she wasn’t nominated to any of the Triple Crown races.

At press time Mine That Bird’s connections had intimated they were talking to Mike Smith, among others, about riding him in the field of 13 on Saturday. Also entered for the 1 3-16-mile Preakness were beaten Derby favorite Friesan Fire, Big Drama, Flying Private, General Quarters, Luv Gov, third-place Derby finisher Musket Man, Papa Clem, Take the Points, Terrain and Tone It Down. By the time you read this the results will be in but as I write it the tension is huge!

Dragging our attention from the East coast and focusing on our own region, I’d like to recommend a great clinic coming up May 28th through June 1st at Brad and Becca Andrews’ place north of Red Owl, SD. Both colt starting and horsemanship clinics will be offered there, by Texas clinician Buster McLaury. Having grown up among good cowboys on a big ranch that ran a lot of horses and did things the ‘old way – and having since learned from some of the best in the ‘kinder gentler’ camp – Buster is a master in dealing with horses of every disposition and attitude. He’s a consummate teacher who explains every move so a child could understand it, and he makes a big difference in all the horses and people who watch and listen. To reserve a space in this top notch event, phone Brad at (605) 985-5493. Buster is well known in this area, and it will fill up fast.

Fortunately we haven’t heard much about cloning of late, but vet scientist Dirk Vanderwall – who was part of a research team responsible for cloning three mules in Idaho – is moving to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. There he will become Director of the Hoffmann Research Center for Animal Reproduction, heading up the reproduction section. Vanderwall calls the new job a “once in a lifetime” chance that will include teaching, research and clinical service at one of the nation’s most prestigious vet schools.

We’re all aware of Texas’ claim that “everything’s bigger there.” It’s usually spoken with pride, but I doubt the state is crowing about the 25-30 dead horses and cattle and the 168 horses and 67 cattle rescued from a ranch near Blum, TX (south of Fort Worth) in March. While it may make Nebraska feel a little better about their 3-Strikes stigma, it would also suggest Texas is wiser in dealing with such issues… the bond set on animal cruelty charges for ranch owner Gregory W. Brinkley was $50,000. He’d also allegedly pointed a weapon at lawmen so a $1 million bail was set for assault charges. A Humane Society equine and livestock program coordinator there said “This is probably the most overwhelming situation I’ve been in during my 25-year career.”

May all this insanity soon come to an end, and the suffering cease… and here’s the end of our old lariat rope once more…