This week, all eyes on just one horse
Thursday, May 13, 2010
By Marty McGee

BALTIMORE - Say anything you want about the Kentucky Derby having more to offer than the Preakness, but, going in, here's something the Preakness has that the Derby doesn't: the Derby winner.

The late Chick Lang frequently touted that nugget during his nearly three decades at Pimlico. Lang, who died in March at age 83, earned the nickname "Mr. Preakness" for his tireless promotions of anything and everything that allowed the Pimlico race to try to keep pace with the Derby, its more renowned big brother.

"The Derby winner is like the boxer who just won the heavyweight championship of the world," Lang liked to say. "Everybody wants a look at him."

Indeed, when Super Saver was walked off the horse van that brought him here Wednesday afternoon to the Pimlico backstretch, all eyes - and cameras - were on the latest Derby winner.

"Obviously it's a great feeling to come in here with the Derby winner," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Super Saver. "It's an honor, a challenge, exciting, all those things. It's a position you've always hoped to be in."

Clearly, the trip to Baltimore is far different this time around for Pletcher, the future Hall of Famer who has had four previous Preakness starters, none of them winners. But then, coming to Baltimore with the Derby winner is different for anybody.

"There's certainly a spotlight on you and your horse," said Lynn Whiting, who still vividly recalls details of his trip here in 1992 with Derby winner Lil E. Tee. "The media sure is focusing all their attention on the Derby winner, although all you want is to make sure your horse is doing okay."

D. Wayne Lukas has strutted out three of his four Derby winners here. He said the feeling is a "great one" because "you feel like the race is yours to lose."

"You're the only one going for the Triple Crown, and until they knock you off that perch, you're the one to watch," Lukas said. "The media focuses all their attention on the Derby winner, and the other horses get secondary portions. It stays that way all week. Every time the Derby winner coughs, it's recorded."

During his tenure, Lang started a tradition of reserving Stall 40 in the Pimlico stakes barn for the Derby winner. The custom has not always been observed, such as when Lang put a goat in Stall 40 when Gato del Sol bypassed the Preakness in 1982, or when Neil Drysdale chose to keep Fusaichi Pegasus in one of the backstretch barns in 2000, or when Lukas would keep his Derby winner on the Winner Avenue side of the stakes barn alongside the rest of the horses he shipped in.

"I never put my Derby winners in that one stall," Lukas said with a laugh. "It was never a big tradition for me. We got five [Preakness] winners from the other end of the barn."

Pletcher, for the record, chose to put Super Saver in Stall 40 after briefly contemplating not doing so.

"We're shipping into this barn anyway, and it's not like we've already won the Preakness out of another stall or have a lucky stall in here, so we went along with it," he said. "I didn't want to buck tradition."

Preakness debuts for a half-dozen

Three trainers and three jockeys will be making their Preakness debuts here Saturday.

The first-time trainers are Mike Machowsky with Caracortado, Dale Romans with First Dude and Paddy O'Prado, and Wesley Ward with Pleasant Prince. The jockeys are Paul Atkinson on Caracortado, Martin Garcia on Lookin At Lucky, and Terry Thompson on Northern Giant.

For Machowsky, Ward, and Atkinson, this also is their first time with a horse in a Triple Crown event.
In The Stud Feature:  Exaggerator

In The Stud Feature: Exaggerator

WinStar stallion Exaggerator is featured in the latest installment of Paulick Report’s “In the...

[read more]

$1.7 million Congrats filly tops OBS March 2-year-old sale title=
Congrats

$1.7 million Congrats filly tops OBS March 2-year-old sale

Congrats, the nation's leading sire of winners over the past two years, had his biggest winner of 2017 in the sales ring on Wednesday when a filly by the WinStar stallion sold for $1.7 million...

[read more]

$1 million colt tops Pioneerof the Nile's day at OBS March 2-year-old sale title=
Pioneerof the Nile

$1 million colt tops Pioneerof the Nile's day at OBS March 2-year-old sale

The second day of the March 14-15 OBS Sale of Two-Year-Olds was a huge one for Pioneerof the Nile, topped by a $1 million dollar colt...

[read more]

OBS March 2-year-old sale: Big returns for Tiznow title=
Tiznow

OBS March 2-year-old sale: Big returns for Tiznow

The demand for the offspring of Tiznow was never more apparent than during the second day of the March 14-15 OBS Sale of Two-Year-Olds...

[read more]

More strong results for Gemologist at OBS March 2-year-old sale title=
Gemologist

More strong results for Gemologist at OBS March 2-year-old sale

The second day of the March 14-15 OBS Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training brought more solid results for leading second-crop sire Gemologist...

[read more]

Speedy Overanalyze colt brings $200K OBS March 2-year-old sale title=
Overanalyze

Speedy Overanalyze colt brings $200K OBS March 2-year-old sale

Narvick International was the top bidder for a colt from the first crop of Overanalyze during the final day of the March 14-15 OBS Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training...

[read more]

Top-class Paynter colt hammers for $200K at OBS March 2-year-old sale title=
Paynter

Top-class Paynter colt hammers for $200K at OBS March 2-year-old sale

A colt by Paynter out of Grade 1 winner Awesome Humor sold for $200,000 during the final day of the March 14-15 OBS Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training...

[read more]

“Super” results OBS March 2YO sale title=
Super Saver

“Super” results OBS March 2YO sale

The first day of the March 14-15 OBS March Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale yielded stellar results for Super Saver when hip No. 153 sold for $625,000...

[read more]

OBS March 2YO sale yields big return for More Than Ready title=
More Than Ready

OBS March 2YO sale yields big return for More Than Ready

Leading worldwide sire More Than Ready had one of the top-10 lots during Tuesday's session of the March 14-15 OBS March Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale...

[read more]

$285K filly leads Day 1 at OBS March sale for Gemologist title=
Gemologist

$285K filly leads Day 1 at OBS March sale for Gemologist

After a very strong 2016 in the auction ring, Gemologist kicked off the 2017 2-year-old sales season with a $285,000 filly...

[read more]