Edited Press Release
Early Sunday morning, speedy Uncle Lino flew back to California where trainer and co-owner Gary Sherlock will determine how the tendon injury suffered by the bay son of Uncle Mo while running seventh in Saturday’s Preakness S. (G1) will affect his career.
After setting the early fractions and pressing the pace around the second turn, Uncle Lino appeared to briefly regain the lead.
“Right there I thought we had a chance,” Sherlock said.
Uncle Lino never let Nyquist get comfortable on the lead and his speed and persistence had a significant impact on the race.
“He ran his ass off until he was injured,” Sherlock said. “At the head of the lane, I started to say, ‘C’mon.’ I thought he was going to go. Then you could see he was beat. I didn’t know he had an injury. He finished the race and galloped out. They stopped him on the turn coming back.”
Uncle Lino was taken off the track on a horse ambulance and sent back to his stall with what veterinarians described as minor inflammation of a tendon.
“We will evaluate him at home,” Sherlock said. “He definitely has an injury, but it’s not life threatening. He probably will need some time, but he’s not that bad. He’ll live to fight another day. ”
Uncle Lino finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Laoban, whom trainer Eric Guillot said he hoped to make some history with by adding the maiden’s name to a distinguished list of Preakness winners.
Instead, Laoban split the field and finished sixth as the 66-1 longest shot in the 11-horse field. Asked if he felt any regrets after taking on such a sizeable task with a colt who had not won a race in five career starts, Guillot was steadfast.
“I always take my shot,” Guillot said. “No regrets.”
The trainer added that his colt, one of four sons of Uncle Mo in the race, was never comfortable on the sloppy, sealed Pimlico track. He came out of the race “fine” and was flown back to Kentucky Sunday morning.
“We’ll take him back to Keeneland and take it easy with him and try to break his maiden,” the colorful and controversial conditioner said. “I just wish he handled the track.”
Norman Casse, assistant to his father, trainer Mark Casse, reported that Fellowship exited his eighth-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness “a little beat up.”
“He came back looking like he was in a boxing match,” Casse said. “He came back with mud all over him, mud in his eyes. He got bumped around and came back tired.”
Casse said there were no immediate plans for the Jacks or Better Farm homebred.
Awesome Speed, who was a strong pace factor for nearly a mile in Saturday’s Preakness, left Pimlico on a van at about 5:45 a.m. (ET) Sunday for the three-hour ride back to his base in New Jersey under the direction of assistant trainer Jorge Duarte.
“He was fine, cooled out OK, but he grabbed a quarter a little bit,” trainer Alan Goldberg said of the son of Awesome Again. “I was hoping he would have hung in there a little longer, but the way the race shaped up I told (the owner) from the word ‘go’ that the flow of the race wouldn’t be good for him.”
Awesome Speed found himself fully involved in a hot early pace in which Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist and Uncle Lino battled through a first quarter-mile of :22.38 and a half-mile of :46.56. Awesome Speed was sitting third, only a length off the leaders in the backstretch before it took its toll and he faded to ninth in the field of 11.
“He might not have wanted to go that far with those kind of horses,” Goldberg said. “We’ll give him about a week off, then we’ll start training again and think about a spot.”
Trainer Ned Allard reported that Abiding Star exited his 11th-place finish in the Preakness in good order.
“He was dragging the hotwalker around after the race,” Allard said. “He’s a quick horse and he likes to run that way, but those horses were quicker than he was. When you can’t get to run your race, you don’t run your race. He threw in the towel.”
Allard added that he’d look for a more comfortable spot for his Preakness starter.
Uncle Lino photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com