Edited from Churchill Downs press release
Koji Maeda’s Lani came out of his Kentucky Derby (G1) effort in good shape according to trainer Mikio Matsunaga.
“He is not too tired this morning,” Matsunaga said. “He will go to Belmont Park tomorrow and the Preakness (G1) is still possible. There is no change in our plan.”
Ridden by Yutaka Take, Lani finished ninth, 10 3/4 lengths behind Nyquist.
“I think he was a little fresh early and strong the first furlong,” Matsunaga said. “Then he was one-paced in the stretch.”
It was the first Derby experience for Matsunaga and a favorable one.
“I was very much impressed by the atmosphere yesterday,” Matsunaga said. “I talked with Mr. (Bob) Baffert and he said to enjoy the best race in the world.”
And would he like to test “the best race in the world” again?
“Yes, but with a different type horse,” Matsunaga said. “I would want one that is tough, very capable and possibly a front-runner … and easier to handle.”
Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause came out of his seventh-place Kentucky Derby finish in good order.
Stable manager Jason Loutsch said no decision has been made on a possible start in the Preakness for the Dale Romans-trained Blue Grass (G1) winner.
“We will not make plans until mid-week. We’ll see how he is on the track Wednesday,” Loutsch said in a text.
The Romans-trained Cherry Wine, who didn’t draw in off the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Derby, is also a candidate for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
George Alvarez, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s go-to exercise rider for last year’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and now Mor Spirit, was holding down the fort Sunday morning for assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes and Baffert. He reported Mor Spirit, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, came of the race in good shape.
“He’s fine, no excuses,” Alvarez said. “It just wasn’t his day.”
Alvarez said that the Baffert contingent of horses likely would remain at Churchill Downs until Preakness time. Among the horses possible for the Preakness is their Lexington Stakes winner Collected.
Lani photo courtesy Churchill Downs/Coady Photography.