Derby Winner Street Sense Quick in Final Preakness Workout

Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense worked five furlongs in a snappy 1:00 at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning as the Street Cry colt completed his preparations for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

With regular jockey Calvin Borel aboard, Street Sense went to the track soon after sunrise over the Louisville oval. With a large national and local media contingent and a few fans on hand, the colt stopped periodically to take in his surroundings en route to the track.

Street Sense, who won the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby with a come-from-behind rail skimming ride by Borel on May 5, will be seeking the second leg of the coveted Triple Crown in the 1 3/16 mile Preakness. The 1 ½ Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9 completes the Triple Crown.

Once on the track, the colt was all business, getting fractional splits of :12 3/5, :25, :37, and :48 3/5 for a half-mile. After completing the five-eighths of a mile work, Street Sense galloped out six furlongs (three quarters of a mile) in 1:12 3/5.

Although trainer Carl Nafzger had wanted a work time of about 1:02, he was pleased with the final time because of the way in which the colt did it. Nafzger said he preferred a five-furlong work rather than a half-mile clip for the final Preakness prep so the colt would have sufficient time to stride out.

“He worked a lot faster than we thought, but he did it the right way and it didn’t hurt him,” said Nafzger, adding that the work was in line with the :58 2/5 five-furlong work for Street Sense prior to winning the Derby. “The horse did it without any effort. He wasn’t charging the bit. He wasn’t trying to work ... He looked very happy coming off the track. I don’t think he even took a deep breath. He did it easy. He didn’t come unraveled. He didn’t stress.”

Borel agreed that the work was not too fast. “He worked super good. He is going forward every trip, work-wise.”

The jockey said he is not concerned about Street Sense’s chance of winning the Preakness, despite the shorter distance of the race. The rider also said he will familiarize himself with the track by riding in other races at the track Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a race track and it’s round. I know how to get around there…I will get the feel of the track, which is all I need. It doesn’t have much of a stretch, so you might have to move a little earlier, but it’s not unlike some other tracks I’ve been on before.”

The affable Nafzger, who won the 1990 Derby with Unbridled, was relaxed as he talked about winning this year’s Derby and how he is handling the pressure of training another high-profile horse.

“I look like a genius right now, but if I get beat in the Preakness I will go back to being Carl,” he said.

Although he does not like to speculate on how a major race will unfold, Nafzger said the Preakness contenders with whom he is familiar have the potential to win the race.

“Curlin is going to improve a lot out of the race,” Nafzger said of the Derby third-place finisher. “Hard Spun (the Derby front-runner who eventually finished second) has got to pick it up just a notch because there is going to be a lot of competition there with him.”

Nafzger said D. Wayne Lukas-trained Flying First Class, runaway winner of the Derby Trial at Churchill, is also capable of winning the Preakness and that King of the Roxy is a “monster.”

The trainer said Circular Quay (Derby sixth-place finisher), would be a “formidable foe” if trainer Todd Pletcher decides to run the colt in the Preakness.

Street Sense finished third, behind Great Hunter and Circular Quay, in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last fall before avenging that loss by defeating Circular Quay in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Nafzger said there is not a lot that a trainer can do to prepare a horse for the Preakness, considering the two-week interval between the Derby and the Pimlico race. “That’s easy; you’re either there or you’re not there because you don’t have time to do anything. When you go back to the Belmont, that’s a different scenario. You are going a mile and a half and secondly you are shifting to big sweeping turns. Thirdly, you’re shifting to (a) big sandy (track). And you’ve got three weeks. But that’s a whole different scenario and I will worry about it after we get through the Preakness.”

Street Sense, owned and bred by Jim Tafel,  is scheduled to depart Louisville for Baltimore at mid-day Wednesday.

(Originally published at www.bloodhorse.com.)

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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