Sidelines with John Clay

Gunnevera, Hence, Classic Empire headed to Preakness

Fountain of Youth winner Gunnevera gets bathed after running in the morning workout session at Churchill Downs the week before the Kentucky Derby. Gunnevera ran seventh and will contine on to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2017.
Fountain of Youth winner Gunnevera gets bathed after running in the morning workout session at Churchill Downs the week before the Kentucky Derby. Gunnevera ran seventh and will contine on to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2017. Lexington Herald-Leader

Sano Racing Stables tweeted Monday that Fountain of Youth winner Gunnevera will run in the Preakness Stakes on May 20 at Pimlico Race Course. Mike Smith will replace Javier Castellano as the jockey for the Baltimore race.

Gunnevera finished seventh Saturday in the Kentucky Derby, won by Always Dreaming. In 15th position after the half-mile, Gunnevera passed horses and was 10th at the head of the stretch, but he never got close the leaders.

“He came back very well,” trainer Antonio Sano said after the race. “We have no excuse.”

After winning the Fountain of Youth, Gunnevera ran third in the Florida Derby. Coming from the outside post position, the son of Dialed In made up ground late to hit the board.

It appears that the Derby’s morning-line favorite, Classic Empire, who finished fourth after being bumped at the start of the race, also will continue to Baltimore for the Preakness. Assistant trainer Norm Casse, the son of Classic Empire’s trainer, Mark Casse, tweeted that the Arkansas Derby winner will make the trip.

Trainer Steve Asmussen reported that Sunland Derby winner Hence, who finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby, also will run in the Preakness. Hence is a Calumet Farm homebred. Calumet, which is a Triple Crown presence again after a long absence, won the 2013 Preakness with Oxbow.

Asmussen also is expected to send Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee to Pimlico with the expectation of running in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Other probable runners in the Preakness include Lexington Stakes winner Senior Investment, trained by Kenny McPeek; Arkansas Derby runner-up Conquest Mo Money, and Sham Stakes winner Royal Mo.

Illinois Derby winner Multiplier is under consideration for the Preakness. So is Cloud Computing, who ran third in the Wood Memorial. Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien is reportedly considering sending Lancaster Bomber to the Preakness.

The day after his Kentucky Derby victory, Always Dreaming was eating well and ready to get to Baltimore.

Derby third-place finisher Battle of Midway, Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry, Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, Blue Grass stakes winner Irap, Louisiana Derby winner Girvin, and Tampa Bay Derby winner McCraken are not expected to run in the Preakness. McCraken finished eighth, Gormley ran ninth, Irish War Cry 10th, Girvin 13th and Irap 18th in the Derby.

If you missed it, Godolphi Racing released a statement as to the condition of Thunder Snow, who began bucking after breaking from the No. 2 post position on Saturday. The horse was pulled up by the outrider but suffered no injuries.

Here’s the statement:

“Thunder Snow walked back to the stables where he was checked by the vets on course, and initial reports suggest that he appears to be sound. We will closely monitor him over the next 24 hours to ensure that he is OK. Our first priority is his welfare. He worked well all week and we were very happy with his progress. We want to thank everyone for their support this week. We gave it our best. The team was amazing but it just wasn’t to be. Congratulations to the winning horse and the connections of Always Dreaming.”

PREAKNESS STAKES

When: Saturday, May 20

Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore

Last year’s winner: Exaggerator

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