Preakness Stakes

Lady Shipman Making Return to Maryland; Dazzling Gem Confirmed for Sir Barton

Lady Shipman the smart n fancy - Credit: Adam Mooshian/NYRA
Adam Mooshian/NYRA

BALTIMORE – More than a year after winning her lone start in Maryland, Ranlo Investments’ multiple stakes winner Lady Shipman will return to Pimlico Race Course Saturday for the $100,000 The Very One on the undercard of the 141st Preakness Stakes (G1).

A 4-year-old daughter of 2008 champion 2-year-old male Midshipman, Lady Shipman breezed three furlongs Monday morning at Belmont Park for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

“She worked this morning in 36 [seconds] and a couple. She’s ready to go,” McLaughlin said by phone. “We’re going to enter her on Wednesday and run on Saturday.”

Lady Shipman has never been worse than third in 14 North American starts, 10 of them wins, including the 2015 Stormy Blues Stakes last April at Pimlico. In all she won six stakes last year and finished second by a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).

This year, Lady Shipman won the Ladies’ Turf Sprint Feb. 6 at Gulfstream Park in her seasonal debut and first start for McLaughlin, as a prep for the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) March 28 in Dubai where she finished seventh. She bounced back to capture the License Fee Stakes May 1 at Aqueduct.

McLaughlin, a former leading trainer in Dubai who spent a decade there before moving back to the U.S., doesn’t follow the common belief that horses need more time to recover after a trip to the Middle East.

He won the Pimlico Special, then a Grade 1 race, with Invasor in 2006 in his first North American start, less than two months after he ran fourth in the UAE Derby. Invasor went on to earn Eclipse Awards as champion older horse and Horse of the Year.

“That’s a myth. When you take horses to Dubai back and forth as a trainer you feed them properly and look after them. The world is smaller. We took Invasor to Dubai when he was 4 and he came back and ran six weeks later and won the Pimlico Special,” McLaughlin said.

“Lady Shipman was four weeks or so when she won, but she was only going six furlongs on the turf. This time it’s five furlongs on the turf,” he added. “She’s fine and doing well. There’s no real Dubai issues other than when they don’t do well they have that as excuse No. 1.”

McLaughlin said Joel Rosario will be aboard Lady Shipman on Saturday replacing Irad Ortiz Jr., who had ridden her in five of her races including four in a row, with three wins.

“She’s doing great. It’s a little quick back for me, three weeks any way you look at it, but she doing very well,” he said. “It’s a great spot, she’ll be the favorite and we’ll go from there.”

Dazzling Gem Confirmed for Sir Barton

Steve Landers Racing’s Dazzling Gem will make his next start in Saturday’s $100,000 Latin American Racing Channel Sir Barton Stakes, trainer Brad Cox confirmed Monday.

Fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent effort, Dazzling Gem had been considered for the Preakness where Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist figures to be a clear favorite.

“That’s where we’re leaning,” the Kentucky-based Cox said. “Nyquist isn’t in there. That has a lot to do with it.”

A winner of his first two career starts this winter at Oaklawn Park, Dazzling Gem breezed a half-mile in 49.60 seconds Sunday at Churchill Downs. After back-to-back races at nine furlongs, including a third in the Louisiana Derby (G2), the Misremembered colt cuts back to a distance where he won Feb. 13 in his first try against winners.

“Honestly right now it might not be a bad thing to shorten this horse up a little bit. His last two races have been a mile and an eighth,” Cox said. “I’m not saying he can’t handle a mile and an eighth but he certainly didn’t jump out that he wanted even more ground going a mile and three-sixteenths, so we’ll back him up a little bit and it’s softer competition in the Sir Barton as opposed to the Preakness.”

Other horses being pointed to the Sir Barton include Donegal Moon, Flash McCaul, Gettysburg, Moon King and possibly Bobcat.

“I think this will be a great stepping-stone to bigger and better things, hopefully, the rest of the year,” Cox said. “I think this is the most realistic spot for the horse and the best spot as far as moving forward.”

Marengo Road Going Back to Turf for James Murphy

After making his last six starts on dirt, Harry and Tom Meyerhoff’s Marengo Road is being pointed to a return to the turf in Saturday’s $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds going one mile.

“He’s run twice on the turf and he’s got a win and a second, so we’ll give it a try,” trainer Mike Trombetta said. “He’s training good. He’s a nice, solid horse.”

The Quality Road colt broke his maiden going one mile on the grass at Laurel last fall after finishing second by a head in a 7 ½-furlong turf sprint at Delaware Park. He capped his juvenile year running last to then-undefeated Mohaymen in the Remsen (G2).

This year, Marengo Road was second in the Frank Whiteley Stakes Jan. 16 before winning the one-mile Miracle Wood Stakes by three-quarters of a length Feb. 15. He contended on the outside before fading to be fourth to Preakness candidate Abiding Star in the Private Terms Stakes March 12.

“If I remember right it was a slow pace to run at and he needs something that would come back to him a little bit to have his best chance. He ran a creditable fourth,” Trombetta said. “They were out in front and slowed things down and they bunched up, and when it was time to run they kicked on away a little bit.”

Marengo Road got sick the week of the race and missed a planned start in the April 9 Federico Tesio, a ‘Win and You’re In’ event this year for the Preakness. His stablemate, Flash McCaul, finished fourth.

“It was just bad timing. He was doing well two days before the race and then he just wasn’t eating and he had a temperature and there was just no trying to get around it so we took a step back and regrouped,” Trombetta said. “He’s not eligible for the Sir Barton so the Jimmy Murphy is where we’re going to point.”

Pimlico Race Course

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