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BALTIMORE, MD – Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit returned to the track pre-dawn Wednesday morning for the first time since winning Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), jogging a mile around Churchill Downs under exercise rider Humberto Gomez. Jimmy Barnes, Bob Baffert’s assistant who is overseeing the training of the horses at Churchill Downs while the Hall of Fame trainer tends to business at his California base, was on the pony accompanying Medina Spirit around the track.
“Very pleased with what we saw,” Barnes said. “He was moving very well and very happy. That’s the main thing. It’s kind of a cool morning, so that’s a good training day for a horse.”
Barnes also expressed pleasure with Baffert-trained Concert Tour’s morning gallop around the Churchill track under Gomez.
“He was strong,” Barnes said. “I like what I’m seeing. I’ve always liked Concert Tour. By not running in the Derby, he’s real fresh now. He’s had plenty of time between races.”
Gary and Mary West’s homebred son of Street Sense, who impressively captured the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn, was kept out of the Derby after sustaining his first loss while finishing third in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
Both Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are expected to make next starts in 146th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.
“Assuming he works well, I’m planning on coming to Pimlico and trying the Preakness,” trainer Chad Brown said. “We specifically sat out the Derby to try to give him a little bit more time in between starts and try a slightly shorter distance than the Derby,” Brown said. “As of right now, we’re still following that thought process to give it a try.”
“We’ll give him a couple of days of going back to the track to make sure everything is OK and we’ll discuss it with the owner group and make a decision by Saturday,” trainer Robertino Diodoro said by phone from Hot Springs, Ark. “A guy never wants to be happy with seventh. But if you really watch the replay close, he was one of the few horses, maybe the only one, running at the end. He did get fanned out into the middle of the racetrack at the top of the lane. I think the track was starting to get very dry, and I think that’s why he was one of the few horses running at the end. And he had a strong gallop-out.”
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“I’m happy with how he went back to the track,” said Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the 2007 Preakness with two-time Horse of the Curlin and in 2009 with the filly Rachel Alexandra, also voted Horse of the Year. “The racetrack is a little bit wet this morning, but he handled it nicely. There’s no reason to make the decision today. There’s no upside.”
Rombauer, Unbridled Honor and France Go de Ina are also expected to run in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Mandaloun, Caddo River and Ram are on the list of possibles.
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