Coach Tommy Drury and Artwork Collector get one other probability at Triple Crown glory this weekend.
Drury will begin his first horse in a Triple Crown race when he saddles Artwork Collector in Saturday’s Preakness, which would be the remaining leg of the Triple Crown for the primary time in its 145-year historical past. And now that Drury’s wait is over, Artwork Collector appears like the most important risk to Kentucky Derby winner Genuine at a principally empty Pimlico Race Course.
Drury was poised to make his Triple Crown debut on the Kentucky Derby till he found one thing was improper with Artwork Collector, arguably the perfect horse he has ever had in his barn. Drury made the tough determination to scratch him, a transfer he known as a no brainer.
“The Kentucky Derby’s a race of a lifetime for a horse coach, however on the finish of the day, the final word accountability that now we have is to place our horse first,” Drury mentioned. “It simply wouldn’t have been honest to him to depart him over there, particularly at that stage of competitors, and ask him to run his best race realizing that there was a problem occurring.”
Now, Artwork Collector is ready to race — 4 weeks after Drury took no dangers together with his spectacular colt.
“We’re actually going to face by that call and there’s no trying again at this level,” Drury mentioned. “We’re centered on the Preakness and what we are able to do down the highway. … Our horse is sweet proper now, and we’re able to take our greatest shot.”
Artwork Collector is the 5-2 second selection on the morning like after 9-5 favourite Genuine, who if he wins would make coach Bob Baffert an ideal 6 for six taking the Derby winner to the Preakness. There will probably be no followers on-hand, solely choose house owners, trainers and different important personnel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Nonetheless, Baffert, who additionally has Thousand Phrases within the 11-horse discipline, is in search of his record-breaking eighth Preakness victory.
Baffert and Drury shared a golf cart journey at Churchill Downs previous to the Derby, and that is about all they share. The 2 had by no means met earlier than, and whereas Baffert has swept the Triple Crown twice and received 16 races within the sequence, Drury has by no means even began a horse in a Triple Crown race till now.
Artwork Collector, a preferred decide to win the Derby earlier than getting scratched, is lastly placing Drury within the highlight after greater than 30 years within the enterprise.
“He’s taken my profession to locations that I by no means dreamed it might go, and he’s only a member of the household,” Drury mentioned. “I’ve not had something like him ever earlier than.”
Artwork Collector’s efficiency in a race at Churchill Downs in June caught Eddie Olczyk’s eye.
“He simply appeared like a monster,” mentioned Olczyk, an NBC Sports activities analyst who questioned why former coach Joe Sharp did not attempt Artwork Collector in two-turn races on the grime final yr. “I simply assume, for me, what has occurred is that this horse is operating the space and operating on the floor that he was bred to run on. I feel the sky’s the restrict for this horse.”
Another issues to know concerning the Preakness:
Artwork Collector is seeking to beat Genuine 20 years after the same upset of a Kentucky Derby winner by one other contender, when Crimson Bullet defeated Fusaichi Pegasus within the Preakness. Jockey Jerry Bailey knew he needed to make his transfer aboard Crimson Bullet earlier than Fusaichi Pegasus did and figured he’d want a greater 1 3/16-mile journey to win.
It is a recipe Brian Hernandez might comply with with Artwork Collector.
“If I had been driving the race, I would definitely know that you simply can not let Genuine get away with something simple early within the race,” mentioned Bailey, who’s now a part of the NBC broadcast crew. “You’ve acquired to problem him sooner or later, sooner than he was challenged within the Derby otherwise you’re in all probability not going to beat him.”
If Genuine runs his finest race like he did within the Derby on Sept. 5, he is in all probability not shedding to any of the highest challengers: Artwork Collector, filly Swiss Skydiver, Derby third-place finisher Mr. Large Information or NY Visitors, who challenged him down the stretch within the Haskell Stakes in July.
Beginning with the Derby, Baffert switched to jockey John Velazquez, who gave Genuine a masterful journey and can attempt to do the identical within the pursuit of his first Preakness win. “I’ve been chasing this race for fairly a bit,” Velazquez mentioned. “You hope that that is it, that this horse goes to do it for me.”
NEED FOR SPEED
Velazquez can have a harder process within the Preakness with extra pace within the discipline, after so many in racing watching the Derby had been baffled by NY Visitors jockey Paco Lopez sitting again and never urgent Genuine. Like a lot of Baffert’s prime thoroughbreds, Genuine prefers to be on the lead and a quick tempo might arrange for a stalking horse like Artwork Collector to go by him, particularly with Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Legislation skipping the Preakness.
HAPPY TO BE HERE
Coach Steve Asmussen, who has three horses within the Preakness with Max Participant, Pneumatic and Excession, is simply glad the 2020 Triple Crown occurred amid all of the turmoil in sports activities and the world.
“These horses are Three as soon as,” he mentioned. “They deserve this chance and really glad that the racetracks got here collectively and made certain that the races had been run. I feel that it’s no fault of the horses concerned, this yr’s 3-year-old crop, and so they deserve this chance.”
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