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Trainer has two chances at Preakness win

Pletcher’s winless streak on the line in Triple Crown race.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

BALTIMORE — It appears trainer Todd Pletcher will have two chances to win Saturday’s $1 million Preakness and end an 0-for-26 losing streak in Triple Crown races.

Pimlico officials said Tuesday that Circular Quay, who finished sixth behind Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby, is set to join Pletcher’s King of the Roxy in what would be a field of nine 3-year-olds.

Final entries for the 1 3-16th-mile Preakness will be taken today.

Michael and Doreen Tabor, who own Circular Quay, and bloodstock agent Demi O’Byrne have made arrangements to attend the Preakness, Pimlico officials said.

Circular Quay, expected to be ridden by John Velazquez, would be the fourth Derby horse in the field, joining Street Sense, runner-up Hard Spun and third-place finisher Curlin.

The rest of the field includes C P West, Flying First Class, Mint Slewlep and Xchanger.

After winning the Louisiana Derby, Circular Quay came into the Kentucky Derby off an eight-week layoff. The colt was well back in the back early in the 1 1/4-mile Derby, was bumped slightly by Stormello leaving the 5/16ths pole and improved from 13th to sixth in the final quarter-mile.

Pletcher did not return a phone call seeking comment, but said in a story posted Tuesday on the Daily Racing Form’s Web site, “The horse has trained very well in between. The race sets up well on paper for a closer.”

Street Sense, who put in his final workout Tuesday at Churchill Downs before heading to Pimlico, beat Circular Quay by 10 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

King of Roxy, who skipped the Derby after finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby, was expected to be ridden by Garrett Gomez, the jockey’s agent said.

“I’m assuming it is King of the Roxy because we worked him over the weekend, but I haven’t been given the final word,” agent Ron Anderson said.

Pletcher, a three-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s top trainer, sent out a record-tying five horses in the Derby and fell to 0-for-19 in America’s greatest race. His only Preakness starter was Impeachment, who finished third in 2000. He’s 0-for-6 in the Belmont Stakes.

Circular Quay and King of the Roxy are expected to arrive by van from New York on Thursday.

Street Sense, with jockey Calvin Borel aboard, breezed five furlongs in 1:00. Trainer Carl Nafzger’s colt was scheduled to be on a Wednesday flight from Louisville, Ky.

“The horse worked perfect,” said Nafzger.


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