BALTIMORE, Md. – Fresh off a Tuesday cross-country trip from Southern California, Armagnac hit the ground running at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday.
The son of Quality Road made his first appearance at Pimlico just after 8:30 Wednesday morning, galloping about a mile for trainer Tim Yakteen. The horse arrived at Pimlico Tuesday evening.
“Just an easy gallop,” Yakteen said. “He traveled well. He looked good out there. They all look good out there.”
He was referring to the other horses who are preparing for Saturday’s 147th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1). Armagnac, owned by SF Racing and partners, last ran on May 8, winning an allowance race at Santa Anita. It was the best performance of his five-race career. Armagnac went gate to wire in the 1 1/16-mile race that followed a fourth-place finish in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Armagnac finished 12 ½ lengths behind stablemate Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby. Second in that race was Messier, also from Yakteen’s barn. Happy Jack, another Preakness entrant, was third, a neck in front of Armagnac.
The decision to ship to Baltimore came after the score in the allowance race.
“We were able to drop him down in competition and just get him set up with a field that would be sort of a confidence booster for him,” Yakteen said. “I think we accomplished that. He broke away with a clean break and got into a nice little rhythm.”
When the gates open in the Preakness, it would seem likely that Armagnac and new rider Irad Ortiz Jr. would look for the lead. When asked about that Wednesday morning, Yakteen smiled and revealed nothing.
“I can’t give you my secrets here,” he said. “I’ve got to keep something to ourselves,”
Armagnac, who is 12-1 in the Preakness morning line. will continue his preparations when he returns to the Pimlico track Thursday morning at 8:30.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Armagnac arrives at Pimlico. (Jerry Dzierwinski)