Perform Posts Final Breeze for Preakness 148

May 14, 2023

Perform makes all the right moves and wins the Federico Tesio (Maryland Jockey Club)

General Jim Pointing Towards G1 Woody Stephens

Dreams of Tomorrow Could Contest G3 Poker

Personal Best Targeting Summer Return at The Spa

NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Woodford Racing, Lanes End Farm, Phipps Stable, Ken Langone and Edward J. Hudson, Jr.’s stakes-winner Perform posted his final breeze in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Preakness Stakes when covering a half-mile in 48.09 seconds over the Belmont Park main track on Sunday.

Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Perform worked just after the renovation break under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 60s, completing his exercise to the outside of his maiden workmate Weyhill Road.

McGaughey said the work was just what he hoped to see ahead of the colt’s graded stakes debut.

“I was very pleased with the way he worked and they did exactly what I wanted,” said McGaughey. “I said to let them go in 25 and change [for the first quarter-mile] and let them finish up, and that’s what they did. They galloped out good and I thought they were going along very easy.”

Perform steps up to the graded ranks off a determined victory in the nine-furlong Federico Tesio on April 15 at Laurel Park. Ridden by Feargal Lynch, who will return to ride in the Preakness, Perform stumbled at the break and rallied from as far as 10 lengths off the pace to roll home late and nail Ninetyprcentmaddie at the wire by a head in a final time of 1:52.18. The effort was awarded a career-best 85 Beyer Speed Figure.

“I think he grew up in that race,” said McGaughey. “I’m very pleased with the way he’s doing and I’m excited about going down there to see what happens.”

The son of Good Magic began his career sprinting last year and debuted in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden on July 3 at Belmont where he posted a prominent runner-up effort to next-out stakes-winner Lost Ark. He made three of his next four outings at seven furlongs before graduating at sixth asking in a one-mile and 40-yard maiden at Tampa Bay Downs when making his first start around two turns.

McGaughey said maturity and getting around two turns has made the difference for the improving Perform.

“As a 2-year-old, he didn’t really train that way,” said McGaughey. “I thought he was a sprinter and I ran him on 4th of July weekend where he ran second. I was a little bit disappointed in his races after that. But I think the sprint races helped get him to the long races.”

McGaughey said the extra half-furlong will benefit Perform, who was supplemented to the Preakness for a fee of $150,000.

“I don’t think it will hurt him,” McGaughey said.

General Jim outduels Fort Bragg in the Pat Day Mile (G2) on the undercard of Kentucky Derby 149 (Daniella Ricci/Past The Wire)

McGaughey recently celebrated graded success with Courtlandt Farms’ General Jim, who earned a 100 Beyer for an impressive win under regular pilot Luis Saez in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on May 6 at Churchill Downs. The son of Into Mischief is now a perfect 2-for-2 since adding blinkers, including his first graded triumph with an off-the-pace trip in the Grade 3 Swale on February 4 at Gulfstream Park.

“He came back good and he’s back up here at Belmont,” said McGaughey. “I couldn’t be any more pleased with the way he’s been running. I think the blinkers really helped, and in the Swale, I told Saez to sort of take him back and let him finish, and I think that helps him, too. He’s kind of learning to run by horses instead of hanging on horses. He’s going to learn, and when he does, it’s going to be fun.”

McGaughey said he will now point General Jim to the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun sprinting seven furlongs over Big Sandy on June 10.

The June 10 Belmont Stakes Day Card could also see the McGaughey-trained Dreams of Tomorrow contest the Grade 3, $200,000 Poker at one-mile on the turf after posting a tidy two-length victory in a third-level allowance Thursday at Belmont. The 6-year-old Speightstown bay made his second start of the year a winning one after pouncing from just off the pace under Manny Franco. The performance garnered a 94 Beyer.

“He came back great,” said McGaughey. “He went back to the track today and galloped a mile. I think everything is good with him. His talent has always been there, it just needs to come together. Watching him the other day, maybe a mile to a mile and a sixteenth is really what he wants to do. Manny rode him great and in the right position.”

McGaughey added that Grade 3 La Prevoyante-winner Personal Best is spending time at Fair Hill in light training and will target a return this summer at Saratoga Race Course with the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls on August 3 as a potential landing spot. The daughter of Tapit was last seen finishing third in the Grade 3 Bewitch on April 28 at Keeneland.

@jonathanstettin major bias play, thanks j man!!!! Lol

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