- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A longtime rider at Churchill Downs, Calvin Borel knows most of the intricacies of the track and used that local knowledge Saturday to lead Street Sense from 19th to first in the Kentucky Derby.

Now, in addition to facing Street Sense’s shortest career layoff (two weeks) in the May 19 Preakness Stakes, Borel will be facing the challenge of a road game.

“This is Calvin’s track, and he does well here,” Hard Spun trainer Larry Jones said yesterday morning. “But now we’re going to Pino Country.”

Mario Pino Country is Pimlico Race Course, site of the Preakness. Pino was aboard second-place Hard Spun in the Derby, and much of his work during his 5,891-win career has been done at the Baltimore track 20 minutes from his Ellicott City, Md., home.

The top two finishers in the Derby are expected to face each other again in the Preakness and could be joined by as many as nine other competitors.

Jones and Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger said their colts appeared fine after the race. Street Sense was sent back to the track 12 hours after his win for a one-mile jog.

“I just think it’s good for him and keeps him healthy,” Nafzger said of the unusual move.

All indications are that Street Sense and Hard Spun will be the horses to beat in the Preakness.

Both horses’ pre-Derby schedules were set up to leave them with energy for all three Triple Crown races. Hard Spun has raced four times in 2007 and Street Sense only three times.

“I would imagine we will [run in the Preakness],” Nafzger said. “I realize that I have focused so hard on the Derby that I haven’t looked one day past it. … The horse is going to train me. He will take me to the Preakness or not. It looks like we’re on the way.”

Nafzger won the Derby with Unbridled in 1990 and finished second in the Preakness that year.

“It’s great — you never get tired of winning this,” he said. “It would be like asking Joe Namath if he won the Super Bowl again and if it was special or just like any other day. No way. It’s a great day.”

Hard Spun has had layoffs of six and five weeks before his last two starts, and Jones is confident his colt has enough energy to rebound quickly.

“I think my horse will be up for it,” he said. “We were hoping this would be the first race of a three-race series. I gave my horse five and then six weeks between races, and Carl got here with only two preps, so maybe some trainers are looking at the [entire] Triple Crown series and down the road instead of just the Derby.

“Last year, the Preakness was a whole new cast of characters. Maybe a few of these Derby horses can keep going.”

Last year, only three Derby horses — Barbaro, Sweetnorthernsaint and Brother Derek — ran in the Preakness. No horses ran in every Triple Crown race.

Four Derby horses are listed as possible for this year’s Preakness: Street Sense, Hard Spun, fifth-place finisher Sedgefield and 17th-place runner Teuflesberg.

Seven horses are being listed as potential participants: Xchanger, Slew’s Tizzy, C P West, Flying First Class, Starbase, Chelokee and King of the Roxy.

Xchanger won the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico last month, and Flying First Class won the Derby Trial last week at Churchill Downs. King of the Roxy also could be a threat — he was second in the Santa Anita Derby in his last race.

Chelokee, away from the races since a third-place finish in the March 31 Florida Derby, is trained by Michael Matz, who also conditioned Barbaro.

The Derby winner also has captured the Preakness six times in the last 10 years, but none could win the Belmont to claim the sport’s first Triple Crown since 1978.

Nafzger said he plans to ship Street Sense to Baltimore on May 16, and Jones said Hard Spun will be transported this morning to Delaware Park or the Fair Hill Training Center in Pennsylvania.

Street Sense is 2-for-5 away from Churchill Downs, and his wins have come by a 11/4 lengths and a nose.

“He’s got the pedigree, and he’s got everything it takes to be a great horse,” Nafzger said. “He runs like a great horse. It’s up to him. The same thing that got us here will take us there.”

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