BALTIMORE - Veteran Garrett Gomez will replace 18-year-old
Fernando Jara aboard Like Now in the $1 million Preakness Stakes on
Saturday at Pimlico.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin announced the switch Wednesday for the
12-1 shot on the morning line in the middle jewel of the Triple
McLaughlin said the change was a decision by owner John J.
"The owner wanted a more experienced rider," McLaughlin said.
"If we could get a top rider, he wanted him."
Jara had been aboard for the last seven starts which produced
four wins, including the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct. Like Now most
recently ran second in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April
"There was no real reason to switch," McLaughlin said. "The
kid hadn't done anything wrong, in my opinion, but the owner pays
the bills and I said, 'Yes sir, we will get the best available."'
Gomez, 34, leads all riders in earnings this year with over $7
million. This will be his second Preakness mount. He was third with
Concern in 1994.
No Preakness for Ah Day
The stakes were too high for Ah Day to
make the Preakness.
The gelding wasn't nominated to the Triple Crown, and the
supplement fee was $100,000. Trainer and co-owner King Leatherbury
said for more than a week that the middle jewel of the Triple Crown
was under consideration for the winner of Pimlico's Tesio Stakes on
At the deadline Wednesday, Ah Day wasn't among the nine
The supplement fee was a hurdle Leatherbury and the Malibu Moon
partnership didn't clear.
"Basically, the money fell through," Leatherbury said.
Leatherbury's partners own Malibu Moon, Ah Day's sire. They
wanted to run Ah Day in the Preakness as a way to promote the sire
but the cost proved prohibitive.
"They said they weren't going to do it," Leatherbury said.
"That decision was made for me, because I certainly wasn't going
to put up $100,000."
Ah Day will run instead on the Preakness undercard in the
$100,000 Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds.
Bernardini's trainer checking the forecast
Trainer Tom Albertrani had his ear
glued to the radio earlier this week, listening to "every single
weather report" for the New York area.
Albertrani hoped give Bernardini his final Preakness workout
Tuesday at Belmont Park.
Persistent rain wouldn't let up that morning, so Albertrani kept
the horse winner in the barn.
The weather cleared up Wednesday and Bernardini went 1:01.28 for
five furlongs on the track listed as muddy.
"It was very good work," Albertrani said. "The track was in
good shape. There was some moisture in it, but it wasn't heavy."
The lightly raced Bernardini is one of the fresh faces in the
Triple Crown hoping to derail Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.
"We're really hoping that Barbaro might be a little vulnerable
with just two weeks rest," Albertrani said. "If you're going to
beat him, this might be the time to try it."
Bernardini has won two straight, including the Grade 3 Withers
at Aqueduct, and will be making his fourth lifetime start.
Albertrani, who will be saddling his first Preakness runner, was
in the midst of a hectic schedule. After supervising the workout at
Belmont, he headed to Baltimore for the post-position selections
Wednesday night. He was scheduled to return to New York to
supervise the colt's training Thursday.
Bernardini, 8-1, is slated to van to Pimlico on Friday.
Taking a long shot
A quick workout by Greeley's Legacy
persuaded trainer George Weaver to give the outsider a Preakness
Greeley's Legacy went a quick five furlongs in 58.69 at Belmont
Greeley's Legacy could become legendary if he pulls off the
Preakness upset at 20-1 on the morning line. He is 2-for-11
lifetime and hasn't been better than fourth in three stakes races.
"I don't think you can get any harder test," Weaver said. "I
have the utmost respect for Barbaro, and Bernardini and Brother
Derek. We're asking our horse to step up to the plate and run the
race of his life. We want to find out how he fits with these guys.
I don't think you could ask more out of a horse than to try to run
against those bears in there."
Greeley's Legacy will be the first Triple Crown starter for
Weaver. The 35-year-old Louisville native was an assistant to Todd
Pletcher before opening his own stable in November 2002.
Preakness television coverage begins Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.