Marengo Road looks to bounce back in Tesio
Marengo Road winning the Miracle Wood. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Unable to overcome a slow pace and a wide trip in his last start, Harry and Tom Meyerhoff’s Marengo Road gets a shot at both redemption and a possible trip to the Preakness Stakes (G1) in Saturday’s $100,000 Federico Tesio at Laurel Park.
For the first time this year, the 35th running of the 1 1/8-mile Tesio for 3-year-olds, long regarded as Maryland’s local prep for the Preakness, offers Triple Crown-nominated horses an automatic ‘Win and You’re In’ berth in the 141st renewal of the state’s signature race.
The Tesio is one of two stakes on the 10-race program along with $100,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies, designated as a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for the May 20 Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
A bay Quality Road colt, Marengo Road was among the early Triple Crown nominees in January after winning two of six starts during a 2-year-old campaign that ended with his ninth-place finish behind Mohaymen in the Remsen (G2).
He returned to run second in the Frank Whiteley Stakes in his 2016 debut before winning the Miracle Wood Stakes Feb. 15, just days after Baltimore native and longtime Maryland horseman Harry Meyerhoff, owner of Hall of Famer Spectacular Bid, died following a stroke at age 86.
In his subsequent start, Marengo Road was never far from a slowly run first half-mile before fading to finish fourth, beaten 9 ½ lengths, in the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms Stakes March 12. All three of his races this year have been at Laurel, where he has three wins and a second in seven lifetime starts.
“He’s good. He regressed a little bit off the stakes win. The [Private Terms] had a slow pace and I think that kind of hurt his chances a little bit,” Trombetta said. “He worked good the other day. I just wanted to see him work well, scope good and all that stuff. I think he’s doing pretty well.”
Stabled with Trombetta’s string at Fair Hill, Marengo Road breezed four furlongs in 48.40 seconds April 2, fifth-fastest of 33 horses over the all-weather surface. Trombetta’s only prior Preakness starter, Sweetnorthernsaint, finished second in 2006.
“If he would happen to show up and run really, really well, I guess it does have a little bearing and obviously it’s got a price tag affixed to it. That’s a good thing, a lot of money you wouldn’t have to pay,” he said. “It certainly would make you think about it.”
Also in for Trombetta is Country Life Farm’s Maryland homebred Flash McCaul, looking for his first stakes win. He closed to be second in the Private Terms, 1 ½ lengths behind Abiding Star, and fell a head short of Ravenheart in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 26.
Flash McCaul, a gelded bay son of Friesan Fire, has finished first or second in all seven lifetime starts, six of them coming at Laurel.
“[The Private Terms] was a good race. It was a slow pace and he kind of closed into the slow pace. The winner went wire to wire, but he ran good,” Trombetta said. “He shows up every time. It’s just one of those things where you enjoy your time with him when you have him because he always gives it his best.”
Triple Crown-nominated Never Gone South and Governor Malibu will also vie for a Preakness berth in the Tesio. Trained by Cal Lynch for M M G Stables, Never Gone South is coming off a third-place finish to Marengo Road in the Miracle Wood.
Prior to that, the Munnings colt was first or second in each of his first five starts, winning the Strike Your Colors Stakes last summer at Delaware Park and the Frank Whiteley by 7 ¼ lengths over Marengo Road Jan. 16. He capped his juvenile season running second in the James F. Lewis III and Marylander Stakes, also at Laurel.
Jump Sucker Stable’s Governor Malibu came off a freshening to capture his 3-year-old debut, the one-mile, 70-yard Gander Stakes Feb. 6 at Aqueduct. He will be making his first start outside of New York and third in a stakes, also finishing third in the Sleepy Hollow Oct. 24.
Colts Neck Stables’ Awesome Speed, winner of the James F. Lewis to close his juvenile season, returns to Laurel for the Tesio. He kicked off 2016 in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes Jan. 2 at Gulfstream Park, his third straight win, before finishing a troubled fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) Feb. 27.
Rounding out the field are Robert Atkinson’s D T Goodie, who has strung together back-to-back wins in his native Pennsylvania after being beaten a neck in a Laurel maiden race Jan. 17; and I Came to Party, making his stakes debut and first start since being claimed for $30,000 March 6 by trainer Gerald Brooks.