Simplification first Preakness horse on Pimlico grounds
Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric’s Simplification, who finished fourth in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), arrived at historic Pimlico Race Course before dawn Tuesday to begin preparations for the 147th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 21.
Simplification, the first of the Preakness runners to be bedded down in the Preakness Stakes Barn, stepped off the van at 5 a.m. following an 11-hour ride from Churchill Downs. Jesus ‘Chino’ Prado, the longtime assistant to trainer Antonio Sano, was at the track to oversee the colt’s move into Stall 26. Prada said the overnight trip from Kentucky went smoothly and that Simplification handled it well.
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“Our horse feels good,” Prada said. “My doctor here checked the horse, and he was perfect. I think everything is good with Simplification.”
Prada said that the bay son of Not This Time would have a quiet first day in Baltimore. He was scheduled to walk the shedrow for 50 minutes in mid-afternoon. Simplification will walk in the morning and the afternoon on Wednesday and go out to the track for the first time at approximately 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
“That first day he will go out with the pony and walk and jog with my exercise rider so he can get to know the track,” Prada said.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Simplification for the first time in the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Velazquez, the leading money-winning rider in North American racing history, replaces Jose Ortiz, who has a commitment to ride Early Voting for trainer Chad Brown. In 11 appearances in the Preakness, Velazquez, 50, has a record of 0-3-1. His top finishes were seconds aboard Derby winners, Animal Kingdom (2011) and Authentic (2020), as well his runner-up placing on Itsmyluckyday in 2013.
[Video of Simplification’s arrival at Pimlico]
Prada watched the Derby in Florida. Simplification and Ortiz started from Post 13 and were wide throughout the 1 ¼-mile race. They passed a half-dozen horses in the final half-mile and ended up 3 ½ lengths behind the longshot winner, Rich Strike.
“I think that the race was very good,” Prada said. “The positions were a little bit wide but the jockey did a good job in a race with 20 horses. It was an amazing race and I think he ran very well. I think we’ve got more of a chance here because the field will probably be nine to 10 horses and because of the track. The track here has a longer stretch. It’s more like Gulfstream Park.”
Simplification made the first seven starts of his career at Gulfstream Park and compiled a record of 3-1-2. He won the Mucho Macho Man on Jan. 1, before finishing second in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull (G3), winning the March 5 Fountain of Youth (G2), and checking in third as the 2-1 favorite in the April 2 Florida Derby (G1).