Tuscan Gold “in good shape” for Preakness date

I don’t know how trainer Chad Brown feels about the Preakness generally, but it’s certainly true that the Middle Jewel has shown him some love. Both of the trainer’s wins in Triple Crown races have come in Baltimore.

He’ll come to Charm City this weekend confident that he can get No. 3 with the lightly raced Tuscan Gold.

Brown watched the son of Medaglia d’Oro work four furlongs in 49 1/5 seconds in company with Blazing Sevens, who fell a head short of defeating National Treasure in last year’s Preakness, Saturday at Belmont Park.

“That was the best I have ever seen him work,” Brown told Pimlico’s press office Sunday. “He came out of it in good shape.”

Blazing Sevens made only one more start following his game try in the 2023 Preakness, finishing third as the odds-on favorite in the restricted Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. He made his 2024 season debut April 20, winning an allowance contest at Aqueduct.

“It was a good test for him against a horse that is established,” Brown said of the pairing of Tuscan Gold with Blazing Sevens. “What better horse to prepare him? I thought the work went excellent. I am confident going into the race. He is fast enough on figures to win.”

Tuscan Gold had been entered in the Peter Pan at Aqueduct this past Saturday, but Brown scratched from that spot to await the Preakness. The horse’s resume is pretty similar to that of Brown’s two other Preakness winners, Early Voting (2022) and Cloud Computing (2017). The latter was the first of Brown’s Preakness starters; Tuscan Gold will be the seventh.

Tuscan Gold has made three starts to date. He broke his maiden at second asking at Gulfstream Park January 31, and in his next start, he finished a good third in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Tuscan Gold was less than two lengths in arrears of winner Catching Freedom, who went on to finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby and is expected to compete in the Preakness.

When Cloud Computing gave Brown his first Triple Crown race triumph, he, too, entered with just three starts and no stakes wins. He had finished second in the Grade 3 Gotham and third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial before winning the Preakness. He was 13-1 in the Preakness.

Early Voting, likewise, had made just three starts before the Preakness. His resume did include a win in the Grade 3 Withers, and he had then finished second in the Wood Memorial. He went off at 5-1 on Preakness day.

Tuscan Gold, who is owned by William H. Lawrence, Walmac Farm and Stonestreet Stables LLC, will be ridden in the Preakness by Tyler Gaffalione. Gaffalione was the rider when Tuscan Gold finished third behind Preakness rival Catching Freedom and Honor Marie in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds March 23. He also rode when the horse broke his maiden in his second career start, at Gulfstream Park, on Jan. 31.

Brown said that plans call for Tuscan Gold to ship to Baltimore from Belmont on Tuesday.

One Preakness runner, Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan, was already on the grounds, having arrived Sunday afternoon (see video above) and immediately making himself home in stall number 40 of the stakes barn.

Mystik Dan arrived under skies that were often gray and occasionally rainy but perked up shortly before his arrival. He was accompanied by another sophomore, Gould’s Gold.

“No muss, no fuss. He’s a really easy horse to be around, not complicated,” Ray Bryner, assistant to Mystik Dan’s trainer Ken McPeek, said of the big horse’s trip.