Hometown Hopefuls in both the Preakness and Black Eyed Susan

Smooth Preparations
Multiple stakes winner Alwaysmining galloped Monday morning at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., as he continues preparations for his graded debut in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. A winner of six in a row, Alwaysmining enters the Preakness fresh off an 11 ½ length win in the Federico Tesio.

“He’s doing very well,” trainer Kelly Rubley told horseracingnation.com. “He galloped this morning and looked wonderful.”

At Fair Hill, Rubley has the option of using both the synthetic surface and its surrounding one-mile all-weather dirt track. Alwaysmining had his final breeze for the Preakness May 10, going a half-mile in 48.20 seconds, fastest of 13 horses, on the synthetic surface.

A son of Stay Thirsty, winner of the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) in 2011, Alwaysmining is attempting to become the ninth Maryland-bred to win the Preakness and first since Deputed Testamony in 1983. Magic Weisner finished second in 2002.

“Sure, to have him be kind of the hometown hero would be kind of neat. But, we’ve got to get it done first,” Rubley told horseracingnation.com. “He seems to be in a very good place.”

Alwaysmining, who will be ridden by regular jockey Daniel Centeno, will maintain his typical exercise schedule at Fair Hill before arriving late Thursday morning at Pimlico. He will get his first tour of Old Hilltop on Friday.

Still on Top
Despite an official 17th place finish in the Kentucky Derby after crossing the wire first, Jason Servis’ Maximum Security remained atop the NTRA 3-Year old Poll. Maximum Security was followed by Omaha Beach, eventual Derby victor Country House, Code of Honor, and Tacitus. All of the top five will be on the sidelines come Saturday as the Preakness Stakes takes place.

Chad Brown’s Bricks and Mortar rates as the top older horse in training in the poll, fresh off his fourth straight win in the Belmont Turf Classic. Behind Bricks and Mortar are McKinzie, Gift Box, Midnight Bisou and Mitole. Mitole, McKinzie along with Firenze Fire and Coal Front are all being pointed to the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes Day in what is looking like a battle royale of top older horses.

A Hometown Hopeful in the Black-Eyed Susan
Just as Alwaysmining and Win Win Win carry the local Maryland hopes in the Preakness, Katy Voss’ Las Setas is a local horse hoping to unseat the talented crew of invaders. Trained by Voss for fellow co-owners Robert Manfuso and Wayne Harrison, Las Setas is attempting to become the first Maryland-bred to win the Black-Eyed Susan since favored Calipha bested 12 rivals in 1994 for owner-breeder Mrs. James A. Bayard and Hall of Fame trainer Grover ‘Bud’ Delp.

“The water gets a lot deeper. It’s going to be a much tougher race. There are fillies in there that have run much better [speed figures] than she has, but we’ll see. She’s doing well. She hasn’t missed a beat since her last race,” Voss told horseracingnation.com. “Hopefully, she can move up a few points.”

Las Setas has done nothing wrong this year, stringing together four consecutive front-running victories by 12 ¼ lengths. She was a determined nose winner of her most recent start in the April 20 Weber City Miss at Laurel Park, earning her an automatic berth in the Black-Eyed Susan.

Las Setas, whose name is Spanish for mushrooms, has had two sharp works for the Black-Eyed Susan, going six furlongs in 1:11.60 May 10 in her most recent move. Prior to that, she went a half-mile in 48 seconds May 4, second-fastest of 56 horses at the distance.

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