News and STORIES

Preakness Storylines as Raceday Approaches

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday May 17, 2019

Rubley Looks to Make History
Trainer Kelly Rubley is in uncharted territory this week at Pimlico. Certainly no stranger to the Greater Baltimore area, Rubley is in search of her first Grade 1 victory as a trainer and in doing so will become the first-ever female trainer to saddle a Preakness champion when the gates spring open and Rubley’s Alwaysmining runs for the Black Eyed Susans around 6:50 p.m. Saturday.

“That’s an exciting aspect. It certainly will be a great accomplishment for women in the industry if we’re very successful here. Sure, it plays a role,” Rubley told “I think the biggest struggle is when we’re first starting out, it’s tough to earn a little bit of respect as a woman in the business.”

Owners Greg and Caroline are staunch supporters of Rubley. They feel as though her background as a middle school physical education, biology teacher and eventually school administrator in rural upstate New York gives her a unique perspective when it comes to training equine animals.

“Kelly’s a scientist. She’s looking for data. She’s looking for more information,” Caroline Bentley told “She never comes with a preconceived notion about anything. It’s always, ‘What can we find out?’”

Come See the (Disqualified) Champ
Long before he conditioned horses on the Monmouth Park backside, Jason Servis was a valet at the Oceanport oval, helping jockeys and trainers get ready for each race. As such, the lifetime racetracker and native of West Virginia never forgot his roots and announced plans to have a public meet and greet with his stable star Maximum Security Saturday.

Prior to Saturday’s 5th race, the horse will leave his spot on the backstretch and parade around the walking ring. Maximum Security’s next start remains uncertain, with Servis and owners Gary and Mary West still weighing their options.

“I don’t know what it is, if it’s the disqualification and people feel he was treated unfairly, but he seems to have touched a lot of people,” Servis told Monmouth Park publicity. “I don’t remember this ever happening with any of my other horses.”

Servis said the response to Maximum Security reminds him a little of what happened with Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner trained by his brother John. The Servis brothers have adjacent barns at Monmouth Park

Speed Races Highlight Undercard
A pair of rich six-furlong stakes will make for fast work on the Preakness Stakes undercard Three-year-olds will sprint for $200,000 in the grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes (race 11, 4:42 p.m. post) while six older runners will dash for $150,000 in the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3; race 6, 1:28 p.m. post).

Thoroughbred Champions Training Center’s Gladiator King has won a pair of one-turn stakes, including the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park after fading in the March 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). The son of Curlin, bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, popped a 101 Equibase Speed Figure in the six-furlong Hutcheson and later won the seven-furlong Roar Stakes there April 20. The Chick Lang will be the colt’s first 2019 start outside of South Florida.

Still Dreaming got back on track when cut back to one turn in a seven-furlong allowance optional claiming race April 13 at Laurel Park for trainer Graham Motion. The son of Flatter broke his maiden going a mile at Laurel Jan. 1.

The venerable 7-year-old Always Sunshine makes his seasonal debut in the Maryland Sprint. The Ned Allard-trained runner won the Maryland Sprint in 2016 and a pair of sprint stakes last year at Delaware Park and Saratoga Race Course. Three of his past four drills for his return have been bullet moves at Delaware.

Maryland-bred Lewisfield, trained by Jeff Runco for breeder Linda Zang, has run in a pair of stakes so far this year, winning the Not For Love Stakes March 16 for state-breds, getting six furlongs in a crisp 1:08.68. The 5-year-old by Great Notion figures to be a quick one out of the gate from post 4.