The general manager of a long-standing training facility for thoroughbred horses anticipates this weekend's Preakness to be a faster race than the Kentucky Derby. The Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington has been operating 44 years.
Center Manager Jim Pendergest says a relatively slow Derby time doesn't mean today's race horses are generally running slower than past champions. "No I don't think you can, and I don't even think you can compare this race. I think we might see something completely different in the Preakness. My impression was that California Chrome didn't win by any more than he had to and I think that was a tribute to his jockey because he even said he was saving the horse for the next race," said Pendergest.
California Chrome is the overwhelming favorite to take the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness. Other horses in recent years have won the first two races, only to fall short in the final race, the Belmont.
Pendergest has been involved in the horse business for three decades. He wonders if trainers sometimes play it too safe. "It seems like the horses that have won the Preakness and the Derby and then they're going to the Belmont, they don't get enough training. If you look back at what Secretariat did. Obviously, Secretariats don't come around very often, but they worked him three times between the Preakness and the Belmont, and worked him hard and had him fit. I mean he was supremely fit the day of the Belmont Stakes," added Pendergest.
As for this Saturday, Pendergest expects the speed horses in the Preakness to go out fast to see if California Chrome can keep up the pace.