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2009 Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico

2009 horse racing season,preakness,pimlico,triple crown,alibi breakfast

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The special Alibi Breakfast saddle cloths for each horse with favorite Rachel Alexandra in front.

The special Alibi Breakfast saddle cloths for each horse with favorite Rachel Alexandra in front.

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
Updated May 14, 2009

The Alibi Breakfast is a Pimlico tradition that dates back to the 1930's. On the porch of the historic Clubhouse, owners, trainers, and press would discuss the horses over coffee each morning during training hours. Some of the greatest tales of racing ever to reach print were told those mornings. The tradition of the Preakness Alibi Breakfast started in the 1940's, a chance for the connections of Preakness entrants to solicit interesting and often colorful race predictions. Hosted by Baltimore radio personalities Scott Garceau and Keith Mills, the event not only allows each trainer to be interviewed in a relaxed atmosphere, but also for the Maryland Jockey Club to present awards to members of the media and others who have made significant contributions to the local racing industry.

Trainer Bob Baffert, trainer of Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile and 5-1 second choice on the morning line said, "Pioneerof the Nile had 4 wins coming into the Derby. We felt he was the most accomplished horse in the race. It's supposed to be good luck if a bird craps on you. Well, two days before the Derby,(owner) Mr. Zayat, a bird crapped on his glasses, and he was so happy. Little did he know that two little birds were going to crap on him."

20-1 shot General Quarters was claimed as a maiden by 75-year-old owner-trainer Tom McCarthy. McCarthy said, "It's quite a thrill after training for over 50 years and you finally get your chance to go to the Derby, and I got my family all involved. How many times, I had to come up with excuses why we couldn't go somewhere on Saturday because I had a horse entered. And then I made up words to explain why the horse lost. I got outbid for him at auction, and then to my amazement, last spring I needed a horse since someone claimed my last horse, and I was looking at the Form and when I saw General Quarters as a first time starter the name didn't hit me but the breeding did. I went back to my catalog and my notes, and sure enough it was the horse I wanted. And I actually outshook 3 other people for him. So I had some good luck."

Musket Man, the 8-1 fifth choice, was represented by co-owner Vic Carlson. When it was mentioned that his horse has never been off the board, Carlson said, "We're probably betting him to show. I think (8-1 morning line) is a fair price." Asked why they will ship in from Monmouth the morning of the Preakness, he added, "He broke his maiden at Belmont using that schedule, and he won his second start at Philadelphia Park doing the same thing. I think we got a pretty good trip for the first half (of the Derby) so we're just hoping for another ground-saving trip and that Pioneerof the Nile will stay in his own lane when we go by him at the 1/16 pole."

12-1 shot Papa Clem was named after Clement L. Hirsch, father of owner Bo Hirsch and one of the founders of the non-profit Oak Tree Racing Association in California. Trainer Gary Stute is the son of another California legend, Mel Stute. Gary said, "It's a great feeling (to follow in his father's footsteps) and I hope to win one of these (classic races) while he's still alive, as I don't think I'll have many more chances. I think I have my best shot this year." Asked about the 1986 Preakness, won by Snow Chief trained by Mel Stute, Gary said, "I was standing right next to him, and about 4 jumps before the wire I congratulated him and that was the maddest I ever saw him. But Snow Chief won so all was forgiven."

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