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2007 Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico

By

Dr. Dean Richardson with the check from Breyer for the Barbaro Fund.

Dr. Dean Richardson with the check from Breyer for the Laminitis Fund.

© Terence Dulay
Updated May 17, 2007

The Alibi Breakfast is a Pimlico tradition dating back to the 1930's, when trainers and owners would gather at the old Clubhouse and swap stories over coffee with each other and the press. Some of the best racing stories ever to be printed came from these breakfasts. Nowadays the Breakfast gives the connections and media a chance to celebrate the Preakness and give their race predictions and comments.

Before the trainers were interviewed, the Maryland Jockey Club hands out a number of annual awards. This year, Edgar Prado (who was unable to attend) and Dean Richardson were given the Award of Merit for their handling of Derby winner Barbaro last year. Richardson said, "I'm a big fan of Mid-Atlantic racing, I want Maryland racing to keep getting stronger, particularly because I know so many of the owners and trainers that race here. Although it was sad what happened last year at the Preakness, I still think a lot of good came out of it, and I hope everybody appreciates the effort. I wouldn't be here if Edgar Prado or someone of similar skill weren't riding the horse. He did a remarkable job." In addition, the manufacturers of Breyer model horses presented Richardson a check for $126,500 for the newly formed Laminitis Fund, along with one of the Barbaro models.

Preakness favorite and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense was represented by owner Jim Tafel and trainer Carl Nafzger. Tafel said when asked about the mating that produced Street Sense, "As far as his bloodlines are concerned, his dam is by Dixieland Band, and of course (sire) Street Cry is Mr. Prospector line. Street Cry dusted us pretty good in the Stephen Foster at Churchill where Unshaded ran fifth. But it's not how you start them, it's how you finish, and that's very fitting for Street Sense. He ran well in both the Derby and the Breeders' Cup." Nafzger added, "He's done a great job taking us here. I guess if the rail opens up again we'll be OK. Hard Spun is going to be tough, Curlin is going to step up big time, It's going to be a beautiful race."

Larry Jones, trainer of second choice and Derby runner-up Hard Spun was asked if having Mario Pino aboard is an edge, he said, "I'm glad for Calvin (Borel) and Carl (Nafzger), that's their track, but this is Pino country. He's won more races in Maryland than anybody." Jones also talked about his training methods: "The only thing I'm real concerned about is, before the Derby I took all kinds of bashing from the media. We took 6 weeks before the Derby, they said that couldn't be done; we worked him too slow on Polytrack and then way too fast at Churchill Downs. But since the Derby I haven't heard any criticisms from anybody! Now I think I'm training the horse the way the media would do it, so now I'm second-guessing my opinions here!"

Steve Asmussen, trainer of third choice Curlin, has not been at Pimlico as he is attending his grandfather's funeral. Assistant Scott Blasi said of Curlin's third place finish in Louisville, "He got shuffled back in the Derby going into the first turn, but started to figure it out at the 1/2 mile pole and leveled out nicely. I thought he ran a great race and he'll run another one this weekend. I think he'll like this racetrack, he's a great horse."

C P West was represented by Jeff Siegel, vice president of Team Valor. He said, "After the Santa Anita Derby we felt the Kentucky Derby wasn't in the cards so Gary and I thought about the Preakness. We've been waiting for this race ever since then and the horse is doing great. He worked well the other day with Garrett (Gomez) in the saddle. We're taking a shot and we'll see how good he really is. 12-1 is a fair price. Hopefully he'll outrun his odds."

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