Dallas Stewart is taking a pass on the Preakness with Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, but another local trainer may have an entry in the next week’s second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Ria Antonia, winner of last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, has been moved to the guidance of Tom Amoss after finishing sixth in the Kentucky Oaks under Bob Baffert. A decision whether Ria Antonia will enter the Preakness will be made by Tuesday.
“This is the first time I’ve had one moved into by barn that close to a Grade I race,” said Amoss, who is who is based at Churchill Downs this spring. “She’s a very impressive horse.”
Ria Antonia, owned by Ron Paolucci and Looch Racing Stables, was brought to the Fair Grounds earlier this year with the intention of qualifying her for the Kentucky Derby.
However, she never ran at the Fair Grounds, and her connections switched her from Jeremiah Englehart and transferred her to Santa Anita, where she finished second in the Santa Anita Oaks.
Meanwhile, Stewart had been ambivalent about going on to challenge California Chrome in the Preakness. He and Commanding Curve’s owners, West Point Thoroughbreds, made their final decision on Wednesday.
“We’re going to concentrate on the Belmont,” Stewart said. “We just think it’s the best step for our horse.
“We want to him to be ready for the Belmont, The distance (1½ miles) is right and there will be a lot of good races for him later on, so we want to keep him healthy.”
Stewart made a similar decision a year ago when Golden Soul finished second in the Derby but skipped the Preakness for the Belmont, where he finished ninth.
“If we had a chance for the Triple Crown, we’d be going to Pimlico,” Stewart said. “But unfortunately, we’re not faced with that decision.
“The horse is 100 percent right now, his attitude is 100 percent and his appetite is 110 percent. Everything is just the way you really, really want it.”
The decision on Commanding Curve leaves Ride on Curlin as the only other Derby horse which will be challenging California Chrome. Ride on Curlin was seventh in the Derby.
Four fillies have won the Preakness, most recently Fair Grounds Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
“I did not see her (Ria Antonia) last fall when she was in the Breeders Cup,” Amoss said. “But I got to watch her train for two weeks before the Oaks.
“What I saw then was what I want to see now.”
Another Amoss horse, Mylute, finished third in the Preakness last year.
Rosie Napravnik rode Mylute, but she is committed to Bayern, another Baffert entry, for the Preakness.