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Features - RACING

Illinois Derby winner Departing on Sunday at Churchill Downs put in his final workout before the Preakness Stakes. When Departing returned to the barn, trainer Al Stall talked with America's Best Racing about the breeze and the Preakness.

Illinois Derby winner Departing breezed over Churchill Down’s track on Sunday, going four furlongs in 50.40.

“I wanted him to go a little slower the first part than the second part and he hit right on what we were looking for,” trainer Al Stall said. “He did enough to get the day off tomorrow. He is a gelding and doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He had galloped two miles on Thursday and a spirited mile and half Friday.”

Departing will walk Monday and is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.

Departing and Orb have a bit of history between them as the racehorses were raised in the same paddock at Claiborne Farm. The connections of both horses are also names often said together in the sport as the Hancocks and the Phippses are close friends. The families have also raced against each other in big races in the past.

“Those families have been down the road before,” Stall said. “Seeking the Gold and Forty Niner ran against each other in big races like the Derby, Haskell and Travers [in 1988], and I am sure they are all going to try to run their ‘A’ race.”

In other Preakness news

Orb had a schooling session in the Belmont paddock Sunday morning before galloping an easy 1 ½ miles over a sloppy track. However, while Orb had an easy day, trainer Shug McGaughey continues to stay busy with media requests.

“I think it’s a big responsibility to accommodate what’s out there and try to portray what the win means to all of us – myself and my family, the Janneys and Phippses and their families and all the people at the barn,” McGaughey said. “I’d like to get it out there to people that racing can be a fun and rewarding sport.”

Orb will breeze on Monday morning before shipping to Pimlico later in the day.

Monmouth Park was closed this morning so Itsmyluckyday worked between races in the afternoon. The colt went four furlongs in 47 1/5 seconds.

“He went awesome, but that’s him,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “I couldn’t ask for a better work.”

Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Tuesday.

A planned work on Monday for Goldencents has been cancelled and the colt will gallop up to the Preakness. The plan is the same that trainer Doug O’Neill followed with last year’s Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another before the race. Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson has been overseeing the colt’s training.

“The one thing we’re starting to notice is he’s getting better each day,” Sisterson said. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong since we got here. He seems to be really getting over the track well and striding out. We’re very happy with him.”

Govenor Charlie galloped two miles on Sunday at Churchill Downs before schooling in the paddock during the first race. He is scheduled to work on Monday.

Recent Preakness addition Mylute galloped 1 ½ miles under the twin spires on Sunday. He is scheduled to work with jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard on Monday at 6 a.m.

Oxbow and Will Take Charge both jogged two miles on Sunday with fellow D. Wayne Lukas trainee Titletown Five galloped 1 ½ miles. Lukas will ship the colts to Pimlico on Tuesday after they work over Churchill’s surface on Monday.

“Oxbow and Will Take Charge will work in the morning and Titletown Five will breeze through the stretch,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

Vyjack is still under consideration for the Preakness Stakes while Normandy Invasion will skip the race.

“Mr. Porter and I decided to pass on the Preakness with Normandy Invasion and focus on the summer campaign with him,” said Chad Brown, Normandy Invasion’s trainer.

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