Art Collector gets Preakness green light

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Churchill Downs
Sep 5, 2020; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; John Velazquez guides Authentic towards the finish line to win the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Preakness Stakes on October 3rd at Pimlico remains the target for Art Collector, according to trainer Tommy Drury.

The son of 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini is set to ship to Churchill Downs in the coming days having impressed his handler in a workout at the Skylight Training Center over the weekend under Brian Hernandez Jr.

“He seems good,” Drury said. “He breezed over the weekend, just kind of a maintenance half-mile.

“Brian felt he was as good as he’s ever been. As long as everything is going right, we’re going to shoot for Baltimore. But as always, we’re going to let him take us along.

“We’re going to get him settled in here (Churchill Downs) and make sure everything is OK, and at some point over the weekend I’d guess he’ll go five-eighths. I’d say if everything goes well there, we’re on target for the Preakness.”

Art Collector took a piece of flesh off his left front heel in some routine training work and lost his chance to tackle the Kentucky Derby earlier this month. It was a sore blow to absorb for connections but one from which they are eager to move along quickly.

“He just grabbed the back of his quarter,” Drury added. “The thing was sensitive and sore to the touch. There was a little flap there that needed to be trimmed away. We knew when we trimmed it away, it was going to be even more sensitive, and the right thing to do was sit that one out and put it behind us.”

Whilst conceding there is a tendency to ponder ‘what-if’ having seen Tiz The Law defeated by Authentic in the ‘Run for the Roses’, Drury insists his time is better spent looking to the future for Art Collector rather than wondering what might have been.

Idle speculation about what would have happened in The Derby doesn’t interest Drury now but he makes no secret of the fact he’s relishing the chance to take on Bob Baffert’s Authentic in the Preakness on October 3rd.

“I was very comfortable with the decision I made, and I’m very comfortable where the horse is. We want him to be good for the long haul and not just one race,” he said.

“I’m just looking forward to giving him the opportunity to run against those [good] horses. He may or may not have run well in the Derby had he been there.

“We’re certainly not going to take anything away from the winner. He ran a huge race. But we’re looking forward for our opportunity to go after him.”