Blazing Sevens ‘Super’ In Final Preakness Breeze - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Blazing Sevens ‘Super’ In Final Preakness Breeze

Blazing Sevens, with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, breezes Saturday at Belmont with stakes-winning stablemate Artorius (Janet Garaguso/NYRA photo)

Rodeo Creek Racing's Grade 1 winner Blazing Sevens breezed five furlongs over the Belmont Park main track in his final serious move for the $1.5-million Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course.

Under mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70s, Blazing Sevens visited the track following the renovation break around 9:00 a.m. (ET) and worked in company to the outside of stakes-winning stablemate Artorius [1:00.18], completing the trip in 1:00.02 over the fast main track.

Blazing Sevens was piloted by Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode the Good Magic colt to a third-place finish in the Blue Grass (G1) on April 8 at Keeneland in his most recent start.

“It went perfect. He was within himself. He's fit and happy,” Ortiz said. “I've never worked him before, but he worked like a nice horse. Nice and easy. I don't move on him. The track is maybe a little fast, but he worked one minute nicely.”

Chad Brown, trainer of two previous Preakness winners, was also happy with the work.

“The horse did super. I was really pleased with the work,” Brown said.

Blazing Sevens made his first two starts at Saratoga Race Course, graduating on debut in July before a distant third-place finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful over a sloppy and sealed main track in September. He secured a Grade 1 win the following month with a 3 1/4-length score in the one-turn mile Champagne over sloppy and sealed going at Belmont at the Big A and completed his 2-year-old season with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

Blazing Sevens was a distant eighth in his seasonal debut in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in March at Gulfstream before Ortiz, Jr. stepped aboard for the first time in the Blue Grass.

Blazing Sevens had enough points to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) starting gate, but ultimately bypassed in favor of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. His road to Baltimore is one frequently travelled by Brown, who skipped the “Run for the Roses” with his two Preakness winners Cloud Computing [2017] and Early Voting [2022]. The last trainer to score two straight Preakness wins was Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who did so with Point Given [2001] and War Emblem [2002].

“It's always been decided on an individual horse basis. With those two horses it worked. This horse seemed to fit the category a bit,” Brown said. “This horse has raced a lot more at age two than those other two, so he's been battle tested. When he threw a big clunker in the Fountain of Youth and didn't do any running, it really set me back fitness wise and I was just trying to play catch up at that point getting into the Derby. I have no regrets sitting the Derby out the way it unfolded. I think this is the right decision for this particular horse at this point in time.”

Coincidentally, Brown's best Kentucky Derby result was with Blazing Sevens' sire Good Magic, who finished second in 2018 behind subsequent Triple Crown winner Justify. He also saddled Zandon to a third-place finish in last year's Derby.

“When getting to the Derby, everything has to go right and that was more evident this year with scratches and such,” Brown added. “You can have a perfect winter, but it just takes one or two days to really derail you. There's no room for error and you have one crack at it. If I go to the Derby, I just want to make sure I have a legitimate chance to win. The last couple times we participated, we had good finishes. This horse just wasn't quite there.”

In the Blue Grass, Blazing Sevens finished six lengths behind the victorious Tapit Trice [seventh in the Derby], who bested Verifying [16th] by a neck.

“He got beat by two nice horses that day,” Ortiz said. “It was the first time I rode him and the only thing I can say is he went a little too wide on both turns. It might have cost me a better position and maybe I would have finished a little closer. I'm not saying we would have beat those horses that day, but the way Chad looks at him – he looks stronger and better going into this race. He told me after the Blue Grass he looks stronger.”

Brown concurred.

“He got a bit of a wide trip. I just wanted him to stay out of trouble. He had to circle horses and he really got tired coming around those horses on the turn,” Brown said. “For all practical purposes, it was his first start of the year. He did no running at Gulfstream, so he had a right to get a bit tired. That's another reason I didn't want to go back in four weeks to the Derby. As you can see today, he's a horse with a full tank of gas and he's doing as well as he's ever done. I'm just trying to put the horse in the best position to be successful.”

Blazing Sevens is expected to be part of a nine-horse Preakness field that will include the Derby-winner Mage, fourth-place finisher Disarm, and 10th-place finisher Confidence Game. Brown said he would most likely ship Blazing Sevens to Pimlico on Sunday morning.

Ortiz as slated to ride Forte in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday, but the morning-line favorite was scratched on the morning of the race and will not contest next Saturday's Preakness. The four-time Eclipse Award-winning rider picked up the mount on 29-1 Derby longshot Cyclone Mischief, who never factored when last of 18 runners.

A 30-year-old native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico who guided Midnight Bourbon to a runner-up effort in the 2021 Preakness, Ortiz said he is hopeful that Blazing Sevens is peaking at the right time.

“I'm confident with my horse,” Ortiz said. “He's pointing to get ready for that race and I think I have a little advantage. He's fresh and pointing straight to that race and can give me 100 percent. The other horses have had to recover. Hopefully, he can get the job done Saturday.”

Ortiz  is a two-time Belmont Stakes (G1) winner, taking the “Test of the Champion” with Creator [2016] and last year with Mo Donegal. And although he missed out on a potential first Derby score, Ortiz is hopeful he can add a Preakness victory to a glowing resume that includes 17 Breeders' Cup wins in addition to leading the nation in purse earnings in 10 of the last 12 seasons.

“It would mean a lot because it's one leg of the Triple Crown,” Ortiz said. “I was able to win the Belmont which was huge for me and I would love to win the Preakness.”

Brown added that he will likely have more than one entry for both the $100,000 Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares on turf on the Preakness undercard and Preakness eve's $100,000 Hilltop for sophomore fillies on the turf.

Blazing Sevens' workmate Artorius, a Juddmonte homebred son of Arrogate, will likely be “allowance bound to get him ready for Saratoga”, according to Brown. Artorius has not raced since finishing fourth in the October 22 Perryville at Keeneland. He captured last year's Curlin at the Spa en route to a sixth-place finish in the Travers (G1).

Brown also said Head of Plains Partners' homebred mare Fluffy Socks, who captured the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on May 6 at Churchill Downs, is possible for the $500,000 Just a Game (G1) on June 9 as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

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