Coady Photography/Keeneland Photo
Laoban might be among the most accomplished maidens in recent memory. Although he has yet to win a race from five starts, he has finished in the top four in three straight graded stakes races, including a runner-up effort in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and a fourth-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The son of Uncle Mo set the pace in both of those races and has a lot of early speed, but according to trainer Eric Guillot, a change in strategy could be in order for the May 21st Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico.
On May 14th, Laoban breezed six furlongs in 1:14.40 at Keeneland, an exercise that was noteworthy because Laoban did not wear blinkers, which he has worn in his last four races.
“The trick is to take the blinkers off and try to get him to relax instead of pulling the jock around there,” Guillot was quoted as saying in a Pimlico press release. Regarding the details of the workout, Guillot said “I put him three jumps behind the horse I’m bringing in for the Sir Barton [Stakes], Fearless Dragon. They went off in 26-and-1 (seconds) and finished in 24 flat. It was an easy maintenance work, just trying to get him to relax.”
“He’s a solid horse. He’s getting better,” Guillot added. “If you look at the Blue Grass he ran a lot better visually than he did on paper. Everything was coming from the clouds that day. The horses came from 14th, 13th, and 11th to beat me.”
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