Conquest Mo Money looks to cash in at Preakness

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BALTIMORE — Conquest Mo Money could be in line for a big payday Saturday in the $1.5 million Preakness.

He drew the outside post in a field of 10 as a 15-1 shot in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

Regardless of the Preakness outcome, Conquest Mo Money is already a winner for New Mexico-based owner Tom McKenna, 81, who paid only $8,500 for the colt last November at the dispersal sale of Conquest Stable horses.

Watch the Preakness on NBC

It was a bargain-basement price for a New York-bred colt that Conquest acquired for $180,000 one year earlier.

Unraced before this season, Conquest Mo Money already has earned $508,900. He won his first three races at Sunland Park and finished second in his last two, the Sunland Derby and the Arkansas Derby.

He had enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but McKenna decided to wait for the Preakness. And he was willing to reinvest a chunk of the horse’s earnings to get here.

Conquest Mo Money was not nominated to the Triple Crown. The supplemental penalty was a hefty $150,000.

Early speed is Conquest Mo Money’s strong suit. He set a pressured pace in the Arkansas Derby, beaten only a half-length by Classic Empire, last season’s juvenile champion.

Classic Empire went on to the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth in the slop following a rough trip.

Classic Empire and Conquest Mo Money meet again in the Preakness, with both aiming to knock off Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.

While the Derby action unfolded at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, Conquest Mo Money was quietly prepping for the Preakness at Prairie Meadows. He arrived in Baltimore on Sunday following a two-day van ride from Iowa and seems to be thriving at Pimlico.

“He’s the first horse like this that I’ve had in my career,” said Jorge Carreno, the regular rider who has exercised the colt each morning this week. “We get along so well that it’s like we’re just one. It’s amazing. He just gets better and better.”

This will be the first appearance in a Triple Crown race for the owner, the jockey and trainer Miguel Hernandez.

Conquest Mo Money would not be the first horse from New Mexico to pull a Triple Crown stunner. Mine That Bird was the 50-1 upset winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby. He went on to finish second in the Preakness and third in the Belmont.

Tiger Roll wins Grand National in photo finish

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AINTREE, England — Tiger Roll won the Grand National Steeplechase in a photo finish over Pleasant Company as Irish horses dominated the world’s most famous steeplechase at Aintree on Saturday.

A 4 1/2-mile (6,400-meter) race was won by a matter of inches in the closest finish to the Grand National since 2012, when Neptune Collonges won by a nose.

Tiger Roll, a 10-1 shot, was leading by as much as 10 lengths in the long run to the line, but only just held off the fast-finishing Pleasant Company (25-1) to win a first prize of 500,000 pounds ($710,000).

“I did have a big fear,” said jockey Davy Russell, who won the race for the first time at his 14th attempt. “It would have been heartbreaking.”

The first four horses home in the National were from Ireland, including Bless The Wings (40-1) and Anibale Fly (10-1).

It was the second National victory for both trainer Gordon Elliott, who also won with Silver Birch in 2007, and owner Michael O’Leary, who had 2016 winner Rule The World. O’Leary is chief executive of budget airline Ryanair.

“We bought the horse as a pint-sized hurdler,” O’Leary said, “but he’s got a heart of a lion.”

Russell grew up dreaming of winning the National. As a child, he erected Aintree-style fences in his garden and pretended to ride a horse over them.

“I’ve won this race thousands of times (in my head),” Russell said. “But not like this.”

David Mullins, the jockey of Pleasant Company, said he thought he was well-beaten after jumping the next-to-last fence.

“Davy was going so much better than me,” Mullins said.

That seemed to be the case as the horses made it past the elbow in the run to the line, but Pleasant Company closed in as Tiger Roll faded. It was too close to call as they crossed the line and the 171st edition of the race required a photo finish to separate them.

Total Recall went off as the 7-1 favorite but fell.

 

Baffert: McKinzie won’t run in Santa Anita Derby

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) McKinzie will miss the Santa Anita Derby on April 7 because of an unspecified problem.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert confirmed the colt won’t run in the West Coast’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby due to an issue in one of his hind legs. X-rays and scans haven’t confirmed what it is.

Baffert said Saturday in Dubai that McKinzie is “definitely out,” according to multiple media reports. He says he’s being “very cautious.”

The colt edged Bolt d’Oro in the San Felipe Stakes on March 10, but was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch.

McKinzie was 10th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 40 points for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman. The colt won the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity on Dec. 9 and the Sham Stakes on Jan. 6.

Baffert was in the Middle East to saddle West Coast and Mubtaahij to second- and third-place finishes in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.