By Ed McNamara
A minor foot issue kept him out of the Kentucky Derby, in which he probably would have been the second choice behind odds-on Tiz the Law. There was far more confidence about Art Collector’s chances than in eventual winner Authentic’s.
Trainer Tommy Drury Jr. was disappointed in being denied his first Derby start, but he did what was right for the horse.
“We’d have loved to have been in the Derby because Kentucky is home for us, but gosh, to be able to run in the Preakness four weeks later,” Drury said. “That’s the one thing that gave me comfort, knowing we’ve got a huge race coming up right around the corner.”
This late bloomer emerged as a Derby contender with five straight wins, including romps in the Blue Grass and Ellis Park Derby. He’s 4-for-4 this year, has tactical speed and a nice turn of foot. Best performance: Crushing superstar filly Swiss Skydiver by 3 1/2 lengths in the Blue Grass.
Post position: No. 3
Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Trainer: Tommy Drury Jr.
Owner: Bruce Lunsford
Career record: 9-5-1-0
Career earnings: $664,380
Top Equibase speed figure: 106
Pedigree: Bernardini-Distorted Legacy, by Distorted Humor
Running style: Front-runner, stalker
Notes: Art Collector’s sire, Bernardini, won the 2006 Preakness, which is remembered far more for the breakdown of undefeated Derby hero Barbaro … Drury was encouraged by Art Collector’s 5-furlong move in 59.40 seconds Sept. 19 at Churchill Downs. “We knew going into the work that it needed to be a pretty stiff one because we’re going into the Preakness,” he said. “And the gallop-out was huge.”